Sirdan and Missie the Jack Russell are off to Gympie

Yes, the day has come.

That’s the destination.

Just as well it isn’t this time last year.

Gympie, a rural city of about 16,000 people in the Mary River Valley, is 150 km north of central Brisbane. A gold rush from the late 1860s brought rapid growth and grand buildings in what soon proved to be a flood-prone main street. Fine mansions sprouted on the flood-free hill tops, but the lower part of the main street is still inundated from time to time. Gympie was the administrative seat of the Cooloola Shire and continues that role with the Gympie Regional Council.


The Gympie district was part of the large Widgee pastoral area. In 1867 James Nash, who had mined in New South Wales, carried out some casual prospecting while journeying from Nanango to Gladstone. Trying Yabba Creek (Imbil) and Six Mile Creek, he found a few colours; then at Caledonian Hill and a nearby gully (Nash’s Gully) he discovered rich deposits. A few weeks later he found more gold in a small watercourse known by pastoral employees and cedar cutters as Gympie Creek…

By 1901 Gympie’s population was about 12,000, nearly triple the figure of 20 years before. There were two more private schools, a stock exchange (1884), another newspaper, over 20 lodges and friendly societies, more churches (Baptist and Salvation Army), a water service and a theatre. The running total of gold taken from Gympie was 2.49 million ounces, compared with about 0.82 million ounces up to 1881. It was as well that the strong gold production kept up, as Gympie suffered heavy losses when the Mary River flooded in 1893, putting Mary Street 30 feet below flood level at its lowest point. Water pressure fractured gas mains and damaged mines.


Along with much of Queensland, Gympie and its central business area were flooded in January 2011. The Mary River peaked at 19.24 metres, the twelfth highest since records were kept. The three highest recorded levels were 25.5 m (1893), 22 m (1898) and 22 m (1999). Gympie has had many more moderate floods, particularly during the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s…

Sirdan’s new place is well away from the flood areas, apparently.