…..nor ever wish to repeat. (Warning long post and no pictures)
Dear blog readers, I’m sitting here at my computer, wondering if I should blog or not. I’ll see how I go.
This week, the place where I lived experienced what has been described as one of Australias worst natural disasters. A wall of water, 8 meters in places, has ripped it’s way through the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, Australia. I live in the Lockyer Valley.
It has been raining here for weeks, starting before Christmas, and everytime it looked like the roads would be cut off, I always left my home and headed up to a farm in a nearby valley, to stay with my boyfriend. My main reason for doing this is, I live by myself and I didn’t want to be stranded alone. By the 4 January, many parts of the surrounding valleys had experienced heavy flooding with extensive damage to roads. The last creek crossing into the farm had been washed away, and by now I had been use to carrying supplies/clothes across the creek through the waters and walking the rest of the way up to the house.
Sunday 9 Jan, I came home for a few hours, but the rain was coming in hard again. I had to leave, again. My course of travel took me through a small hamlet Grantham. It was constantly flooding, and I wanted to get through before it was too late and I was cut off. I made it to the farm only to find the creek at the last crossing very swollen, but still fordable. 15 minutes later and I would have been too late. By now most of the state of Queensland is under flood.
At the farm I settle in, to wait out what we believe to be the biggest rain to come our way yet. Monday, I’m doing my best to keep myself busy, wondering when the rain will stop enough for me go home again. Monday night we sit down to watch the news, and what we saw stunned us. Toowoomba, 30 mins drive west of us up on the range, had a flash flood unlike anything we’d seen before. Worse yet, the town of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley, had been destroyed by a raging torrent of water charging it’s way down from the range. Scenes of people scrambling to get onto their roofs (sp?), houses lifting off their stumps and floating around in the swirling waters, cars getting tossed about. And reports of lives perished. It was unimaginable. My house is situated on the bank of the creek between Toowoomba and Grantham. I was very worried about my home, but even that worry paled into significance to the horrors of what was happening in the town 5kms from where I live.
Monday 11 Jan, it is still raining and raining more than ever. Mid morning, we turn everything off and basically bunker down. A short time later we hear one of the dogs in distress, and find water up to his kennel. A meter of water is running past the house and looking beyond we see the creek, a size that my boyfriend has never seen or heard before. He has lived here since he was born, and his father before. We could see the top of the dam (the size of a football field) rising and falling 50 cm every 15 mins. The water was coming down the hills so fast opening up land slips. We called anyone we knew who lived in a low place further down our valley to ‘just get out of there’, ‘don’t go back to your homes’. The news of the day before, and now this rain had us very concerned. The previously unimaginable was now possible. We made plans to run for the hills with food to last for a few day, if need be. Fortunately, that senario didn’t eventuate, but one word from Bryan and I was ready to run like I’d never run before. It was a very tense day, and we hardly spoke for fear, all day. Eventually the rain eased off a bit.
Wednesday 12 Jan. Sunshine! It was a tiny break but it was sunshine none the less. A nieghbouring farmer came to check on us, and I was so relieved to see someone else after three days. He told us our car was still on the other side of the creek safe and sound. We were certain it had washed away. Joy! We went down to check on the car and saw Byran’s sons walking down the road towards us. More joy! News was my house was safe. Amazing! Of course I wanted to go and see it, so we set out. Grantham of course was shutdown, so we had to take a much longer diversional route. My home was intact, like nothing unusualy had happen. But a mere 30 m across the road was devastation. Farms were ruined, sheds and machinery wrecked. Miraculously all the homes were safe. As glad as I was that my home was safe, I didn’t want to stay too long. It was hard to see the destruction. And always in my mind is knowing that 5km down the road was a town and people suffering trauma I could not begin to imagine.
After several more days I decided it was time to come back home and stay. I needed some normalcy. My mother came out today with a care package ( we are now facing a possible food shortage) and my teenage children in tow. I was so happy to see them. I took them for a little tour down the street to give them a glimpse of the now changed Lockyer Valley. It’s hard to look at and comprehend it all. Compared to many, I escaped the disaster that swept past my home, both visually and physically. Others were not so lucky and will be haunted for a long time.
The waters eventually made their way down to Ipswich and Brisbane, flooding those cities. And we remember, by now many other parts of Australia are also flooded due to the wide spread rain. So many people hurting, in a lot of different ways, but hurting just the same. As for me, I’m safe and well. And this blog? Card making is the last thing on my mind right now. We’ll see what happens down the track.
If you read all the way to this end, I thank you for bearing with me as I unload. There are many aspects that I chose not to mention because it’s painful and just plain hard to put words to. This is just my small story. Looking forward to brighter days.