Flood tales roar back to life for Wes and Les

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

WES Smith re­mem­bers hear­ing a roar be­fore he looked up and saw a two-me­tre wall of wa­ter com­ing to­wards him.

“It­was when we were only half-way through build­ing the dam wall,” he said.

“It didn’t even rain here. All the wa­ter was from up in the catch­ment in the moun­tains, but then it come down here and flooded us out.”

Mr Smith was one of the men who helped com­plete the Ca­nia Dam wall in the early 1980s, so the only thing he was flooded with when he and wife Les came back to the town out­side of Monto last month was mem­o­ries of their time in the Ca­nia camp.

“We came here twice; the first time to do pre­lim­i­nary work we stayed for about three months. Then we came back to work on the

Wes Smith All the wa­ter was from up in the catch­ment in the moun­tains, but then it come down here and flooded us out.

spill­way and stayed for another 10 months,” he said.

Dur­ing the time Wes, wife Les and their two boys lived in a car­a­van, com­plete with a picket fence and gar­den in what is now the Ca­nia Gorge Big 4 Car­a­van Park.

“It is very nos­tal­gic, I can still see the place where they used to have the sin­gle mans’ quarters and the lit­tle shop,” Mrs Smith said.

“But it was very ex­cit­ing, there were so many char­ac­ters and we had a lot of good times,” Mr Smith said.

“I re­mem­ber after that flood came over the half-fin­ished dam wall two of the boys work­ing for me scooted off to the Al­bert Ho­tel in town, hop­ing to get stranded there.

“They were so dis­ap­pointed when I turned up to get them!”

The pair even kept in touch with the for­mer Ca­nia camp cook Nel­lie Mitchell, “the lady who could prob­a­bly make an old boot taste good”, and vis­ited her dur­ing their stay this week­end.

Then, just like thou­sands of times be­fore dur­ing their life on the road, Mr and Mrs Smith packed up their tent to move on to more ad­ven­tures be­fore they ar­rive back home in Bus­sel­ton, Western Aus­tralia in late Oc­to­ber.


HAPPY CAMPERS: Wes and Les Smith lived at Ca­nia in the late 70s, as Mr Smith helped with build­ing the Ca­nia Dam wall.

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