Karalee is in a deep U shaped bend of the Brisbane River near where the Bremer River joins. Both rivers were predicted to break their banks.
We had seen what the floods had already done to many parts of Queensland. Now we were awaiting our turn.
A neighbour's flagpole said it all.
Last Monday Toowoomba experienced a flash flood which the media described as an inland tsunami. Cars were picked up and hurtled down the main street by the force of the water. Toowoomba is an hour drive from us and is built on the top of a mountain, but it is built in the shallow crater of an extinct volcano so the water rushed down towards its centre. Then we heard about the small towns at the foot of the mountain (a half hour drive from home). Whole towns had been destroyed by a torrent of water that rushed down the mountainside. It was on television that night - people dead and missing, houses ripped off their foundations and crushed by the force of the water.
I went to work as usual Tuesday morning. I knew a flood was coming but at that time there was really no reason to stay home. When I got to work they were planning to evacuate the building. It is also near the river and would most likely be inundated. Getting home took two and a half hours driving in pouring rain along with thousands of others also heading home to prepare for what lay ahead.
The police had door knocked our area to let everyone know the local school was the evacuation point and for our street, if it continued to rain overnight, we should prepare to leave. Power was turned off to the entire area in readiness. Water and electricity don't mix well. So we sat in the dark and waited to see how high the water would come.
Wednesday morning we woke to the sound of rushing water. There was no other sound - no cars, no rain, no refrigerator motor, not even any birds.
The water had risen to within a few meters of our street.
I took this from our front door.
John walked down every half hour or so to check how far it has risen each time. We were very fortunate. Our house and yard remained dry. It didn't get much higher than the photo shows.
We went for a drive to see how bad things were. We couldn't get very far. The road was cut just past the school (about 2 kms away). We tried a couple of back streets to see if we could bypass the water. They were even worse.
If you look closer you'll see how deep the water was.
Many people lost their homes and all of their possessions. There were many homes submerged like this one.
Quite a few families stayed at the local school. Some had caravans to stay in but most camped on stretchers in the hall. (They are still there and may be for quite a while.)
We were cut off for 3 days, without a phone for a couple of days and without electricity for just over 5 days. Other than that we had no damage. We were so fortunate.
We spent the time gardening, reading, talking to neighbours and trying to think of creative ways to use the food we had.
John took pictures of the helicopters flying overhead.
I took pictures of frogs.
Something I found quite strange - Before all of this we had seen non-stop television coverage of the floods but when it was actually happening to us - no TV, no computer. We knew in the outside world people would be watching the floods on TV or checking any number of flood update sites. We talked to each other. Occasionally we sat in the car and turned the radio on to listen to the news.
Neighbours walking by would tell about what happened to them or of a phone call from someone with news.
By the time the flood abated and we were able to leave Karalee the crisis was over and Brisbane was in clean-up mode. An army of volunteers (sixty thousand they said) were helping remove mud from homes and businesses all over the city. On television it wasn't quite as if nothing had happened, but the flood was yesterday's news. The "aftermath" is today's news.