ONE YEAR ON | Community’s resilience shines in face of adversity

Picton’s residents and business owners have had a tough year but their spirit never broke.

Instead their resilience shone.

The town was ravaged by a severe storm on June 5 which caused Stonequarry Creek to burst its banks.

A deluge of water flowed along Argyle Street on the Sunday afternoon. 

Families had to be evacuated by boat and many business owners could only stand in disbelief as the water rose more than a metre. 

Thankfully no lives were lost but several businesses and homes were completely destroyed.

The next morning emergency services and volunteers came in droves to lend a helping hand in any way they could.

Stock was piled high on Argyle Street covered in mud and water.

The shops were not the only thing gutted – locals were heartbroken.

But the community picked itself up, rallied together and got on with the job of getting back to business.

Wollondilly mayor Judith Hannan said the past year showed the community’s spirit and resilience.

“Most shops have re-opened and are thriving, some are gone and others are waiting to re-open,” she said.

“You can’t keep a good town down.”

The storm directly and indirectly affected 144 businesses and 76 of those had complete losses. Nine will not re-open and four will be trading soon.

Cr Hannan said she would never forget the way locals rolled up their sleeves to help out.

Former mayor Simon Landow said he was amazed how the community rallied around each other.

“The business community was always tight-knit and this brought them closer,” Cr Landow said.

“People wanted to help out with the clean up and if they couldn’t then they donated money.”

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell said the anniversary reminded him that tragedy or adversity could strike at anytime but he knew the community was strong enough to get through anything.

“A year on and the effects are still in the town but like always we will continue to band together to help each other,” he said.

Wollondilly Council held the Big Day In and the Picton Chamber of Commerce ran the Flourish Festival and Christmas in July. The events raised money for the town, encouraged people to shop locally and lifted the community’s spirits.

Cr Landow said the “last piece of the puzzle” would be when Broughton Pass was re-opened.