An unlikely hero
Australia Day 2019 was the third disaster activation in six weeks for Douglas Shire, Queensland, and the impact on residents and businesses has been significant.
For Degarra fisherman Billy Dunn and his wife, the flooding Bloomfield River brought one disaster too many.
Their house, located at the northern end of the Bloomfield Track near Wujal Wujal, was one of the eight flooded in the district, population 30.
At about midnight, Dunn tells, his wife was woken by Maggie the dog.
“She just jumped on the bed and was a bit wet.”
Getting out of bed to investigate Mrs Dunn found the bedroom six inches deep and rising, but the dog was gone.
“Maggie had run out to the veranda and got caught in the flood water.”
Mr Dunn believes Maggie’s tale of survival could be her biggest achievement.
“Our house was flooded and our dog was done – it was the last straw.”
And yet somehow Maggie made her way home through the jungle.
“It took her about two days to swim back with the tides going out and coming back in.
“We had given up. But when we got our dog back, it was time for us get back on the road to recovery.”
The Dunns believe Maggie, tirelessly paddled back up the Bloomfield River, spotted a light from a house on a nearby hill and headed straight to it.
“She has never been that clean in her life.”
Mayor Julia Leu and Council staff heard many stories of the flood affected community during a catch-up with residents on the Dunn’s veranda last week.
Followed by a visit to Daintree Village, where they spoke to residents under a mango tree near the Daintree Hall.
“Maggie is definitely the hero of Degarra,” the Mayor said.
“It is important to let everyone know that while Douglas Shire is recovering, the region is still a must-do destination that is well and truly open for business.
“Fresh from the rain, now is when the rainforest is really thriving, the reef is absolutely spectacular and you really get to enjoy this little piece of paradise.”