Alex Clarke captures the day Lismore will never forget

Alex Clarke: Lismore levee overtopping, Spinks Park, Thursday March 31st 2017.
Alex Clarke: Lismore levee overtopping, Spinks Park, Thursday March 31st 2017.
When photographer Alex Clarke ventured out (in a kayak) to witness the effect of last week’s flood – he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“I took this main shot while I was photographing the progress of the disastrous 2017 floods on Friday,” Clarke says. “At this time the flood had reached its full height of 11.58m outside the levee, but the levee is 10.7m at its lowest point – a little higher in Spinks Park. To the left is the Wilsons River and to the right is the heart of Lismore. My feeling of unease and personal danger standing next to this spectacle was intense.”

This beautiful but destructive waterfall illustrates how the bowl of the CBD was filled slowly by floodwater until the level inside and outside were equalised – with catastrophic consequences for the CBD of Lismore.  “This infill process took most of the morning on Friday,” Clarke says,  “but by the afternoon the levels had reached equilibrium and I was able to kayak down the main street!”

It was, and has been classified as such, a natural disaster of monumental proportions. “Thousands of Lismore residents and dozens of businesses have been severely affected by this event, the third largest flood on record in Lismore,” says Clarke, whose own shop PowerMax, was one of those to flood in the CBD. With millions of dollars of property losses and the destruction of countless precious personal effects, the Lismore council anticipates that some 10,000 tonnes of hard waste will need to be collected from around the CBD and suburbs of Lismore.

 

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