Collie, WA – Big Map Floodwise Exercise

Disaster Relief Australia | July 2022

On Friday August 5, 2022, the DRA team had the pleasure of entering the Collie Community as part of our Project Resilience Initiative in partnership with The Minderoo Foundation.

We were able to identify The Shire of Collie as a highly vulnerable and ‘at risk’ location for potential flooding by a range of factors, a large proportion of its residents are 65 and over, there are newer residents to the area, a high indigenous population and the town is surrounded by mine sights, which effect the flow of the water when it rains. We capture this data through Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA).

Through our ADAT (Aerial Damage Assessment Technology), we drew up a ‘Big Map’ focussing on the Collie River and its surrounding township. And although the Collie River hadn’t flooded since 1964, it was important to equip Collie’s new and existing residents with resilience tools for the future.

Collie elder Joey kicked off the event at Roche Park Recreation with a reflective smoking ceremony centring on forgiveness and spirit cleansing. This led us straight into our ‘Big Map’ exercise. Adam Moss (Resilience and Recovery Specialist and National Resilience Manager) led the exercise by firstly asking the community what they knew of local evacuation routes and meeting points in case of emergency. Leonie Scoffern, a Councillor in the Shire of Collie “thought Roche Park Community Centre was our evacuation centre, today I learnt it wasn’t. the community doesn’t know where to go!”. It was then up to the likes of the SES and the Collie council to clarify some of the questions many of the community had been asking. There was a brainstorming session on where to access resources, good meeting spots and how to provide support for your fellow Collie residents. It was a great exercise in community bonding, which brought local government agencies and locals together.

Shari Bent (National Spon Vol Manager and Project Manager – Project Resilience) lead us in the last exercise which focussed on Community Assessment & Prioritisation. This gave the Collie community members the opportunity to identify what they thought their strengths and weaknesses were. They identified that they were social, cultural and had inclusive engagement, but there was much room for improvement in areas such as being economic, sustainably built and risk aware.

project resilience collie

We were well fed throughout the day by The Wagon who provided us with a delicious morning tea full of delightful goodies and Domino’s Give for Good who always deliver us a range of delicious pizzas. Duncan Wright from Fremantle was our photographer for the day who captured Collie and the event in all its glory.

For more details on Project Resilience, keep an eye on our events page.