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The Stroud Community Web is an online news and information source for Stroud and surrounding communities. An initiative and ongoing project of Stroud Lions Club.

Your Community Says Thank You

Information courtesy of Great Lakes Council;

Great Lakes Council Mayor, Cr Jan McWilliams says the Great Lakes community owes a debt of gratitude to several individuals who risked their lives to save others in Stroud last week during a flash flood that wreaked havoc in the pre-dawn of Tuesday 21 April.

“Several men undertook significant acts of bravery early that morning and have since quietly returned to work without a word to anyone” said Cr McWilliams.

“Well we want them to know that we are all deeply grateful for their actions on that night and we applaud their bravery. Above all, we are glad that both they and the people they rescued that morning are safe” said the Mayor.

At 4.03am (about the same time), Stroud Ambulance Station received a call to assist with a flood emergency at Clarencetown and Dungog. Ambulance officer, Bill Rathbone says they couldn’t respond as Stroud roads were cut off by rapidly rising flood waters.

The ambulance turned back to return to town but at about 4.15am came across a SES vehicle with a lone occupant that had been washed off the road while attempting to get through.

With the help of another SES vehicle, the ambulance officers rescued the SES worker from the roof of his vehicle using a ladder back to the rescuing SES vehicle.

Meanwhile, Michael Maytom was returning home after his work shift at a local mine. When he saw the flood water rising, he entered the showground campground and woke up the campers.

Mr Maytom got the campers into the relative safety of the Showground grandstand, but the waters rose quickly and the Grandstand faltered, shifting on its foundations. Campers were forced to take on the perilous flood waters, abandoning the Grandstand.

Meanwhile Stroud’s local police officer, Senior Constable Brad Smith, a local resident police officer Trent Moffat and Bill Rathbone had found a boat and were on route to fish the campers out of the flood water, which was still rising at a rapid rate.

Together with a second boat and two Essential Energy workers, Willy Grey and Dean Hancock, the men leapt out of the boats, retrieving campers from the water and getting them into the boat.

“Our boat got swept into the centre of the showground and we could hear an elderly couple crying out for help” said Bill Rathbone.

The situation was dire, one couple were hanging onto the air vents at the top of the Showground’s amenities block. The gentleman had tied a cardigan through the hole and used a belt to attach his wife so that the water wouldn’t carry her away.

At considerable risk to himself Bill Rathbone leapt out of the boat to get the lady and her husband to safety.

“I just thought we’ve gotta get there, and we’re not gonna get there at this rate, so I jumped out the boat. The flood waters took me over to them and I just hung on them until the other guys could get the boat over to us.”

“They had nothing left in the tank. The lady could not have hung on any longer – they told us that later” said Bill.

“We were just grateful that there was no loss of life in Stroud” says Bill Rathbone about that morning.

“Of course our heartfelt thanks also goes out to the State Emergency Service, NSW Police, the NSW Ambulance Service and Essential Energy who all had back up on the ground very quickly on the morning of Tuesday 21 April and proceeded to rescue people from roofs and assist Stroud in its clean up after this storm event” said Cr McWilliams.

Stroud Helpers

4 Comments on “Your Community Says Thank You”

  1. diana torrance (nee webster) June 6, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    I hope you are all taking care, thinking of you all up home and I have always called stroud home I know I left stroud when I was 20 years old but Stroud is gods country to me. Thinking of you all

  2. Kathleen Gilbert May 29, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    I have not received any post from Stroud Community Web do I need to register again I miss them very much Kathleen Gilbert


  3. Sharon May 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    The part on them abandoning the grandstand is not correct, they stayed in that until they could get out and the older couple that were hanging onto the building didn’t make it to the grandstand. If you require the correct info contact Michael. Thanks

    • Stroud Community Web May 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment. The media release above came direct from Great Lakes Council and was unaltered.

      Kind regards

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