Immersive installation brings together first hand accounts of residents who experienced 2017 flood

Lismore's devastating 2017 flood is the subject of the interactive installation, Flood Stories
Lismore's devastating 2017 flood is the subject of the interactive installation, Flood Stories

In 2017, Lismore was decimated by a catastrophic flood.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie had travelled down the Queensland coast into the Northern Rivers region and hit it with a vengeance.

It was the first flood to overtop Lismore's levee, built in 2005 to protect the town's CBD and surrounding residential areas.

Lismore audio documentary-maker, Jeanti St Clair has brought together first hand accounts of residents who experienced this devastating flood to create the immersive and powerful installation, Flood Stories, opening at The Quad in Lismore this month.

 NSW Fire and Rescue Station Commander Lismore Platoon C Ian Grimwood, who sounded the evacuation siren in March 2017, is one of the storytellers featured in Flood Stories.

NSW Fire and Rescue Station Commander Lismore Platoon C Ian Grimwood, who sounded the evacuation siren in March 2017, is one of the storytellers featured in Flood Stories.

Flood Stories features 10 audio stories about the flood, told from the perspectives of people who were flooded and people who helped in the recovery. Each flood story is presented as an audio recording that has been collected through a public storytelling workshop and interviews. The project highlights the importance of sharing stories in recovery and explores community resilience and preparedness in the face of climate events.

Flood Stories creator Jeanti St Clair with two of the residents who shared their 2017 Lismore flood experiences - Jyllie Jackson and Chris Regan - at the launch of Flood Stories in the Lismore Quad on Tuesday April 27. Photo: Kate O'Neill

Flood Stories creator Jeanti St Clair with two of the residents who shared their 2017 Lismore flood experiences - Jyllie Jackson and Chris Regan - at the launch of Flood Stories in the Lismore Quad on Tuesday April 27. Photo: Kate O'Neill

Flood Stories starts in a shipping container in Lismore Quad where the public collect audio players and headphones, don raincoats and gumboots, and take audio walks around Lismore's CBD while listening to the personal accounts of people who were directly affected or helped with the rescue and recovery. Stories range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration.

Storytellers include NSW Fire and Rescue Station Officer Ian Grimwood who sounded the evacuation siren on March 31, Music Bizarre owner Deborah Ray who was torn between protecting her business and her home, and Maddy Braddon who co-established the Helping Hands Network which became so crucial to Lismore's recovery.

Kate Stroud, whose venue Dusty Attic (above) was inundated, is among those who share their experience in Flood Stories.

Kate Stroud, whose venue Dusty Attic (above) was inundated, is among those who share their experience in Flood Stories.

"People were extremely generous and open about what they had experienced and continue to feel as a result of this natural disaster. Many participants have commented to me how good it has been for them to share their story," said Jeanti St Clair.

"Listening to these stories while walking to some of the flood impacted locations in Lismore is a powerful experience. It is also an important opportunity for us to reflect on the lessons we have learned."

FLOOD STORIES OPERATING TIMES

  • Wednesday April 28 4pm -6pm: 5pm - Opening event at The Quad
  • Thursday April 29 & Friday April 30, 11am-2pm, and 4-6pm
  • Saturday May 1, 11am-2pm
  • Sunday May 2, 12pm-2pm
  • Tuesday May 4 & Wednesday May 5 11am-2pm
  • Thursday May 6, 11am-2pm, and 4-6pm