Tumbarumba community unites after flash flooding

Drone footage shows the Tumbarumba football grounds and caravan park totally submerged in water. Picture: NSW SES
Drone footage shows the Tumbarumba football grounds and caravan park totally submerged in water. Picture: NSW SES

Tumbarumba copped a flash flood over the weekend that left trout on the flooded footy field and damaged community facilities across the NSW town.

The community on the edge of the Riverina residents is reeling from Saturday's downpour, which caused flash flooding across the bushfire-ravaged region. Houses were submerged, water pipes burst, and visitors evacuated from the caravan park.

Zack Morris, 13, spent Saturday rescuing trout that had found themselves stranded in puddles along the football grounds, scooping them up in a net and releasing them back into the creek.

The next day he came back with a bucket and rake to help remove the debris washed up on the streets, saying it was his small way of helping the community in its time of need.

"I don't like seeing rubbish laying everywhere around the town," Zack said. "There's usually not much lying around here."

TUMBA TROOPER: Zac Morris spent the weekend rescuing fish and clearing up debris that had washed up on the Tumbarumba streets. Picture: Kenji Sato

TUMBA TROOPER: Zac Morris spent the weekend rescuing fish and clearing up debris that had washed up on the Tumbarumba streets. Picture: Kenji Sato

Steven Langheim returned from work to discover the nearby creek had burst its banks and submerged the bridge, cutting him off from his house.

The floodwaters were so strong that they had uprooted a nearby water pipe and inundated the house of his downstream neighbour.

"I walked up and told him, because he didn't know," Mr Langheim said.

"It'd come right up to this guy's yard, so I gave him a hand to get his trucks out. It was right up to the bull bars."

Snowy Valley mayor James Hayes said the floods were a tragedy for Tumbarumba, but said it was heartening to see the community solidarity on display in the aftermath.

Councillor Hayes said he would be lobbying the government for money to rebuild the damaged infrastructure so that it was more flood resistant.

"Out of adversity comes change and, in a lot of cases, improvement," Cr Hayes said.

"When we do build things back, we build them back better. When they're rebuilt, they will be built above the flood level or repaired so they're not so flood prone."

Cr Hayes said he had already begun talks with Member for Albury Justin Clancy about funding for Tumbarumba, and said Mr Clancy had seemed cooperative.

Much of the repairs will be focused on the council-owned caravan park, which was one of the worst hit areas.

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Within minutes the recently redeveloped caravan park was totally submerged in water, as was the nearby football grounds.

It was a familiar sight for longtime resident Warren Hulm, who has lived through several such disasters while living in Tumbarumba.

He said the weekend's floods were relatively minor by comparison, saying the community was already back on its feet.

"It didn't do as much damage [as the 2010 flood]. It took out bridges, cut off roads, but everything's still open now," he said.

AFTERMATH: Warren Hulm and Cathy Saczawa survey the damage. Picture: Kenji Sato

AFTERMATH: Warren Hulm and Cathy Saczawa survey the damage. Picture: Kenji Sato

Resident Cathy Saczawa said the floodwaters had come dangerously close to her house, but stopped just short of causing any major flood damage.

"We had a bit of flooding in our backyard. We had a swimming pool feature for a little while, but it went down quite quickly," Ms Saczawa said.

"I was down here doing some shopping, and I witnessed a lot of the streets flooded and the storm water drains must have been full because we had a lot of water spouts."

More rain is on the cards for Tumbarumba throughout the rest of this week, with thunder warnings for major parts of southern NSW.

This story Flash flood left fish on the footy field first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.