Here is an article that I had published in newspapers after the Victorian flooding about a year ago now (wow, time flies).
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A quiet calm falls over the town of Donald, as the big machines powering the town for the last couple of days start going off one by one. The river had done its damage now. Power had been restored and now the town can think about cleaning up for the second time in four months.

The river had reached a new high. The famous Bullock’s Head was not just having a drink, it was officially drowning. The new standard of depth would now be the fish swimming on the other side of the river; and he was more than getting his bottom fin wet.

My partner and I had wanted to see the progression of the waters, as part of our attempt to photograph this ever-changing corner of our world. When we arrived barely a year ago, this family walked the length of the Richardson River when it was nothing more than a dry creek bed. Drought had been here for over ten years at that stage.

Whenever we talked to a local in those early days, they would tell us how the Bullock took a drink and how they expected never to see that happen again in their lifetime. Even after the early rains that would save the crops, the river still had no water in it – a puddle here and there, but nothing that compares to what we have seen now.

Twice now we have been inundated – a word that barely describes the totality of the water we have seen in four months.

The river has now flooded so much that Donald could be considered a cut-off community. But this does not stop a town like Donald. In fact, it does something quite the opposite.

An optimism pervades this little town, and the words that come to me unbidden each time I go out to survey the new damage are “community spirit”. It does not matter that the town is cut off. It does not matter that we have no phones or electricity. Nothing crushes or wipes away the combined power of town spirit. A town, when it pulls together, becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Each person that is able finds a way to chip in, even if that means carrying a couple of sandbags with a recovering knee, as was my case. You know that it will not stop the inevitable rising of the water, but you do it because you belong to this community.

When I moved to the country, one thing that I never expected to happen is that I would feel part of a community, but here it is more than that. More than a community.

This is my home.

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