The West

Flood led to great loss, pain for wife
Rebecca and Paull Burt at home on Brick House Station. 2011 file picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Looking out over newly constructed flood levees that run along her property, Rebecca Burt sums up the past three and a half years as "bloody hard".

The Gascoyne River flood crushed many spirits, and for her husband Paull the weight was too much to bear.

Last October, Mr Burt took his own life after struggling with depression, which his wife says was exacerbated in part by the devastating impact of the flood.

"There's a lot of contributing factors, but the flood didn't help," Mrs Burt said.

"Your business is wiped out from underneath you.

"Our whole place was covered in water. You're looking at fences, livestock, roads, paddocks - everything is affected and insurance doesn't cover it."

Mr Burt, who would have turned 60 today, had planned to sell the 226,000ha Brickhouse Station because of government bureaucracy.

His widow is still hoping to sell and move away with the couple's two sons, Matthew, 10, and Francis, 13.

"It's too big a property for a young woman in the middle of nowhere, without your soul mate and your best friend," Mrs Burt said.

"It's not a fair game any more. We want the Government to buy us out."


Carnarvon's flood levees have been built mostly on Brickhouse land. Mrs Burt said while she could see the "bigger picture", she was disappointed not to be compensated by the Government.

She spoke about her husband's death in the hope that those suffering from depression would seek help.

"Suicide needs to be talked about. Depression is a horrible thing, the strongest people can have it," she said.

Mrs Burt said she would remember her husband as a "true gentleman and a beautiful man".

She hopes to move to the South West if someone buys Brickhouse. "I've got some great people around me here and I'll miss the red dirt, the climate and the open spaces, but it's time for a clean slate," Mrs Burt said.

If you or anyone you know is thinking of suicide, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The West Australian

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