Storm fury leaves mark on Tyers

A helping hand: Tyers Cafe owner Preet Kaur and manager Seona Mitchell were among many locals to assist Tyers residents last week. photograph zac standish

Zac Standish

The residents of Tyers were among the worst effected from last week’s wild weather and flooding with a number of factors resulting in the town being effectively isolated for much of the past week.

Within hours of torrential weather hitting the region, over 200 AusNet customers in Tyers were reported to have lost power, with some not having it restored until the following Wednesday as crews struggled to access damaged power lines.

Along with the mass power outage, road closures are continuing to make life difficult for locals with Tyers Road, the main road in and out of Traralgon, still out of action due to the flooding effect on the bridge over the Latrobe River.

Tyers resident Cheryl Credlin described how the events of the past week has impacted the local community.

“We were lucky in the sense that we only lost power for six hours living on the main street, but people over the road didn’t get there’s back until the Saturday and there are people right up the top who did not get it back until Wednesday,” Ms Credlin said.

“As far as water impact goes we just can’t go anywhere we are stuck, it is an absolute pain to get around and we have felt isolated.”

The closure of Tyers Road has resulted in residents having to endure lengthy detours through either Glengarry or Morwell, which Ms Credlin said has presented a host of issues.

“It has absolutely (been a pain) having to negotiate the road closures to get in and out of Tyers, I have had stories of people having to come down past Erica and Moe just to get here,” she said.

“If you need to go into Traralgon for appointments and things you have to make sure you leave incredibly early, my husband went in this morning via Glengarry and it took over 35 minutes to ensure he got there on time where normally it would just take ten minutes.”

She said the lack of communication when it comes to the status of the road has been frustrating with no timeline as to when it can reopen due to concerns regarding the state of the Latrobe River Bridge following the floods.

“I reckon they popped in pretty smart and got Glengarry Road fixed and the road through Toms Bridge and everything is fine but our little road just gets shafted,” she said.

“I have heard the rumour that the bridge has been compromised, I am not stupid I understand the risks and I would not want to travel on it myself if it has been compromised, but these are all rumours and nobody really knows and haven’t been given the proper heads up.”

As patrons reeled from the effects of the wild weather, the power of the Tyers community quickly came to the forefront as residents quickly went about helping one another and assisting those in need.

Situated on the town’s main road, the Tyers café was fortunately not affected by the power outage, which allowed store manager Seona Mitchell to set up a refuge of sorts for those in need.

“As a community we all stick together through a time like this, we are there for people in a number of different ways so for instance if someone needed eggs or bread or things like that we were there to assist them,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We also had a charging station here put together by the Tyers CFA, we offered tea and coffee for people coming through as well, while across the road the soccer club across the road was providing showers for those in need so it really was just a complete community effort.”

Reflecting back on the past week, Ms Credlin said seeing the power of work the community in to help each other has been heart-warming.

“It (this period) must have been a nightmare for a lot of people, especially when you have no power and you can’t go anywhere to do anything,” she said.

“Everyone here (in Tyers) is very stoic, we have had to be for a lot of years because we get forgotten out here, so our little community is very strong and it is great to see people helping one another.”