The Bellinger River, at its source high in the Armidale Escarpment, comes to its life as little more than a trickle of clear water, and as this tiny creek carves and whittles its way through ancient geological faults, it is constantly fed by a thousand unnamed streams that drain from the nooks and crannies that flute the escarpment. In this wild and mountainous valley, the rain can be generous.
No light summery showers here though, when it rains, it rains like a bastard. Further downstream, the river flows through the ravines and valleys, past the village of Thora, through the rich flatlands and east to the pacific ocean. As the river nears the coast it threads its way past (and sometimes, on a wet bloody Sunday, through) the town of Bellingen.
Day by day, (usually), the Bellinger River flows with an even temper, but … but, in flood, the river rages, it boils, it washes tonnes of arable soil down-river, destroying bridges, drowning risk-taking people and unwary livestock.
The Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun, Wednesday, March 28th (90 ct. inc GST)
"Since the beginning of the year, Bellingen has recorded 1345 mm of rain. The State Emergency Service fears this could lead to a medical emergency.
The old-timers, long familiar with the river's spiteful moods, just cried, 'Get the cattle to the top paddock … and make sure we've got enough spuds!'