LATE last night, after a dyke failed to protect Maryborough’s business district, Father Lucius Edomobi prayed as he saw the floodwaters rise on the grounds of the city’s heritage listed St Mary’s Church.
Smelly, muddy mud passed through the church garage adjacent to the main drag, Adelaide Street, and crept up the hill towards the parish office and parsonage.
“I prayed. I was saying to God, ‘God, please don’t allow that. Don’t let this water get to the office because the loss will be a trauma,” said St Mary’s pastor, the Father Edomobi.
A few steps up, the iconic St Mary’s Church has been the lighthouse of the Fraser Coast region of Queensland since 1872.
Emergency officials had assured that a dike built quickly in Maryborough’s CBD and stretching across St Mary’s land would firmly withstand flood water which is expected to exceed a major flood level of 10.5 meters.
However, an underground stormwater valve broke just before 2 p.m. Sunday, allowing a huge surge of water to back up in sewers and on the streets.
An emergency evacuation order was issued and around ten pumps were deployed but could not stem the flow.
The floodwaters peaked just before midnight, two steps below the St Mary’s Parish office containing valuable documents, files and materials.
A step further, guarding the parsonage, Father Edomobi heard the water pumps on the main street stop and there was an ominous silence.
“God really heard my prayer, it was like a miracle,” he said.
As the flood emergency unfolded, Father Edomobi said parishioners encouraged him to leave the church and spend the night in a motel, but decided to stay instead.
“I have never experienced a flood before. I wanted to see what was going on, “he said.
Originally from Nigeria, Father Edomobi was appointed to Maryborough six months ago after serving as Associate Pastor at Living Waters Parish in Caboolture.
He is delighted to have joined the community of Maryborough.
“It’s a lovely and charming environment here. Beautiful church, especially the church, ”he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology has canceled a severe thunderstorm warning for the Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett districts of Queensland.
However, further north, Cyclone Tiffany produces destructive wind gusts of up to 130 km / h as it approaches the coast.
Heavy rains and large waves are expected to hit the Cape York Peninsula.
Those between Cape Tribulation and Cooktown are advised to secure boats and other property.