Monday, 17 January 2011

It's been a very long week

For a while we didn't know whether Missy's Garden would survive or not. All we could do was wait and see. The water was rising. Our block is fairly high but it is also fairly close to the river.
 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.


  1. This is really bad. I'm glad your place is not going through the after math you mentioned. I read in leavesnbloom that they experienced landslide and food shortage. I hope you both have seen the worst and may the weather be gentler in the days to come.

  2. I was one of those who were glued to their TV set watching it all unfold. I was thinking about you the whole time, but wasn't sure which suburb you lived in. So glad to hear you and your property are fine.

    It's just amazing how destructive the waters were ... awesome power! Luckily they didn't peak quite as high as expected ... well I guess you could call that lucky. Still devastating for so many.

    Fortunately all my family down there ... in Toowoomba, Gympie and Brisbane ... came through it all safe and sound.

  3. MIssy I'm so glad your home escaped, and that you are all okay. I hadn't realised you were in such a vulnerable area. The photo of the house roof is just heartbreaking, I cannot imagine how that would feel if it were your own... several people at my work were affected, one man lives on a boat on the river at dockside, he had a very harrowing tale of his yacht spinning 360 degrees in the middle of the Brisbane River. While he was on it.

    He said the friend helping him with the boat still has a white face today.

    Your frog is lovely :)

  4. I hope your garden dries out soon and you never have to go through a week like that again!

  5. Missy, so glad to know your home escaped the floods and your family is alright. I think the entire world was watching what was happening there, the scale of flooding is phenomenal.

    We've been in touch with a few friends also living in that area and forunately they are ok too.

    Thanks for sharing these photos. I hope such catastrophe never happens again.

  6. Missy, I am so glad you are alright! It must have indeed been very strange to have been 'in' it but also cut off from it. It seemed very surreal from down here. I do not have a TB but followed the events closely on the radio, newspapers and computer. xxxooo

  7. I am so very glad you are all ok!! My husband and I have been checking your blog for updates just as proof that you were alright. The news reports were horrible to watch - too much sadness and destruction. I hope the rest of your summer is mild and easy!! :o)

  8. Oh, my, that is such a tragic happening! What a sight that flood-drowned home is. Glad to hear you escaped the worst of it.

  9. Missy,
    I never realised you were so close to the floods. so glad you are OK. Lack of contact with the outside world must be the hardest thing. It is wonderful to see the aussie spirit rise up and how everyone has pitched in. we watched the amazing turnaround of the farmers market in two days!

  10. I can't even imagine what you have been through this week. Glad everything is okay with you and your family.

  11. Missy, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the flood. How terrifying for you! I'm so glad you were spared the devastation and hope the weather takes a turn for the better very soon. Take care.

  12. So bad to hear about it. But glad to hear you and your family are ok

  13. So glad you are all OK! It must have been quite stressful! Best wishes from London. xx

  14. I am pleased that your place is not through the after you mentioned. I read in Leavenworth they suffered landslides and lack of food. I hope you both have seen the worst and the weather can be milder in the coming days


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