Picton businesses are still recovering from the floodwaters that tore through the town five months ago.
More than 140mm of rain fell in the regional NSW town on 5 June, and caused flood damage to 144 businesses.
“Fortunately for us, we didn’t have windows burst. But, a lot of other businesses did and it was their furniture floating down the street,” business owner Lee Ann Dawkins said.
She said her store, Gracious-Lee Interiors, was inundated with up to 1.2 metres of water.
Sarah, a sales assistant at The Elephant Emporium in Picton, said their business was filled with 1.8 metres of water.
“I think we all went into overdrive in that first week, and in the second week it was really sad,” she said.
Determined to continue trade, the Elephant Emporium operated from the streetside and now operates out of a temporary shop.
Gracious-Lee Interiors was re-opened just over a month after the initial flood.
“[The re-opening] was quite timely,” Mrs Dawkins said.
“[It] didn’t feel like that at the time, but I know that there’s plenty of other people, that [are still working on it] months down the track: June to, now November and they’re still closed.”
Mrs Dawkins said the continued closure of some businesses, particularly the George IV Inn, had a great impact on their trade.
“The weekends, particularly Saturday used to be generally, our best day of the week, now that can actually be one of the slowest,” she said.
But Mrs Dawkins said she was grateful for how the community rallied around them.
“The biggest thing for us, and all of the shopkeepers will say the same, is the support from the community,” she said.
Sarah who grew up in Picton and has only recently moved back, said: “I think we’re getting a bigger local trade than we’ve ever had.”
Mrs Dawkins said she was grateful for the community members who spend what they can afford, and give support – even if it’s just the time to say ‘hello’.
“They don’t realise that that is just as important to us,” she said.
The memories of the 5th of June and the days that followed are still devastating, according to Mrs Dawkins. Hear more of her experience below.