Torrential rain poured down on Yass Valley on Thursday night, flooding the already swollen Yass River. Water completely covered the Riverbank Park playground, lapping at the main street past Cobble Stone Cottage.

This week Cobblestone Cottage Yass

Only the top of this cobblestone cottage was visible during the flood of 1959. Photo Yass & District Historical Society Collection.


On the other side of the bridge, the Riverside Park grassed area flooded, water spreading as far as the Bus Depot on Rossi Street near Banjo Paterson Park, where water levels submerged parked cars at neighbouring properties. 

Bus Drivers Phil Davy, Paul Bush, Mick Broers, Alan Stuart, Phil Furlonger took a look at their flooded depot before the ‘business-as-usual’ school bus run. Photo credit MEGAN CASSIDY.

The SES has been on hand throughout the flooding providing sandbags to those in need. SES has had multiple flood rescue call-outs as people have attempted to drive through flooded roads. As road closures continued, they urged drivers not to enter flood water and to remember, “if it’s flooded, forget it.”

Undermined Murrumbateman road – a stormwater culvert failed. YVC closed road

On Friday afternoon, as the flood water began to subside, the Yass SES hosted a meeting with representatives from The Hume Police District, NSW Police, Rural Fire Service  Southern Tablelands, Fire and Rescue NSW Station 511 Yass, NSW Ambulance, VRA and Yass Valley Council to discuss the current flooding situation. 

Following the meeting, emergency services and the council said they would like to reassure the community that the situation is being monitored and plans are in place to respond if needed. They advise the Yass Valley Council website should be checked for up-to-date road closures. 

Over the weekend, Yass SES used a helicopter from Alpine Helicopters to assess river conditions and damage upstream of the Yass dam. The SES said this is very important work to support Yass Valley Council and help with recovery.

“Roads have suffered most, with major damage to Murrumbateman Road, Neville Dowling Bridge, the Low-Level Crossing in Yass, and Black Range Road, as well as damage to other roads, particularly on the unsealed network,” Council stated.

The cost of the damage and the timeline for repairs is not yet known. Council Staff have begun a detailed assessment and aim to reopen and repair parks and roads as soon as possible. 

Murrumbateman Road will remain closed to all traffic across the Broken Dam Creek Culvert until a detailed assessment can be undertaken and may be closed until all repair works are completed. The downstream end of the culvert has washed away, and the road is now being undermined.  Council asks that motorists do not remove the road closure signs as it places other motorists in danger should the culvert collapse.

 The Neville Dowling Bridge at the end of Morton Avenue remains closed until a technical inspection can be completed. The Low-Level Crossing in Yass will also remain closed until the water has receded and the road can be repaired. Black Range Road is closed to all traffic at the culvert at the end of the sealed section until a new culvert can be constructed.

 Flood damage to recreational assets has also been significant, with repairs needed to Riverbank Park, Joe O’Connor Park, Walker Park and Sutton Oval. 

Council is working with the NSW State Emergency Service and Resilience NSW to have a disaster declaration completed and has already begun discussions with Transport for NSW on road repair works.

Much of the community turned up to see the flooded park for themselves, with traffic congesting around the Comur and Rossi Roundabout and around the bridge on Friday morning. Locals have also kept the Yass Facebook noticeboard members informed with pictures, home rain gauge measurements, and road closure updates.

Rebecca Hillas and Billie Leanie (toddler) view Yass River

On the pedestrian bridge, Melinda Sheffield and Anna Dreyer Jones had a good view of the river and discussed the potential for the playground to be replaced soon.

“We just need the playground removed; get the new one in. We were just saying maybe the flood will boost Council to actually replace it,” said Melinda. 

“Last time it flooded like this, they had to do a lot of work to repair it,” said Anna.

Both have seen the river flood like this before but say they have not seen it quite as high as Cobblestone Cottage. “It’s fairly ferocious,” said Melinda.

On the other side of the playground accessed from the end of Dutton Street, 

The Hopley Family looking at flooded playground Photo credit Southerly Jones

Ashleigh and Nathan Hopley, with their two small children, Ruby and Hugo, were looking at the flooded park. Ashley says they have never seen the river this flooded in their time of living in Yass. The family know quite a few people who have been affected by the flood. 

“I’m concerned this is just the beginning. It progressively seems to be getting worse, so how many more floods are we going to be experiencing? It’s a bit scary,” said Ashleigh.

The children, Ruby and Hugo, say they are excited about the river being this high and that it is more exciting than it is scary. Even though she can’t play on the playground right now, Ruby says, “I like it underwater!” 

The recent downpour has not only affected Yass Valley. Water NSW has stated that flows from the Yass River into Burrinjuck dam were the “highest ever recorded.” Water releases from Burrinjuck Dam are increasing to 98,000 megalitres a day following the heavy rain across various regions across NSW. 

Water NSW river operations personnel are managing the Burrinjuck Dam spillway releases to lessen the impact at Gundagai and further downstream. They have been working closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to anticipate heavy rain and manage pre-releases of the dam. 

Within inland NSW, SES has had over 70 calls for assistance and carried out ten rescues overnight.

Southerly Jones