Management at Newcastle Waters, the historic property on the western Barkly Tablelands owned by Consolidated Pastoral Co, is breathing a sigh of relief this week after experiencing a flood that came within two to three centimetres of the modern record on the property.
Water entered the bottom story of the guest house on the property, but remained five metres from the main homestead, giving occupants prime water views when it peaked on Friday, January 8.
According to Jade Andrews, while the homestead had been purposely built above the record 1974 flood level, she and husband Jak were still very happy when the flood began to recede.
She said much of the flooding was due to the heavy rain experienced in the catchment at Beetaloo and Amundji Mundji.
“We had 525mm here. That’s not a record but it fell in a very short space of time,” she said.
When it flooded this much in 2013, no-one was able to drive out until the first week in April.
“When it rained that much, Jak flew home from Longreach on New Year’s Eve to oversee the movement of cattle and to make sure everything was safe.”
The staff are well used to wet season conditions and have contingency plans in place to manage it should the big wet continue.
Jade said they were boating things in for the skeleton staff currently in place, and were utilising both plane and chopper to get around.
“Our grader driver tells us that when it flooded this much in 2013, no-one was able to drive out until the first week in April.”
After a drier than usual 2015, everyone is welcoming a wetter start and the promise of a decent wet at last.
“I don’t mind if it stops for a while now,” Jade said.
Newcastle Waters was named in 1861 by explorer John Stuart while attempting to cross the continent from Adelaide to the northern coastline.
Records show he "came across a splendid reach of water… This I have named Newcastle Waters after his Grace, the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary for the Colonies."
The water he referred to is known as Longreach Hole which overflows into Lake Woods, and its surrounds provide some of the best grazing on the property.
Jade said Lake Woods was slowly filling again at present.