3AM on a Thursday at Landsborough’s Rocky Creek Camp is usually pretty quiet. Apart from the usual nocturnal sounds from across the 120 acre property, it’s a peaceful haven for campers and school groups to enjoy.
But earlier this month, a little rumble turned into crushing hail and flying debris as the small town of Landsborough was hit hard by a damaging storm.
Caretaker of Rocky Creek “Scout Camp, Rachel Thomson, said it was incredibly fierce, with the storm ripping through their – and many others’ – property, leaving devastation in its wake.
Showing the strength of the community, a group of over 50 volunteers gathered the following Saturday March 5 to help clean up the property.
It was a mammoth effort due to the extensive damage caused by hail, falling trees, branches and localised flooding.
“The camp’s kitchen had been devastated, we had two RFS crews on site clearing tracks around the property, our low ropes course had been damaged, and we had recently completed our new obstacle course, which had been destroyed,” said Rachel.
“We’ve had to cancel 14 bookings, and it’s hard to say when exactly we’ll be open again. We can’t consciously allow kids back on site until we know it’s safe.”
While it is a lot to come to terms with, especially considering this is not the first challenge thrown at Rachel and her husband Duncan since taking over as caretakers five years ago -they’ve been through the 2018 storms, 2019 bushfires, 2020-21 COVID-19 – but they are determined to stay positive.
Rachel says she was taken aback by the generosity of the community in coming together to help. “It was truly heart-warming to see everyone helping each other out,” she shared.
“We had a lot of trees and branches fall, even some that had caused damage to our neighbours’ properties, but there was no animosity, everyone just pitched in to help each other.
“We even had kids walking around filling their buckets with leaves.
“It really says a lot for our community.”
With the recovery now reaching a stalemate while waiting on insurance, Rachel said they are welcoming donations of gravel and timber to help rebuild tracks, as well as white goods and tables to help get the camp back on track.
“The community has been so kind to us, especially when a lot of others properties have also been damaged,” said Rachel.
“It’s been overwhelming to see so many people in our corner. We’re so thankful.”