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Staff at Queensland dinosaur museum stranded after flooding

July 26 , 2016

by Amy Mitchell-Whittington

It has been eight days that staff and volunteers have been trapped at a Queensland dinosaur museum, but don't worry, they are "happy as pigs in mud", the museum director says.

Rainfall of more than 110mm has fallen in Winton over the past week, flooding all roads leading into the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum, trapping museum director David Elliot and his wife Judy, along with a staff member and two volunteers.

"We are stuck at the museum, we can't get out and no-one else can get in but we have accommodation up here, there are two volunteers, people live here," Mr Elliot said.

"We have a staff member here, he opens up the lab and works with the volunteers in the lab, they are as happy as pigs in mud.

"You can see all the creeks coming in towards Winton, you can see they are completely flooded out, the road copped a bit of a hiding."

Mr Elliot lives in a caravan on the 1400 hectare flat-top plateau property with his wife and said they are always prepared when they know rainfall is on it's way.

"We are used to very long periods of not having mail services, food, that sort of thing, you always have big supplies," he said.

"We have a freezer full of meat, some of the volunteers are starting to run out of food but we stocked our freezers, we knew the rains were coming.

"At the end of the day we will find something to live off, we can eat dried weet-bix if we have to."

The museum is likely to remain closed for another two or three days to allow for the water to drain off the roads, which has resulted in big losses for the family business.

"We desperately need things from town to keep working and we need to get the roads open," Mr Elliot said.

"There are a lot of people who have come to Winton to see the museum, so it is disappointing for them.

"We have been shut for over three weeks for this year and when you are talking peak season in western Queensland, we only have about three to four months where we make profit and the rest of the year you run at a loss.

"We have lost over three weeks of paying customer time.

"It will give us a bit of hardship on the short term, it is a bugger but not much you can do about it it."

Mr Elliot said while in the short term the floods were bad news for his business, it helped his community in the long run.

"It's bad luck for us, but it's good for the stock and the properties, we need to get our primary industries functioning again," he said.

"People have been going broke out here for years, in the long term it is good, not for the museum but for lots of other reasons."

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Sean Fitzgerald said some parts of west Queensland received in excess of 200mm over the last seven days.

"We had a pretty significant upper low develop and it hung around for quite a few days, it dragged moisture down from north and caused rainfall over the last few days," he said.

"By the weekend it should be dry, people further north in the Gulf Country will still have a bit of moisture around but everyone else will be back to normal."



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