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Tasmanian floods: Ouse community fighting to stay afloat a year on from disaster

Laura Beavis, Wednesday June 7, 2017 - 06:58 EST
ABC licensed image
The swollen Ouse River, one of many Tasmanian waterways affected by the 2016 disaster. - ABC licensed

A year after floodwaters swept through the Ouse Valley, Tasmanian farmer Joshua Sproule has rebuilt his flock.



But he still remembers watching helplessly as hundreds of his livestock were swept away during the .

"Oh, mate, it was probably one of the most heartbreaking things I've seen in my life, to tell you the truth," he said.

"My wife, she cried for three days I reckon."



His neighbour, Bernard Brain has spent the past 12 months and nearly $400,000 rebuilding his irrigation system that was destroyed.

After a fight with his insurer, his payout has just arrived.



"There's been accounts sitting there for months waiting to be paid, because I don't have that sort of cash in my bank account to be able to pay the large sums involved," he said.

Mr Brain said he still had a lot of work to do.

"There's river flat repairs, the ruts and things that were formed by trees charging across the river flat, and silt that was moved."

"None of that's been fixed because we haven't had the time."



Floodwaters swept away the golf greens at the Ouse Country Club. After months of work by volunteers, the golf course reopened in April.



Club president Stuart Davies said the club was now trying to lure back former members.

"We're on a slow rebuilding process of letting people know, and getting them to come back to the club, use the facilities," he said.



Mr Davies said the club was trying to be "more of a social club, attract membership whether you play golf or bowls or not".

Loss of 81yo still felt by community

The unprecedented flooding claimed the life of Ouse resident Trevor Foster, who was swept away as he tried to rescue a flock of sheep.

The 81-year-old is still listed as missing.

Central Highlands Mayor Loueen Triffit said the emotional blow was still being felt in the community.

"We lost a well-known, well-respected, loved, elderly member of our community," she said.

"The emotional impact is massive, still."

She said since the flood, community members had found ways to help each other.

"I don't think it's fully recovered, I don't think it ever will," she said.

"But saying that, the community are very strong and a positive thing out of all of this is that the community have united together."


- ABC

© ABC 2017

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