There is a silver lining to the Sapphire floods – rain means good fossicking.

More than 200mm fell in the small township of Sapphire west of Emerald on Wednesday morning.

Sapphire Caravan and Cabin Park owner Victoria Bentham was woken by the sound of the heavy rain and when she checked her phone, she was shocked to see all of the emergency warnings.

Warning sirens were activated in Rubyvale but did not deploy in Sapphire, due to suspected technology complications.

“We just heard the rain but we didn’t realise it was as bad as it was until we saw it,” she said.

“It was quite scary, we had no idea until we woke up, it was quite shock to be woken up to the news.

“Most people had no idea unless they saw the warnings.”

New owners of Sapphire Caravan and Cabin Park, Victoria and Darrell Bentham.
New owners of Sapphire Caravan and Cabin Park, Victoria and Darrell Bentham.

Victoria’s caravan park is on top of a hill which meant thankfully, they didn’t have to evacuate.

Instead, they took in some guests from the other caravan parks that sought higher and drier ground.

Looking around the town, she said it was quite a harrowing sight.

“There are mining claims with houses on them that are just inundated with water,” she said.

“We’re very grateful for the rain but feel very sorry for the people that are affected.”

Victoria and her husband only moved to the area four months ago, shifting from Brisbane for a tree change.

The rain will mean good things for her their business.

Rain washes the sapphires down the creek beds and because the gems are heavy, they get lodged behind boulders.

Fossickers have already been seen out specking for sapphires.

“Everyone just walks around with their heads down looking for a sparkle,” she said.

With Easter just a couple of weeks away, it is perfect timing for those visitors travelling west over the Easter break.

“After rain is the best time to go searching for them,” Victoria said.


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