Saturday, March 24, 2012


In my town of Rockhampton there is a suburb rather ironically named Depot Hill. Ironic, because it is the first place to go under when the Fitzroy river bursts its banks. Actually there is a small rise in the centre of the area that becomes an island during major flood events. One place that does tend to get damp floor boards is the slightly less ironically named Swamp Store. I went there today to sketch it for Illo Friday’s current challenge ‘swamp’, I thought it would fit the bill nicely.

Today is a beautiful, warm clear summery day, but by this time next week, I might have a more swampy version of this drawing. You see, there has been a heap of rain in the last week or so in the Fitzroy River catchment area (second biggest river catchment in Australia), and in about four days time, they predict that the river will reach flood levels of around 8 metres. That’s not enough to cut off the town and flood the airport like last year’s 9.2m but it will turn Depot Hill into an island, and the swamp store will again get its floor boards wet. Most houses in that part of town are on stilts, as they are through most of Rocky, but the store isn’t… if you look carefully you will see the tide marks on the power pole from last year.

To put last year’s flood into context, it was the fourth worst since they started keeping records and isolated the town for two or three weeks. That won’t happen next week, but again the Swamp Store and the surrounding houses will be swamped!


Samantha said...

Love your sketch--it looked like home (Australia) immediately. Poor old Swamp Store--we were just talking about how people can put things like floods behind them so quickly, and move right back into their houses along the Brisbane / Fitzroy / (insert name) River as soon as they can. Do you think we'll ever learn?


Cindy D. said...

Yikes, I hope you don't get swamped!

This is a great little building with nice architectural details.

Honza said...

Do we ever learn? There is a For Sale sign on the fence, maybe Mr Swamp Store is learning! But the social issue is that people live in Depot Hill because the housing and rent is cheaper there, and they are willing to put up with the occasional inconvenience of a flood to live in a place that they can afford. Usually there is plenty of warning for flood events and people can move their stuff upstairs in time. Last year, however, the water covered floorboards, even in stilted houses.