REAL LIFE

A sinkhole took our yard

What started out like any other day for Lynn, soon turned into a disaster
Lynn McKay

Lynn McKay, 74, Basin Pocket, Qld

Hearing a knock at the door, I opened it to see my neighbour.

‘You’ve got a huge hole in your backyard,’ he warned me. What on earth…? It had been perfectly fine when I went to bed!

Rushing out, my husband Ray, 78, and I saw a giant sinkhole. Staring down into the pool of swirling water and debris, the pit was as wide as a car and the ground was disappearing before our eyes! Panicked, I headed back inside to call the local council. 

The sinkhole (Credit: Lynn McKay)

A few hours later, our mayor, Paul Pisasale arrived with a team of engineers. By then, the sinkhole had tripled in size! ‘It looks like this was caused by an old mine shaft,’ they said. ‘It could be over 100 years old.’

 
Unsure how much bigger it’d get, we were evacuated and put up in a hotel. We only had time to grab a few clothes.

Just five years earlier, we’d lost everything in the Brisbane floods. My mind whirled. Would we have to start from scratch again?

… the ground was disappearing before our eyes!

Returning the next day to check, we were astonished at how much of our yard had vanished, including some of Ray’s beloved garden. The hole was now 15 metres wide and creeping closer towards my clothesline! It was also believed to be 100 metres deep!

Thankfully, the water was pumped out later that day. The pit was excavated, then filled with soil and a special sheeting to prevent the ground from collapsing again.

The pit was excavated (Credit: Lynn McKay)

After three nights away, we were given the all-clear to return home. We also got T-shirts saying ‘I survived the sinkhole’.

 
Since then, new grass has been laid down and Ray’s plants have been replaced. But I’ll never forget the day a sinkhole swallowed our backyard!

Related stories