Gert Marais recalls 1975 Newcastle flood

A glimpse of the floods which occurred in 1975.

PIONEER PARK – Now residing at La Bri Retirement Village, 78-year-old Gert Marais has been living in Newcastle for 50 years.

Mr Marais has witnessed many floods during his time, but the one he remembers the best, occurred in 1975.

“I was working at Eskom in Ngagane at the time. We could not get into town because all the roads were underwater.”

Mr Marais said the flood was the worst of its kind to hit Newcastle.

Alerting family in Kilbarchan, Mr Marais remembered asking them for food supplies, which had to be delivered to him by boat.

“They made a plan to go to town just so we could have food to eat. We were stuck there.”

The flood lasted four to five days, and the damage it left in its wake took years to overcome.

Four decades later, Mr Marais still remembers most of the CBD, from Hardwick Street through to Amiel Park and parts of Kilbarchan, as well as low-lying areas such as Paradise, were flooded.

Browsing through his personal copy of the Newcastle Advertiser published in 1975, Mr Marais keeps the tragic floods close to his heart.

“My children asked if they could have the copy of the paper and I simply refused,” he joked.

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