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The Great Flood of 2006: A Lesson in Resilience

Updated: Jul 15

New Beginnings and Early Accomplishments

By early 2006, Ronald and I had been living on the farm for over two years. We had moved here from the city, eager to start a new chapter in our lives.

Our first son, Matt, was just seven months old.

We were finally beginning to feel like we knew what we were doing.

The farm was thriving—dams had been redone, new bridges spanned the river, a small rearing pond was in place, and the banks were cleared of wattle trees, with fresh grass and young trees planted.

A Test from Nature

The farm was looking beautiful, but we were about to face our first major test. On March 20, 2006, we experienced over 100 mm of rain in less than an hour. This deluge, coming at the end of a long drought, was a stark reminder of what it meant to live in a catchment area. The surrounding hills funneled all the water towards our recently reinforced Loch Heron dam.

The Devastation

The dam wall, still covered in bare soil, couldn't withstand the sudden influx of water. As the water flowed over the dam, it began eroding the soil. We watched in horror as the erosion picked up speed, and within moments, the wall gave way. The newly built dam was destroyed, along with a weir, the new bridges, the pond, grass, trees, and large sections of the riverbank. The weirs were silted up, filled with the wattle wood we had so recently cleared.

Picking Up the Pieces

The devastation was overwhelming. It was one of our first major adult moments and certainly our first significant farming adventure. But through it all, we found solace in our faith and the timely support we received. We had applied for a small business grant, which fortunately paid out, enabling us to rebuild the dam—this time bigger and stronger.

Though Ronald still experiences a touch of PTSD whenever it rains hard :)!

Lessons Learned

This experience was also a crash course in dealing with insurance companies and understanding the fine print. It taught us to stay humble and prepared for whatever nature might throw our way. Despite the setbacks, we continued to work hard, knowing that each challenge was a step towards creating the farm of our dreams.

Moving Forward

Looking back on the flood of 2006, we see it as a pivotal moment in our journey. It tested our resolve and strengthened our commitment to the farm and each other. We’ve faced many challenges since then, but none as formative as that first great flood.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

We look forward to sharing more stories from our life here at Highland Giants Estate.

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