Memories of the 1974 QLD Floods – will 2011 be worse?

A little off topic with today’s post. Watching the devastating flooding in Queensland from the safety of my hill top NSW home takes me back to the 1974 floods – I was 10, and living in Redbank Plains, near Goodna in Queensland. Being a child at the time it was all a bit of an adventure even though our home wasn’t under water. We had no electricity for a lengthy period and the rain seemed never ending.

The Goodna shopping centre was under water and many residents had been evacuated from homes along the Brisbane River. They were sheltering in the Catholic School and local families were asked to provide accommodation if they could. We had a married couple and their dog stay for a couple until the water subsided. (It’s funny what kids remember – I clearly recall the dog’s name, Yogi, but not the couple!)

As there was no electricity to cook with, my father and the male guest set up an old 44 Gallon drum and put the metal rack from our outdoor brick BBQ over the top of it and our improvised BBQ was placed under the open garage roller door as the rain kept pouring down.

One store in Goodna that wasn’t under water was a small grocery/corner store called “Gabriel’s”, which from memory was a little way up Queen Street, just a little out of the reach of the water when the street began to incline. What a queue there was at Gabriel’s store! The chap who ran the store was rather busy – and of course, without electricity, the cash register wasn’t working, so he was adding up purchases using a pencil and butcher’s paper. Supplies were very limited.

It was all a lot of fun for a kid, but not so for the couple who stayed with us. Their two-storey home was well and truly under water. When the water subsided, the bottom storey of the home was full of mud, and the smell was putrid through the entire area. Everything was ruined or lost including their much loved collection of tropical fish. A nearby neighbour had left his pigeons locked in the garage when he evacuated, and they had drowned in the garage.

Good luck residents of Goodna and other suburbs along the Brisbane River – time to break out the kero lamps and tinned food. And if anyone whose home is underwater needs accommodation and fancies a temporary move to higher and dryer ground in Castle Hill NSW, we have a spare room!

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