I woke up this morning to the sound of a rooster crowing. I could also hear cattle and birds. So peaceful. And then I heard the sound of milking machines. Less peaceful. But hey, I was on a friend’s dairy and goat farm outside Nimbin. They produce milk and cheese from both animals, and the sound of milking machines is, I guess the price you pay.

Two other friends and I stayed overnight, having attended a party on the farm. Conditions were pretty wet, though it was more constant drizzle than the heavy rain people here on the North Coast have been accustomed to this year.

On a farm outside Nimbin, earlier today.
Part of the road just outside Nimbin, still recovering from the heavy rainfall this year.

Six months after the big floods of February/March, people here are still on edge.

One family member called me earlier this week in a panic, after seeing a Facebook post predicting further massive floods over the next few months. “You’re better off listening to climate scientists and meteorologists than someone you’ve never heard of reposting conspiracy theories about cloud seeding”, I told her.

As the radio played softly in the background, as I sat with an older family member who had only just survived the floods, her ears pricked up, as the news bulletin contained a report about possible flooding. “Don’t worry, it’s further down the coast”, I reassured her.

The floods and whatever happens next have been a constant conversation source in the last twenty-four hours.

As we headed out to Nimbin, I gave my friends what I called the “ten-minute” flood tour. Both live away from Lismore now, and for one this was his first visit since the floods. They couldn’t believe the scenes around our family home where buildings had been knocked off their foundations. They were both upset as we drove past our old high school which will likely be rebuilt on another site, due to the level of structural damage.

As I went for a walk around the block this morning, the sounds of construction were evident. It would normally be pretty odd to see tradies working on a Sunday, but today there were a lot of them around the Lismore CBD.
A photograph taken earlier today at the AZA Motel has sparked a lot of interest on Twitter. The motel is located in the main part of Lismore’s CBD, and now features “flood signs” for previous record floods in 1974 and 2017, as well as this year’s catastrophic flood. Seven hours after posting, it’s had 145,000 page impressions and hundreds of “likes” and re-tweets. Many have commented it’s the first time they’ve really understood the enormity of the disaster.

The photograph was taken by a woman visiting from Sydney. Her son and his family live in Bridge Street, North Lismore.

“Maybe I go on about it too much? People in Sydney ask me how it’s going, expecting I’ll say all is okay, and we’re getting on with things, and when I don’t, their eyes glaze over”, I told her.

Despite the negative situation here, there’s room for some optimism as reconstruction work happens.

Most of all, though, it’s lovely to be home with my family, to hang out with them, and to help with a few repairs over the next couple of weeks.

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