So, the mighty Mulgate Creek has done it again.
Many years ago a surveyor in a horse and cart walked along, dragging a surveyor’s chain, 22 yards long and he surveyed three bridges on three creeks and the Railways Department built three bridges on three creeks – Stoney Creek (also known as Doctor’s Creek), Mulgate Creek and Buchanans Creek, each bridge plenty big enough to handle the waters of each of these creeks.
Buchanan’s Creek has been blocked off and these waters have diverted across the plain into Mulgate Creek.
So Mulgate Creek was then carrying two lots of water.
This created some problems with flooding the main road (Newell Highway) not because of the railway bridge, but because the small wooden culvert which had been cemented over the top on the main road (Newell Highway) was capable of carrying half cusecs of water, when cleaned out.
But Mulgate flow in flood times was three to five cusecs This flooded the highway, stopping all Melbourne to Brisbane traffic.
So a Narrabri Shire engineer created a diversion around the culvert (brilliant idea).
This caused the waters of Mulgate to turn down the highway past the cemetery and under Doctor’s Creek bridge.
This caused so many problems, completely blocking the highway for quite long periods, that the highway had to be shifted to where it is today.
So the waters of Mulgate Creek and Doctor’s Creek now meet head-on, stopping each other and creating an enormous back-up, right in front of the bridge they are expected to flow freely under.
A bridge designed to carry the waters of one creek, is now carrying the waters of three creeks.
This is not helped by the bank the Narrabri Shire has recently built, restricting Mulgate between the road and the rail line, using the railway line embankment as a flood bank, and concentrating the flow of Mulgate so that it impacts stronger on Doctors Creek.
To explain to readers – turn two hoses on in your garden, place them side by side with both lots of water running the same way, then turn them so the waters meet running the same way, note how the waters flow.
Then turn them so they face each other and watch how the waters do not flow.
This is what the waters of Mulgate and Doctors Creek are doing.
It is a hydrological nightmare.
So who/what do we blame? Climate change? Mother Nature? An act of God? How do we fix it?
Water will find its own way.
Bill Robinson, NarrabriTo order photos from this page click here