The North West Star Wednesday. January 7th , 2009
Picture an overflowing lake Julius, a flooded Leichhardt River – swollen to more than 1.5 kilometres wide as it passes by the town, and you get the idea Kajabbi is isolated; even before more than 150 mm fell upstream last weekend, the town was isolated, only accessible by dirt road, but now there is no way in or out by car or four-wheel drive.
The town is home to only ten people. And while the Leichardt river is overflowing near the once thriving rail head and cutting access to the outside world, it is not a concern for those six that remain. Most of them live there for isolation, so this only means there will be no travellers passing through to stir up the dust.
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The North West Star Newspaper 112 Camooweal St Mt Isa Queensland
Those that stay during the wet season are prepared for when the rain comes, and they are cut off from the outside world.
But yesterday, after being cut off for less than a week, they received a welcome visitor, the Flying Padres – Salvation Army envoy Simon Steele and his wife Natalie, along with The North West Star photographer Dean Saffron.
The group was on a mission – to provide some supplies to those stranded by floodwaters. And while we’re not all out to greet the visitors, they did welcome the food.
Supplies Welcome at Kajabbi
Thank God for the Salvos. Salvation Army envoy Simon Steele and his wife Natasha, along with The North West Star, were welcomed at Kajabbi yesterday as they took supplies to the isolated town. Kalkadoon Hotel Manager Patrick Davis,
(photo above and below ) was there to greet the visitors before taking them back to the hotel for a cup of tea. But the fun did not stop there as the flight home got a bit hairy as the contingent had to fly through a storm and torrential rain. Dean Saffron captured these images.
Welcome supplies: Junie Marshall and Fred Barlow unloaded supplies flown into Kajabbi yesterday by Padre Simon Steele of the Salvation Army based in Mount Isa, money for the goods were donated by the Salvation Army store in Mount Isa.
Kalkadoon Hotel manager Patrick Davis said while many of the residents hadn’t been to the shops for a fortnight, they had plenty of supplies to get them through another few weeks. “But we can always use the extra Bread,” he said. “Unfortunately, Mount Isa was out of bread when we bought our supplies. But there was some milk and fresh fruit and vegetables among the packages.
Mr Davis said it was not the worse he had seen, but he did expect it could be up to three weeks before the river was passable by road. And to prepare for the welcome arrival, Mr Davis cleared the airport of debris yesterday morning.
The visit brought smiles all around, with the Kajabbi contingent happy to see some new faces.
Mr Davis said he and five other residents were there to welcome visitors and receive the supplies. The group then joined the visitors for a chat and a cup of tea back at the hotel before they flew out.
“It doesn’t take a rock star to get the residents ‘ interest,” Mr Davis said.
Having arrived in Mount Isa this year, the recent rain has given Mr and Mrs Steele their first taste of a wet season. “We do most of our flying during the dry but we can be called on during the wet season to top up supplies or to help people stranded, ” Salvation Army envoy Simon Steele said.
“It is a very rewarding Job to know you can get to these people and make a difference.”
The photo above Freddy Barlow