Queensland Floods: One Family’s Story

Monday, 10th January 2011.  A day Toowoomba will never forget.  On this day, my children and husband were at my sister’s house while I supervised the removal of the contents of our house into a truck to prepare for our move from Toowoomba to Brisbane.  Little did I know, by day’s end, the house my husband and children were at, would be flooded and I seperated from them, the contents of our house would be stuck somewhere (probably wet), my car would be almost swept from the road, I would be hampered by a landslide and isolated on the mountain. Furthermore, my sister’s home would sustain terrible damage, another sister would lose at least half a herd of cattle in Esk, another sister — would be safe — but isolated by and island of water in Fernvale and my Dad and his wife’s property, also in Fernvale, would be covered in water.  We are one family affected by the Queensland floods and there are so many worse off.

Right now I’m in limbo.  I’m helping my sister clean up the mess, I have no idea of the state of the contents of our house, we are living out of suitcases and I don’t know when we can get off the mountain — but we are safe.  There are so many Queenslanders in desperate circumstances and I feel for them. A terrible, terrible thing.

It’s interesting, the day of the disaster, I was whinging to @tinagraydotme and @leechbabe on twitter about detesting “stuff”, especially when moving house.  And now, so many Queenslanders have lost everything. Some people have lost their lives.  Stuff is just stuff. It’s nothing. My heart aches for those who have lost a loved one. A life. Irreplaceable.

I want to say thank you for your concern, and to those of you who were worried for me and my family.  I can assure you we are safe and well. Stranded but safe.

This video, just 5 minutes from our house in Toowoomba, shows how furious the water was and how fast it came up. This freak of nature is being aptly called an inland tsunami.

My husband recorded this video in the early stages of the flooding at my sister’s home.

Outside my sister’s home in the Lockyer Valley at Fernvale.

Queensland Floods Brisbane River footage in Fernvale in the lockyer valley

My Dad’s property is under water in this valley in Fernvale.

brisbane river queensland floods

Debri on my sister’s stock yards at Esk.

queensland flood esk

My sister’s backyard in Toowoomba.

Queensland floods, Toowoomba, Inland Tsunami

When I was trying to get back to my family, my phone was out of battery and I was afraid. I knew my husband would be worried and trying to ring me, to see if I was safe.  My phone had been out of battery for 4 hours.  I stared at the phone and I prayed: please God, just one phone call.  I pressed the power button it turned on.  I desperately willed my phone to hold for a few minutes — just somehow.  With shaking hands I typed in the phone number as quickly as I could and was devastated when I heard the engaged signal.  I prayed and tried again.  I was relieved to hear my sister’s panicked voice. I assured her I was okay and was comforted to hear my husband’s voice — for a moment — then the phone battery failed. After being stuck on the road for 3 hours, I joined my family in a motel — safe.  A family hug never felt so good.

We are together. Queenslanders.

Be A Fun Mum Links

Why Is There So Much Rain In Brisbane

External Links

Toowoomba swamped by deadly ‘inland tsunami’

New overland flow flood maps for Brisbane

Donate to the flood relief

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Comments

  1. says

    Terrifying Kelly, I am so thankful you guys are ok. Its heartbreaking to see the news at the moment. Praying for everybody affected by this…

  2. says

    Soo so so so so glad that you guys are safe and well! When I saw a pic of your street I was lost for words and sick with worry!

    I’m sorry that you’ve all lost things in the floods, but you’ll regain them over time *hugs* Take care, I know the worst is apparently over, but the sickness that comes from the clean up is just as saddening!

    xx

  3. says

    Praise God you are all okay! When it hit Toowoomba like that on Monday, it really hit home to me, since I know those places so well. Yesterday our suburb got evacuated and bridges went under that have never been under before. And watching the city go under is just surreal! But you are safe, and sadly, so many people are lost and others are grieving and worrying. Many prayers are still needed, but glad you are all safe.

  4. says

    I am so happy to hear you are all safe and well and OK… As OK as you all can be at the moment. Stay safe and be careful.. And if you need anything, just let me know… xoxoxo

  5. says

    Kelly, please let me know what i can do for you guys. Is there an address i can send supplies to for you? Anything.

    We are all praying for you guys, and everyone else effected.

    Much, much love,

    K x

  6. says

    Just reading your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m heartened by the stories of support and the determination of people to help each other and survive this monumental catastrophe.

    So very glad you and Matt and the kids are safe!

  7. says

    So scary to have been through all of that and so devastating to loose so much and stll face such uncertainty…. but I am so glad you are safe. Thinking of you and your family and everyone else who has been devastated by this disaster.

  8. says

    As they say here in NZ – Kia Kaha – Be Strong.

    Thinking of you and all others in the area.

    So glad you and your family are safe.

    Cyndi

  9. says

    oh my God, you are just living it! I can’t imagine what you are going through but thank goodness you have your family safe. But I can’t imagine being separated from them. I wish this hadn’t happened to you and your family and wish you strength to rebuild and get on with your lives again

    big hugs, we’re all thinking of you

    corrie:)

  10. says

    You poor things, I thought that you had moved already!
    When I was worried about Mum and you left a lovely message I never thought that you were going through the same thing. Im so sorry I didn’t ask about you and your family.

    My thoughts and love are with you
    Wxx

  11. says

    Thank you for sharing your scary story. I’m so glad you and yours are safe.

    I have a lot of family in the Chinchilla/Dalby/Toowoomba area, and have followed the story closely.

