Water's up at Prairie Pub

Prairie Hotel publican windsurfs after flash flood

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Prairie Hotel publican Tom Duddy tests out his windsurfer in the floodwaters surrounding the hotel early on Sunday morning. Picture - Andrea Duddy.

Prairie Hotel publican Tom Duddy tests out his windsurfer in the floodwaters surrounding the hotel early on Sunday morning. Picture - Andrea Duddy.

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Prairie's historic hotel just escaped having floodwaters through the bar on Sunday morning after flash flooding brought a deluge of water into the town.

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Prairie's historic hotel just escaped having floodwaters through the bar on Sunday morning after flash flooding brought a deluge of water into the town.

Built as a Cobb and Co depot close to water for horses, neither early publicans or the current host, Tom Duddy would have expected the influx that arrived in the early hours of Australia Day 2020.

Mr Duddy had been warned of big falls upstream in Prairie Creek on Saturday evening of up to 125mm, and waited up until 1am before calling it a night.

At 3am he said he was woken by a pet lamb making a strange bleating noise in the carport and discovered it was up to its knees in water.

"The railway line was like a dam wall, the water couldn't get away," he said.

He and his wife Andrea frantically spent the next hour or so trying to block doorways and prevent the water from entering the hotel proper, until the flood peaked between 4 and 5am.

"We've been here for 30-odd years and up until a couple of years ago we'd only seen this a couple of times," Mr Duddy said. "This has happened a few times in the last couple of years - I guess it's just our turn."

A shot of what the Flinders Highway looked like around Prairie on Sunday morning. Picture - Jane McNamara.

A shot of what the Flinders Highway looked like around Prairie on Sunday morning. Picture - Jane McNamara.

Sunday's episode was the highest they had experienced, confirmed by nearby landholder Bill Bode, who said at his place, The Plains, the creek had run more than 30cm higher than it had in the 50 years he had been living there.

"It's hard to work out the rain - I've had 552 points (138mm) so far since the rain started on Wednesday but one of my neighbours had five inches (125mm) in one fall," he said.

"Another neighbour, the night of that flooding, woke at 2am and stepped out from his house into water when he went to check what was happening."

Mr Duddy said there was a lot to clean up, including railway bridge ballast that had washed out.

Flinders shire mayor Jane McNamara said the council would do whatever needed to be done to help people affected by flooding.

Mr Duddy said the rain had a monsoon feel to it.

"It's steamy and overcast; we're waiting for more storms this afternoon.

"Everyone is happy for the rain though."

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