Friday March 31, 2017
We had not planned on being in Rockhampton in March and for the first 4 days that we were here, we were neither in the holiday mindset. Nor did we wish to venture out of our hotel and get wet. It would have been a shame to waste the visit and not see anything of Rockhampton.
The reason we came to Rockhampton was because we had been evacuated from Airlie Beach, our home and community with the devastation of Cyclone Debbie fast approaching.
We have not been able to return to our home at Cannonvale as the Bruce Highway is cut in three places so for the present we are staying put in Rockhampton.
My trip to Ireland is fast approaching so I must stay focused, even with the devastating news about our home and Community in Cannonvale. I must continue my research in readiness for my visit to Ireland.
I spent a couple of hours at the Rockhampton Library where I met a very enthusiastic local and family history officer, Cheryl Rickard who was only too happy to chat with me about her family history research and pass on some very helpful tips as well.
Rockhampton bore the brunt of the tail end of the Cyclone with pounding rains and rising river levels. No strong winds, luckily but constant rain, humidity and low, grey, rumbling skies. We woke one morning with the creek water rising so high that it was lapping our balcony. Quite scary.
Today however it has been a different story. The sun has come out and dried up all the rain – just like in the ” Itsy Bitsy Spider” Children’s Rhyme. The city is a different place. All bright blue sky, deep green grass and interesting architecture. Just lovely.
The local people are lovely and took the time to chat with us. Sasha was made feel very welcome wherever we went and everyone wished us well when we returned to Airlie Beach.
We were amazed at how many historical buildings exist in Rockhampton, a great deal of Art Deco style. We loved shopping at Stewart’s Emporium. It was built in 1862 and would have to have the most beautiful window displays that I have seen in a long time. The hat and umbrella collection are truly lovely. The staff are all very helpful and I especially enjoyed talking with Denise Woods, owner for the last 28 years.
Barry bought me a beautiful pair of red leather gloves for my trip to Ireland later this year. I will treasure them with fond memories of our surprise visit to Rockhampton.
Sunday April 2nd, 2017.
And now, we have been evacuated again! The Fitzroy river is swelling and expected to rise 9 Metres higher than usual. Our lovely retreat, the True Blue Motor-Inn that has been our safe-haven for the last 7 nights may well be flooded as the river rises. It is no longer safe for us here.