River watch: The Bellinger River yesterday broke its banks on the outskirts of the town, flooding paddocks near Connell’s Bridge.
River watch: The Bellinger River yesterday broke its banks on the outskirts of the town, flooding paddocks near Connell’s Bridge. Bruce Thomas

Bellingen Shire spared, so far

THE Bellinger River remained steady at about 5.8 metres yesterday afternoon.

Bellingen’s SES rescue officer Bill Shipp said with the tide still up, the river was only falling slowly.

“But if all stays the way it is now and we don’t get any more rain, the bridge should re-open sometime on Wednesday,” Mr Shipp said.

The Waterfall Way remained open all day with only one minor slip on the Dorrigo Mountain, which council crews cleared early in the day.

The SES had only had three calls for assistance.

About 120 campers remained at the Bellingen Showground overnight. Those who needed it were accommodated in the pavilions and sheds.

There was an SES briefing at 5pm followed by a concert combining the talents of North Bellingen musicians and Camp Creative participants.

Up the Thora and Kalang Valleys over 500 people remained isolated with roads closed by flooded bridges.

Darkwood resident Howard Welsh described as a good sign the fact he was watching waves breaking over the newly re-built Justin’s Bridge.

The community had weathered a stressful 19 months after the original bridge was washed away in the March 2009 floods

“Hopefully our wonderful new bridge will emerge sparkling when the waters recede,” Mr Welsh said.

He expected to remain isolated until Thursday but with the bridge repaired, “life was back to normal”.



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