Marj! The rains are here

By Chris Tangey 12 November 2021
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Flooding not flowing – this week’s Todd River “banker” was a corker, says award-winning filmmaker and Alice Springs local, Chris Tangey, who captured this stunning drone footage.

Alice Springs is a transient town. Just like the Todd River, people come and go. So when you hear a young journo on air excitedly talking about the river “flooding”, locals reactions fall somewhere between a wry smile and annoyance. Mostly, the river just “flows”.

This time, however, the traffic could continue through the famous Heavitree Gap, while the nearby Honeymoon Gap did flood from another watercourse, Roe Creek, which briefly became a favourite swimming spot. 

The usually bone-dry Todd is the scene of picnics, cricket matches and the legendary, red-dirt Henley on Todd Regatta.

The Miwatj Dolphins from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory play cricket in the dry Todd River during the Imparja Cup in Alice Springs. Photo by Darrian Traynor – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images

But as torrential rain dumped more than 100mm in The Alice, the Todd turned from a trickle into a torrent.

According to local Thor Jensen, “after a wet week and heavy downpour through the night the town awoke to a ‘banker’ as the locals say when the Todd River rises above its banks.

“It’s a rare event that clogged the morning traffic along the roaring river as everyone had to get out and take photos, while desperate rodents and reptiles ran for higher grounds.”

An unlucky local man had to rescued from a tree in the river as his car was swept off the causeway at 5am as he tried to cross the river. After a six-hour rescue mission the man was back on dry land.  

The dry Todd River cuts a loamy swathe through The Alice.