Coles and other stores in the Ipswich CBD were flooded yesterday.
Coles and other stores in the Ipswich CBD were flooded yesterday. David Nielsen

All eyes on Bremer River

THE Bremer River was a sight to behold yesterday as it swelled its way to a peak of 19.4 metres.

Thousands of people gave traffic police plenty to worry about as they raced to the best vantage point in town – the David Trumpy Bridge.

Through most of the day, the main link between the CBD and North Ipswich was less than five metres clear of the level of the raging Bremer.

At its peak – about 3pm – the river came desperately close to swamping both the Bradfield and the David Trumpy bridges.

Among those watching – and reminiscing – on the bridge yesterday was Raceview man Graham Hawkins, 62, who said he'd seen it all before in 1974.

“It looks pretty close to the level of 1974 to me – but it is a bit hard to tell where it would have reached then,” Mr Hawkins said.

After breaking its banks on the CBD side, the river infiltrated King Edward Parade, Olga Street, Bremer Street, Elizabeth Street, Mary Street, Brisbane Street, East Street and Gordon Street, covering the rail line on the approach to the transit centre.

Only opened for three years, the Riverlink shopping centre faced a catastrophe.

After completely swallowing the carpark, the Bremer River threatened to enter the main shopping area – coming to within about 1.5 metres of the floor level.

To those whose houses were on high ground and who were not part of the relief effort, the flooding was a bit of a light-hearted spectacle – a chance to take some pictures of what could be a once in a lifetime event.

Mr Hawkins said he couldn't blame people for wanting to see the flooding with their own eyes.

“There's not much to do at home,” he said.

“The television stations haven't been showing enough of what has been going on in Ipswich so it's better to come and see it in person.”

For some, monitoring the river height throughout the day was done more out of anxiety than curiosity.

Two residents of Beatty Street, Brassall, perched themselves at the edge of the water near Hancock Bridge, waiting nervously as the Bremer River crept its way further up Kingsmill Road.

North Booval woman Lisa Sherlock had water lapping her back doorstep early yesterday morning.

“It just shot up from about 7am and in half an hour it moved another half-metre to the bottom of the house,” she said.

“I just want to know if we're going to go under or not – it's making me anxious.”

Ms Sherlock's lower storey of her home was also damaged by a flash flood just over two years ago.


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