Midge Point Beach with fishing boat
North Queensland has seen one of the wettest January's for many a year and the Mackay Mercury reports it as one of the wettest.
The Whitsundays resorts refer to the wet season as the 'Green Season' as a marketing strategy and this January past was indeed a very green season with the lawn mowing teams across the region very busily engaged.
The Whitsundays Laguna Quays Respite missionary cottage is often booked out in January and February and one year, way back in 2012 it rained heavily for the full two weeks of the visit of the missionaries.
This past January and February the missionary groups who visited said there were enough good days without heavy rain to have made the respite visit every bit a welcome retreat from the activities of mission-passion.
Once the respite cottage was purchased and on our maintenance visits to set it up, we too experienced many wet days and one thing was clear, the grassed area beside the cottage became muddy and un-walk-able once even the smell of rain was in the air.
To fix this problem, an appeal was made to our supporter faith finance network to have that whole section concreted. The monies came in and the entire area was concreted into a beautifully positioned pad which solved many of our issues when the rains came.
Car port entertainment area at the Basil Sellers Respite cottage, Whitsundays
Heavy rains are part and parcel of North Queensland. When the cyclonic weather arrives, the rains are accompanied by enormous winds and heavy seas.
The newscasts show the damage to the various communities on the north Queensland coast and the accompanying insurance demands. This has raised the eyebrows of the local politicians who are inundated with complaints over the increased insurance rates year in and year out.
In one case the insurance quotes fro one place was as far as from the east from the west with thousands of dollars difference.
But when the very nasty cyclones hit, they do enormous damage. Even heavy duty large airport hangers get damaged along with all the usual culprits such as shed, trees falling on houses and cars, shop front windows destroyed and the like.
Concrete pad which solved the wet weather issue at the respite cottage
Everyone raised in North Queensland has stories to tell, and they are legion and rarely enhanced.
Recently the Whitsundays airport was closed, not because the aircraft could not get in or out, rather the roads to the airport were flooded and the huge tourist Whitsunday patrons could not even get to the airport, or even if a flight came in, travel out.
As a child our family initially lived on my father's dairy on Crediton (Eungella) sixty miles west of Mackay on the great dividing range. The area of opened in the 1930's and my late father was one of the pioneers. In 1952 in such cyclonic weather, getting in the cows for milking, the horse slipped and fell.
My father Seymour was pinned under the horse which saw his right leg broken in three places. When the horse got up, he called it over, and pulled himself up onto the stirrup with his good leg, and with a massive effort somehow got his broken leg over the horse and rode to the home stead.
The Mackay doctor fixed up his leg, and told him he would never walk again if something similar happened. The family eventually moved into Mackay, Andergrove then North Mackay.
In 1957 the great cyclone came upon Mackay and once again the Gooseponds flooded, the bridges were covered with flood waters and the great Forgen Bridge over the Pioneer River saw one of its spans drop at an angle. This I can even recall.
One of the serious-humorous stories I tell in my testimony is that my mother would get us kids dressed in our rain coats into bed in case the roof came off.
Churches and Missions throughout North Queensland likewise have engaged in special protection and building constructions that meet the heaviest cyclone and rain pours. One time, they might end up being the very place people comes for refuge.
Midge Point Beach through the greenery
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html