Thursday, 13 January 2011

Proud to be a Queenslander

The past two days I have been riveted to the media coverage of the havoc being wrecked on my home state and especially my beautiful home town, Toowoomba.
Only a couple of weeks ago I was hearing reports of floods sweeping through central Queensland towns like Rockhampton, Emerald. Back in the 70's we ministered at a church in the city of Gladstone just 80 miles south of Rockie so quite familiar with that larger city. Then since christmas and especially last week, the heavy rains spread south down the eastern coast and many other towns were flooded and are still isolated. I have a niece and nephew with their four month old baby who were on holidays at Hervey Bay and are still marooned there until the flooded highways are open again. They live in Brisbane but could only watch from a distance like myself as that city of well over 2 million people became inundated. Fortunately their home is not in a danger zone of the floods.
This is the town of Dalby 50 miles west of Toowoomba which is on the eastern ridge of the Great Dividing Range and over 2,000 feet above sea level. The Darling Downs slopes away from the rolling hills of Toowoomba to the black soil plains out past towns like Dalby, Chinchilla, Condamine - all badly affected by the floods.
Until I was nine, I lived on our Dad's farm near a small community called Bongeen before we moved to live in a house in Toowoomba twenty miles away. Many members of my extended Pedler family are still farming large areas on the plains that are now affected by floods. I still haven't heard all the details of losses yet, but only yesterday my brother Stan told me the cotton crops and summer grain grops are ruined, but I am so thankful they are all safe.
After living for many years on Thursday Island at the tip of Qld just south of New Guinea, Stan moved south a few months ago and is now living in a farmhouse only a few miles from family and where he has been helping out from time to time. After christmas, the water came to within a couple of inches of the floor in the two front rooms of his house and only yesterday he told me the water was again creeping back up through the trees near the house. Dalby and other towns are now flooded for the second time in a couple of weeks.

I have scheduled a post on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog which will be published just after 7pm Australian Eastern time today and 12.05 am US Pacific time. I will not repeat it all here, but do have a look at it and especially the You Tube a writer friend sent me to use of just one horrific scene in Toowoomba. In a few brief moments a small drainage area becomes a raging torrent tossing cars around. I believe it was this East Creek responsible for sweeping away the woman and her son to their death from the street just at the top of the screen.

This morning the scenes of suburb after suburb in Brisbane and Ipswich inundated is simply unbelievable. Latest news is 12 dead, 74 missing and grave fears for two whole families - 11 people. 25 helicopters are again in the air this morning but do not believe many now still to be rescued, just found.
But because of that continuing drama there, the media focus has been taken away from so many other areas facing their own flooding problems. These are spread over vast areas of Qld and also northern New South Wales and parts of Victoria.
The drama can only increase as these volumes of water out in the west make their way down the inland river systems into the Darling, then the great Murray river before they plunge into the southern Ocean many, many hundreds of miles away from the Darling Downs.

And now I have to try and get my thoughts back to other things I should be doing - besides watching the TV coverage! While it has been raining steadily here in Tasmania so many hundreds of miles from Queensland, we can only watch and pray.
I am so proud to be still a Queenslander at heart and been reared in my favourite city, Toowoomba.

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