Hawkesbury Mayor Conolly thankful for those lending a hand

Hawkesbury Mayor Patrick Conolly. This image is a still from a video address to residents posted earlier today by the mayor on social media.
Hawkesbury Mayor Patrick Conolly. This image is a still from a video address to residents posted earlier today by the mayor on social media.

While he has been fully aware of the potential for major flooding in his Hawkesbury, for mayor Patrick Conolly this is the first time he's truly experienced it.

"I was born in 1990, so I haven't seen these floods before," he said, earlier this afternoon, reflecting on the previous 48 hours.

"There's a whole generation of people, and those who have moved in in that time and there's not the awareness and the reality is a lot more shocking than we thought."

Councillor Conolly has been extremely busy since the reality of the situation became apparent.

Yesterday, he was in the frontline with the Rapid Relief Team in Windsor, filling sandbags, and today, he's keen to remind residents that despite conditions not being as rough as anticipated, there is still a long way to go.

"My message at the moment is to not get complacent ... keep watching the SES sites," he said. "It's still a dangerous and significant event and it's impacted a lot of people's houses and has the potential to impact a lot more depending on where the final level gets to.

"It's been a rough couple of days and there is a lot of anxiety in the community for people who haven't been through this before. People are quite worried and I understand that.

"I think we've just got to all pull together. Look out for the people around you and keep and eye on those official pages to make sure you get the right information."

Cr Conolly offered high praise for the emergency crews working in the region.

"We rely so heavily on the SES and the other agencies that are working with them - because I know that in some places the RFS are helping the SES volunteers - they are keeping us safe, they've already done a heap of rescues and they'll be there around the clock over and over again for the next few days and it's huge. We couldn't do without that."

Cr Conolly also commended the other volunteers giving of themselves.

"I've been spending a lot of time with the Rapid Relief Team in Windsor [McQuade Park] doing sandbags ... those guys are just working so hard, standing around in the rain shovelling up sand into bags over and over again," he said. "They've been there all night basically. We got there and set up at about 5.30pm last night and they were there until 2.30am and they came again in the morning, so a big thank you to them.

"Anglicare and the Red Cross at the evacuation centre have been doing an amazing job. You just see so many things out and about. I heard yesterday that the North Richmond Community Centre had more people there than they intended to and they just had people pulling out all the stops.

"[Councillor] Sarah Richards spent the day over there and she was able to get in touch with Merroo [Christian Centre at Kurrajong] and was able to get them to open up and then she was able to arrange transport ... it's very much the Hawkesbury way, but we can take it for granted, so it's good to acknowledge all that work that is happening."

* RMS Live Traffic: www.livetraffic.com

* Latest River Heights and Rainfall Observations: www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/greatersydney.shtml

* Latest NSW Warnings: www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/

* Rainfall Forecasts: www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/

* BOM NSW Twitter: www.twitter.com/BOM_NSW