Flood tales roar back to life for Wes and Les
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.