Locals gathered today for the launch of four videos that record 11 Macleay Valley resident's memories of the 1949 flood that devastated Kempsey and surrounding areas.
The flood reached 8.52 metres at the Kempsey gauge, drowned more than 15,000 head of livestock, killed six people and washed away 53 homes and businesses.
Locals who remembered the flood were invited to share their stories at the Kempsey SES Headquarters in June which were then used to create the videos.
"We wanted to record these memories before it was too late," community capability officer for SES Mid North Coast Steve Lawrence said.
"There was a great deal of personal courage to come forward and tell these stories."
NSW SES Kempsey Unit Media Officer Greg Gill said the response from the community towards the making of the videos was incredible.
"When we first put the call out I thought if we got three or four people it would be great, but to have 11 people interested in doing this is just amazing. I was gobsmacked," he said.
"These memories needed to be captured before we lost it."
The videos include an array of fascinating and vivid stories about preparation, warnings, rescues, lucky escapes, massive damage and clean ups from locals Fay Wicks, Robert Ainsworth, Neville Campbell, Peter Scott, Gwen Crawford, Joy Winterburn, Shirley Kelly, George Ptolemy, Hazel Budden, Peter Clarke and Hellen Roots.
Robert Ainsworth watched the viaduct give way under the pressure of water and debris that had built up.
"The viaduct gave away and I watched it. I can still see it, it's very vivid. I was lucky to see it, I didn't want to," he said in the video.
The incredible recollections of the people who experienced the flood 70 years ago have been preserved for future locals to learn from.
"We would really like to thank the locals who came forwarded and were interviewed for the videos, it's just amazing to get these stories recorded," Mr Gill said.
The SES is also holding a historic photo exhibition of the flood at the old Barsbys building in Smith St. The exhibition is open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12pm on Saturday, it will close on Saturday August 31.
Locals can view the four videos on the NSW SES Macleay Valley Facebook Page.
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