    I hope the media and general public doesn’t forget the other affected areas in the wake of Brisbane’s flooding.

    Thinking of you and your family x

  12. tanya soutar says

    Dear Kelly – what a terrible thing to happen, I am glad to read your post and hear that you and your family are safe. What an experience, thankyou for sharing your story.

    Heartbreak is all around, we can only support each other.

  13. Natalie says

    I think the whole country is in a state of shock and are devastated this has occurred. Please know, average Australians around the Country are rallying to help where we can and hope and pray you all may pull through with fierce determination coupled with the love and support from family and friends.

  14. Katie says

    So very glad you and and yours are safe, having watched many near and dear affected on black Saturday I feel the pain of Queensland. Take care, be safe and know Australia is behind you all xxx

  15. Trish says

    HI Kelly
    So very happy for your family that it had a happy outcome – sure there are losses along the way but no human loses that is the best thing to hear…

    What a drama for u all though and thank goodness u werent caught in that Toowoomba inland Tsunami. My uncle lives in Herries st and i was soooo worried he might have been caught up in it and because of miscommunication he wasnt were he was supposed to be in two instances and they both involved the disasters one in the street where that tsunami happened then he was supposed to drive a family member home to highfields and luckily he missed the land slides there too.

    I am always so grateful for u and your sisters u have each other for support and u are always there when u need each other. Glad u didnt have to face all this alone.

    Hope your house isnt too bad when u go back to check on it and also hope your new move goes well for u and your family…Hugs Trish

  16. Fiona@ oh gorgeous baby says

    I’m so glad to hear you are okay. Like you said things can be replaced people can’t. My brother will probably have his house swallowed up by water today but as long as he and his girlfriend are safe that’s all that matters. I hope all of this craziness ends soon. Take Care xx

  17. says

    Thinking of you at this difficult time Kelly. I have many friends in Toowoomba, Brisbane, and surrounding areas and am devastated by what I am witnessing. Stay safe.
    Nic.

  18. Renee says

    Thanks for sharing Kelly, we were worried about you and so sorry to hear about what you & your family have been through but so glad you are safe. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

  19. Erin says

    Kelly, I’m so glad you’re safe; I have been thinking of you and wondering how you went with the move. You’re right, stuff is just stuff. You are so lucky to be with your family.

  20. says

    I just came across your post. I will be praying for you and your loved ones. Even though we are in far off Texas my heart reaches out to you. In our small community we are in the middle of two rivers and in my life time we have had four huge floods. Mostly the water rises and then receeds in a 24 hour period. The damage is always great but in your case the water has stayed for days. Again my thoughts and prayers are with you. :) joyce PS, Yes, stuff is just stuff glad your family is safe.

  21. says

    wow I am in tears »-(¯`?´¯)-» My heart goes out to your family.You have been so terribly affected by the devastating floods in QLD. Thoughts & Prayers are with you ALL.
    I saw a few of those tweets , you could not have known the events that were to unfold (hugs).

  22. Alissa says

    So glad to hear you and our family are safe. PLEASE speak up if I can help you or your family in any way. Whilst we are high and dry here it is definately affecting our hearts.

  23. Christine Bunn says

    Kelly so glad to hear you are ok. We have had our own terrible stories my family are safe at this stage. My Mum, Dad, grandparents and uncles and aunties live in Grantham, Helidon and Gatton. Gavin’s Mum has lost her home, she lived in Ispwich and Gavin’s work is totally flooded and our investment property is in Fernvale we aren’t sure if it is flooded as we can’t get a hold of anyone. Louise my sister is in Goondiwindi and has just been evacuated. We have been housing 5 people at our place and expect to be very busy in the next couple of days. We praise God for our safety and our families safety and pray for all the families affected in this disaster. Keep safe Kelly and our prayers go out to your family. xo

  24. says

    I am so glad you made it through safely. Good luck with the move- hope its not to a flood prone suburb!

    I am in Bris, and was evacuated from work ( at Milton between the river and suncorp stadium) but thankfully made it home to be with my kids.

  25. says

    Kelly I have been thinking about you, unsure where you lived, but knew you were on the move. How terrifying that must of been for you all. I hope the kids are OK and not still frightened. My thoughts are with you and your family. Please let me know if I can do anything to help, or if I can send any clothes, toiletries, blankets, sheets to you xx

  26. Melinda says

    Thankful you’re all safe, despite the damage. So many of our close friends up there had some very close calls. Best wishes on trying to get your life started in Brisbane amongst the flood recovery there also.

  27. Caroline says

    Hi there Kelly,
    I haven’t posted on your site before but have read heaps of your posts of the last couple of months. You are very inspirational to all mums out there and have helped new mums like me in heaps of ways with your stories and tips on being a fun mum, keeping this time truely special and not to get bogged down with the mundane stresses of this new role.
    Through all the terrible things that are going on right now, it is amazing to see you are still keeping blogging and letting us know on line how you are going.
    Wow.
    I know I am not the only person on line that would like to help you in any ways possible. I am a mum too with a little 16 month old boy and our area in Brisbane was unaffected. My heart goes out to everyone who was.

    Let us know on line here specific ways people can help or things you need right now. Even if it is to ‘vent’ . You have certainly given us plenty with your site.

    Hoping to help xx

  28. says

    WOW just read this Kelly (linked from newsletter) – how scary for you! Yes you certainly have had a rollercoaster year!
    On to 2012! What will it bring I wonder?

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