Time is moving on since the Queensland Floods of 2011. The last 15 months or so has seen many homes rebuilt, people are moving back into their homes and resuming their lives. Sadly, some people are still battling insurance companies and red tape to rebuild and recover. Just as in previous floods, the emotional scars will be deep and be long lasting.

Was there a silver lining from the Brisbane flood of 2011? The “Mud Army” that mobilised and helped clean up our city was awe inspiring. I remember there was much discussion in the press and radio about the spirit of Brisbane people, especially the young. Like many others, our family got involved and helped as much as we could, seeing my son shovel mud till he was exhausted will remain a permanent memory for me.

Being surrounded by the mud, the stench and a families destroyed possessions and memories was heartbreaking. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be the home owner, the family, the loved one whose normal life was turned upside down and covered in mud. I can’t imagine the resilience needed to battle continuously for the most basic needs, to fight to have claims paid, to have the energy to rebuild.

One of the things I did to help out was to rescue precious photos from the mud. It was ironic really, Sal and Pat had a band of helpers cleaning up their house. Along with other random volunteers, an accountant was helping Sal sort wet financial documents, a food writer was co-ordinating feeding all the workers and me a photographer was salvaging precious photos. I found some clothes line, pegs and big buckets and set up a print washing and drying process.

You can never underestimate the value of photos, they are our memories and our history. Sal commented on our blog recently…

Hi John,

These images are so amazing…even a year and a half after the flood I am so choked up with emotion. The people that helped us that we knew and now looking at your pics again – the many that we didn’t. My photos are high and dry now – 10 meters above ground level and I love flicking through them regularly. As we have moved so much over the last year they have sat constantly beside my bed.
Thank you from us for preserving our past. sal

Sal and Pat, it’s great news that things are moving forward for you now as you rebuild, I am so happy I was able to help save the photos I could for you. All the very best to you both. John.