State of Rainbow Creek – Australian Micronation
The self-governing country of Rainbow Creek was an Australian micronation which was active during the 1970s and 80s and was founded due to the result of a long running compensation dispute between the Victorian farmers in the town of Cowwarr and an agency of the Victorian state government, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission – SRWSC. It was intended to publicize their cause to the wider community.
Cowwarr is situated on the Thomson River in the Victorian Alp and is sited downstream of the heavily forested country. During winter, flood season infrastructure in the area was prone to damage by the large volume of bush land debris that got washed downstream.
A road bridge which was built in the late 1930s over the Thomson River at Cowwarr was too near the annual flood high water mark and when the structure proved to be an impediment to the flow of debris during a particular violent flood in the year 1952, the river carved a new course for itself around the edge of the bridge and this breakaway which was later named Rainbow Creek was passed through a number of privately owned farming properties.
SRWSC Constructed a Weir Across the River
Remedies for this seems ineffective and the creek got enlarged by subsequent flooding which reached the size of several football field at the cost of the farmers’’ affected lands. Making the best of a bad situation, the farmer started using the water from the creek to irrigate their properties with the local and state authorities responding by serving levies for the use of water.
Those who were affected had to pay a set of levies to the local council for land which was presently underwater since their title deeds did not indicate the existence of the creek, while the second levy to the SRWSC was paid for using creek waters for irrigation purpose and the third levy was to the Thomson River Improvement Trust which was supposed to prevent further erosion by the creek which continued to grow inexorably with every new flood.Then in 1954, SRWSC constructed a weir across the river downstream of the bridge that had an effect of funnelling higher volumes of floodwater directly into the Rainbow Creek.
Yammacoona – Worst Affected Properties
Towards the late 1970s, the the micronation was 8 meters deep and more than 50 meters wide and the farmers had to privately provide finance for the constructions of bridges to cross over from one side of their properties to the other which were all washed including their crops, stock as well as their equipment by a particular severe flood in 1978.
The farmers of Cowwarr blamed the government for its incompetence for over three decades for their plight, but they were denied the right to claim compensation for the loss of their land, productivity as well as private infrastructure, they decided to take further action in 1978. Yammacoona was one of the worst affected properties which was located directly below the weir and was owned since 1970, by Thomas Barnes who was a retired UK and Victorian police officer and had settled in the town. He was known to be of feisty temperament with less patience for the slow turning wheels of the government bureaucracy and hada flair for publicity.