Community members gathered today to remember the six lives lost during the 1949 Kempsey flood.
The commemorative service remembered Patrick Connelly (71) and Margaret Connelly (72) who lived in Eden St, Leslie John Baker (9) and Julie Baker (2) from Belgrave St, William Hugginson (78) a resident of Verge St and James Plummer (13) from Clybucca.
The service was conducted by NSW SES Chaplain Brian Ford at the flood marker in Clyde St Mall.
"The grief of 70 years has been brought to the forefront," Reverend Ford said.
"On the 27th of August 1949, the lives of Macleay residents were changed forever. And we're here today to remember the impact the floods had on the community of Kempsey."
Related content: Kempsey SES launch videos for the 70th anniversary of the 1949 flood
Mayor Liz Campbell attended the service and said this is the time to reflect.
"As we come together to reflect today, it's important that we remember the six lives that were lost 70 years ago," mayor Campbell said.
"The absolute destruction to homes and businesses in Kempsey because of the flood, many people were homeless and in shock."
One member of the public in attendance, Joy Gosling, is the sister of Leslie John and Julie Baker who were tragically killed during the flood.
"It's very important to have a commemorative service like this to remember the victims, it's also an opportunity for younger generations to reflect and learn about the 1949 flood," she said.
"It's special for relatives to have the plaque here because there were never any graves to visit."
Joy never met her brother and sister, she was born four years after the flood.
"I understand that our house was where the netball courts are on Belgrave St, it was washed away with the water.
"I really want to acknowledge the Kempsey SES for the plaque and videos they've made so that the stories aren't forgotten."
The 1949 flood reached 8.52 metres at the Kempsey gauge, drowned more than 15,000 head of livestock and washed away 53 homes and businesses, with many more properties and buildings severely damaged.
NSW SES Kempsey Unit Media Officer Greg Gill said the service is an important event for Kempsey.
"It's important for the community to recognise the people who lost their lives and the heroics of the rescuers," he said.
"To have people here who remember the flood is also important, and to honour the six people who lost their lives."
Greg was also presented with a framed gift from the NSW SES in honour of his late wife May Gill and her service to the community and the NSW SES.
The SES is also holding a historic photo exhibition of the 1949 flood at the old Barsby's 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.
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