Too much water for Australian rowing clubs
It was only two years ago that many rowing clubs in Brisbane, Australia were devastated by flooding. Similar flooding has happened again along the Brisbane River and Brisbane’s newest rowing club, the Centenary Rowing Club has been devastated.
In 2011 the Centenary Rowing Club ended up under water, but luckily the majority of equipment was saved and the club rebuilt itself in a new location. Now flooding has struck again.
“When the tide went down in 2011 we had volunteers turn up to help move half a metre of mud off the top of the shed while inside we were faced with three metres of mud,” says club president Simon Newcomb who says the damage this time will be less. “This time unfortunately we have lost the walkway out to our pontoon but we really will not know the full damage until the river has gone right down. The water is very muddy with lots of logs and other debris floating down the river which, during the floods, was travelling at around 40km to 50km in speed.”
Peter Wadsworth, who coordinated the evacuation of boats and equipment, said the big problem was that no one really knew how high the level of the river would come.
“It was very hard to know whether we should just evacuate the boats from lower racks with an expectation that we would only have 30cm of water through the shed or remove the lot of our equipment to higher ground.”
“We put out a plea for help and luckily for us the phone just did not stop ringing,” says Wadsworth.
Newcomb is hoping that the club will be operating again in about four weeks. “But it may be longer,” he says. “In 2011 because the damage was so severe it took us three school terms to get back rowing again.”
In the meantime Newcomb has a contingency plan. “With our national squad they will probably train on a lake down on the Gold Coast for a short time. I will be importing some trucks of river sand and we will (use this) while the pontoon is being fixed to get crews onto the river off a man made beach.”
Newcomb believes that most rowing clubs around Brisbane and in other regions of Australia’s state of Queensland have been affected by the floods with Centenary Rowing Club one of the hardest hit.
Centenary Rowing Club is based around youth rowing and has about 200 young rowers from 20 schools. With the club’s focus on youth and inclusiveness it makes it the only club of its kind in Australia.