Flood causes devastation at Dreaming Centre

Even hardy natives like saltbush could not withstand the floodwaters and Aileen Allen at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre says the damage is devastating.
Even hardy natives like saltbush could not withstand the floodwaters and Aileen Allen at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre says the damage is devastating.

Flood waters took a long time to reach Lake Forbes in the 2021 floods, but when they did start to flow into town they came with a rush.

Aileen Allen, who's been a passionate worker and promoter of the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre for years now, says the water was "absolutely rushing" through the hub when she went down on the evening of Wednesday, November 17.

"We had everything up but it was just so fierce," she said.

"The water came through really quickly between the BMX track and the hub, it was so forceful.

"It came through in 2016 but not like this.

"I've never seen it like it was - I got the shock of my life.

Paths, sand and so much more were washed from the site that night - and all sorts of objects and rubbish washed in.

But it was also the length of time the water sat around afterwards that caused damage - and as the water receded Aileen was devastated.

Even hardy native plants including saltbush have been lost to the inundation.

The plants were chosen for their cultural significance and the Dreaming Centre has been a place where elders and educators could speak with the next generation about how they were used for medicine or food.

It's incredibly hard to take for Aileen, who's invested hours into the dream of creating a venue where generations can share Wiradjuri culture.

She's been so appreciative of the funding and support that has enabled the Dreaming Centre to become a venue where events including NAIDOC can be held; where school groups can come and arts, crafts and dance can be shared.

Right now, Aileen said they are just looking for a little assistance to get the Dreaming Centre back to what it was before the flooding.

This includes getting more gravel and sand in to fix some of the soil erosion and replace the dance area, buying more native trees and grasses to replace those lost in the flood and to replace their lawnmower which was destroyed.