Western Queensland’s ‘drought babies’ experience first wet season after 10-year dry spell | Ralph-Lauren

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For some people, seeing rainfall doesn’t usually leave an indelible impression.

But for “drought babies” growing up in drought-ravaged western Queensland, the recent rain has been life changing.

Lucy, Fletcher and Clancy Hawkins have seen the odd light shower here or there on their family property at Taree, south-east of Aramac.

But December 18 marked the start of their first genuine wet season in 10 years.

The Hawkins kids running in water in a muddy paddock, wearing colourful rain coats
Lucy, Fletcher and Clancy Hawkins are all under the age of 10 and have never seen a successful wet season at Taree.(Supplied: Taree Grazing)

The siblings, aged nine, seven and five respectively, have woken almost every day for the past month to the unusual sight of water in the creeks and puddles in the paddocks.

Their mum, Genevieve Hawkins, said it had been wonderful to watch the kids experience flowing creeks and rivers for the first time.

“The kids are drought babies, so they’ve never seen a wet season, they’ve never seen this much water and they are having the best time playing in the mud,” Mrs Hawkins said.

“It’s just marvellous.”

Best rain in a decade

Drone shot of Taree, south-east of Aramac, shows the landscape after some initial rain, but the land is still dry
The last decade has been the driest on record for the region.(Supplied: Taree Grazing)

While the kids have a blast in the water, their parents Genevieve and Bryson Hawkins don’t know who is more excited — the kids or them.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes from this much rain,” Mrs Hawkins said.

A drone shot of Taree Station, south east of Aramac, shows the landscape is now lush and green after almost 300mm of rain
Mrs Hawkins says seeing the rain has lifted a weight of her shoulders.(Supplied: Taree Grazing)

“So mentally, just to have this rain and to see the water lying around, to see the creeks running is just amazing. It’s such a weight lifted off our shoulders.”

Since December 18, 288 millimetres has fallen on the Hawkins’ property in central-west Queensland.

In less than a month, more rain has fallen there than in the years 2017, 2018 or 2019.

“In 2017, we had a total rainfall of 143mm, which is actually, I think, the lowest on record,” Mr Hawkins said.

‘If we can get rain, anyone can’

Lucy, Fletcher and Clancy Hawkins jumping into a gully, making the most of the rain and excess water in the creeks
Mrs Hawkins says the children love jumping in muddy puddles and playing in the water.(Supplied: Taree Grazing)

At Taree, seven of the past 10 years have recorded below-average rainfall, forcing the Hawkins family to live through severe drought conditions.

So this well-timed rain has made a world of difference.

Mrs Hawkins said her region had rainfall records dating back 41 years that showed the past decade had been the driest on record.

“I’m feeling very grateful that we were able to get under this rain,” Mrs Hawkins said.

Lucy, Fletcher and Clancy Hawkins playing in long, green buffel grass
Since December 18, 288mm of rain has fallen on the Hawkins’ property in central-west Queensland.(Supplied: Taree Grazing)

“I know it’s not as widespread as we’d hoped, but I’m hoping that everyone has had a bit now and the gaps are starting to fill in.

“We were certainly one of those places that seemed to be in the gaps that always missed out, so I’m feeling quite positive about this.



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