Floodwater surrounds the Chinchilla Post Office.
Floodwater surrounds the Chinchilla Post Office. Terri Hendriksen Chinchilla News

Summer disasters began in Chinchilla

QUEENSLAND'S summer of disaster started in somewhat modest settings in the country town of Chinchilla, 12 months ago yesterday.

Authorities issued major flood warnings on December 19, 2010, specific to the Western Downs town and its 3500 residents.

A week of minor to moderate flooding culminated on December 28 with the town's Charleys Creek peaking at a record levels of more than 7.2 metres. During the next four weeks, Chinchilla and most parts of Queensland would be affected by floodwaters.

Western Downs councillor and Chinchilla resident Bill McCutcheon said no one in the town knew the significance of the December 19 warnings at the time.

"At first we knew we were going to be in for at least moderate floods, but no one knew it was going to be quite as big as it was," he said.

Cr McCutcheon said Western Downs residents could be excused this year for hoping for a dry Christmas period.

"We're certainly not hoping for another flood," he said.

"After years of drought and wishing for rain, the region is now in good shape and a bit of dry weather over Christmas would come as a relief to a lot of people."

Like the rest of Queensland, Chinchilla's long and expensive recovery continues to unfold.

Paul Sheehan, owner of the law firm Sheehan and Co Solicitors, said it took six months for his business's premises to be rebuilt and reopened.

Mr Sheehan said after the devastation of last summer, it had taken a lot of resolve to press forward.

"It was frustrating to say the least, but it was just a matter of getting on with it," he said.

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