Mary MacKillop’s sisters share Kimberley flood devastation


Flood damaged Warnum Arts Centre
The flood damaged Warmun Arts Centre, which lost its entire collection.
Three Sisters of St Joseph are amongst 500 residents of the remote Kimberley community of Warmun in WA who have been evacuated after being devastated by floods last weekend, leading to the loss of one of Australia’s most significant indigenous art collections.

Sisters Therese Morrelini, Kathleen McSweeny and Mary MacDonald carry out pastoral work in the Warmun, 200km south of Kununurra. 

Warmun received 130mm of rain in just 24 hours last weekend. 

The downpour turned Turkey Creek, which runs through the centre of the town, into a raging torrent.

WA Provincial of the Sisters of St Joseph, Sr Pauline Morgan, said the Sisters based in Warmun have reported devastation throughout the community, with residents still in shock.

Warmun, which is internationally renowned for its contemporary indigenous art, lost the vast majority of its collection when the Arts Centre was dislodged from its foundations by floodwaters.

“The Arts Centre, with its entire collection of incredibly beautiful works, simply floated away,” Sr Pauline said.

“The Early Learning Centre was also destroyed. This is an indescribable loss for Warmun and its people.”

Residents of Warmun could only watch as flood water from Turkey Creek rushed through the community, carrying several buildings and cars with it. Many family pets were also lost during the flooding.

The flood has caused the loss of electricity to the community, with numerous homes and the school being severely damaged by water and mud inundation.

During the flooding on Sunday, the 500 residents of Warmun moved across the highway to nearby Mirrilingki Centre, a community facility operated by the Catholic Diocese of Broome.

“The managers at Mirrilingki were so welcoming towards the hundreds of people who needed shelter, even though the sudden influx of so many displaced people put a severe strain on facilities,” Sr Pauline said.

“We are just very grateful that there was no serious injury or loss of life during the flood.”

For information about how you can help the people of Warmun, contact the Sisters of St Joseph Perth on 08 9334 0917.

Visit the Sisters of St Joseph


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