NSW floods: Life in isolation near Gunnedah

Once, the inappropriate car driven by my husband and myself became lodged in the mire of a blacksoil road between Charters Towers and Aramac. It could not be dislodged.

People smarter than us did not use the unreliable road. We watched, from memory, two sunsets from the front seat of our car, surrounded by mud and nothing else.

When a man in a ute finally slid towards us, eyeing with some amusement the evidence of nuts, cherry brandy and empty water containers, we greeted him like God.

We are not people who are prepared for things. My husband is a she'll-be-rigjht bushie. I grew up in Brisbane.

So, when my daughter woke up sick a week-and-a-half ago, I did not make the trip into town to stock up on food and other supplies in case we got a flood. Then we got a flood. Today, I am waking up in our home, about eight kilometres from Gunnedah, to another day of isolation.

We are the lucky ones. We received a helicopter drop of food kindly organised for people such as ourselves who never envisaged having to live off what you thought was a well-stocked pantry. Our cold room, our pantry, our fridge - I always thought they were groaning with food but somehow this sojourn has come to us right at the end of a big shopping cycle. The beer has run out. The milk and bread had disappeared before the food drop - and I had even tried my hand at baking. Yes, people do live many months in the outback in isolation without trouble. We are not those people.

All the while we have been seeing the amazing images of millions and millions of litres of water continually pouring down the Namoi River and rising into friends' homes and businesses, then dispersing, then coming up again, even worse than before. The water lapped at the foot of our house pad, turning the large back paddock into a torrent of water.

While we have been isolated, we saw a documentary about the Fyre Festival debacle, watching entitled young people go native after only a day without charged iPhones, ensuites and hairdryer diffuser attachments.

What you think will be Love Island, is actually more like Lord of the Flies. The cats position themselves at threatening angles to anyone eating meat. There was a nasty altercation over a cinnamon scroll. It's not pretty.

In the past two years, we have seen drought, mouse plague, pandemic and now flood on our patch of paradise. Somehow, our biggest learnings have been about ourselves.

  • Marie Low is a freelance journalist located in an ark in Gunnedah, NSW.
This story When Love Island is really Lord of the Flies first appeared on The Canberra Times.