Discovery Parks has stepped up during the North West’s flood crisis – flying in food supplies to miners, catering for a hospital with water damage and playing host to the Army.
Cloncurry-based area manager Hamish Griffin (pictured above) said the disaster events brought drama, but also a sense of satisfaction at being able to chip in.
“We feel very proud to have been able to accommodate the military and the Red Cross and to have provided a safe place for them to stay and, of course, the good meals we are famous for,” he said.
Discovery Parks operates a 70-person workers’ camp at Malaco Leichhardt’s copper mine at Mt Cuthbert, 100km north-west of Cloncurry.
“It has been quite a challenge to keep that camp ticking over with sustainable levels of food and staffing for the flood relief and for the 30-40 miners we have onsite,” Mr Griffin said.
“It’s been even more challenging than it should have been because a delivery truck didn’t get through before it started raining – so whereas we normally carry a couple of weeks’ worth of essential supplies for the wet season, we were already stretched. The situation started to get a bit dire.”
Road access to the site was cut after the Cloncurry region received about two years’ worth of rain within days, he said.
“There were several creeks you would have to cross on the dirt road to get access to the mine site and the Leichhardt River causeway (near Mt Cuthbert) had about 3m of water over it. It’s just unprecedented,” Mr Griffin said.
“Even now it is 300-400mm over and the safety guidelines for the mine are that vehicles should not cross if the water reaches 200mm. They are escorting vehicles through there.”
Discovery Parks and Malaco Leichhardt chartered helicopters to get supplies into the mine as well to transport staff.
The Discovery Parks kitchen has been working overtime, fuelling relief workers from the Australian Army, Red Cross and Uniting Care.
“We’ve hosted up to 40 soldiers – members of the 5th Aviation Regiment from Townsville, who have been out here since about February 9 – it’s certainly meant quite a bit of laundry as you can imagine with all this mud,” Mr Griffin said.
“Again, it was very short notice – we got the phone call the day before.”
The park also stepped into the breach when the Concurry Hospital kitchen was deemed unsafe after a torrential downpour caused it to leak, providing meals for hospital inpatients and its aged care facility residents.
“In moments like this, the North Queensland community really rallies – you are always so pleased to do what you can to help,” Mr Griffin said.