A former resident of Testers Hollow has come forward with memories of his time living in the flood-prone area.
Leyland Rix, now of Lower Belford, lived on the hill leading into Gillieston Heights from four to 12 years of age (in the late 1940s and early 1950s).
The house was known as Glen Avon and Mr Rix lived there with his father Arthur Rix, grandfather William Rix and great-grandfather Herbert Davies.
Mr Rix, now 75, said his father was one of the few people who had a ute in the post-World War II era because he was a serviceman.
His father would drive the vehicle down and park it on the Kurri side of Testers Hollow when it would begin to rain but before the hollow flooded.
“The purpose was if we needed supplies we’d get in a boat and he’d pull us across,” Mr Rix said.
“He couldn’t swim a stroke yet he used to pull us across in water up to his shoulders.”
Mr Rix remembers at least three times in the eight or so years he lived there that he, his grandfather and great-grandfather would jump in the boat for his father to pull them across and then they would all get in the car and head into Kurri or Cessnock for supplies.
The origin of the boat remains a mystery to Mr Rix, but he believes others would also use it to get across Testers Hollow.
“I don’t know where he even got the boat,” he said. “But I don’t think we had exclusive access.”
Mr Rix said the flood in 1949 was a particularly bad one, but that rain didn’t need to be torrential to flood the hollow.
“It only had to back up a bit and it was over the road,” he said.
“Many a time I remember the road being cut.”