Thursday, February 9, 2012

Volunteers and the army descend on Mitchell Qld

Teams of volunteers (as well as the army) have descended on Mitchell. Yesterday a fire brigade team from 'away' arrived in a big fire truck, and using their high-pressure hoses cleaned our chairs, tables and office furniture, and then cleaned the cement under the bull-nosed verandah. After the fire brigade had visited, a firm of solar experts stopped to check our metre box which had suffered some damage. After 10 minutes or so they fixed the problem. So now our solar panels will be working and building up credit. And all with a smile!

Insurance assessors are in Mitchell and will visit today. Fortunately our house and contents are insured, but not enough to cover everything. We'll have a gap to fill. Time will tell what we decide we can do and afford. Both of us want to come back to Mitchell. That is certain.

Aside from people's houses (over 80 per cent have been badly damaged), businesses, public buildings, roads and the bridge have also suffered bad damage.

Prior to the flood, our view looked over a bitumen road to the river, which was hidden from sight by a dense corridor of vegetation. Most of this has been swept away. All that's left are a few of the larger doolans and river red gums.

Yesterday Rod and Doug pulled our caravan out as the shed and began cleaning it. Water went up to the beds. The caravan will never be roadworthy again and is so damaged it can't even be used as somewhere for us to stay while we sort out our affairs in Mitchell. This is a big disappointment, as Doug built the caravan.

Phil and Donna, who own and run the Mitchell Post Office, have been generous in giving Doug bed a sleep in and meals to sustain him -- along with advice, support and their excellent sense of humour.

Angie gave Doug her car to use while he's in Mitchell, and has provided meals, advice and support as well. Rod's assistance with the caravan was appreciated too.

Here on Phillip Island, I feel grateful that I'm living in a safe, clean environment, yet I feel incredibly frustrated that I'm not in Mitchell helping Doug in flood-damaged Mitchell. Also, I'd like to be able to offer support and assistance to other people in need. I have to accept, however, that for health reasons I can't be in Mitchell at this point in time.

It's amazing the things that have survived. The smallest of our lemon scented gums was bent over double with the force of the water and debris. Today it unfolded itself and Doug says it looks great. While other trees have died, our three lemon scented gums (that we grew from seed) look to have benefited.

Finally, an update about John and his horse Honey. When the Maranoa River burst its banks and began to threaten the town of Mitchell, John was told to evacuate. He said, "If Honey can't go, I'm not going either. I don't care what happens I'm not leaving Honey and that's final."

So John spent the night sitting on the back steps of his house with Honey alongside while the water rose rapidly right up to the top step. Apparently Honey couldn't climb up the steps and into the safety of the house because she's a very old horse. John is in his 80s. I'm touched by this story, knowing that John would risk his life for Honey. Thankfully both man and horse are safe.

I've included another photo of Honey and John; and also one of Doug, Rob and Charlie sitting on our front fence prior to the flood. The river went right over this fence and knocked it over.


  1. Hi Robin
    I've found your blog by accident while doing family history research. I was thinking how we have so much in common and now have read that you are on Phillip Is for health reasons and I know how you feel. I suffer from chronic illness after being sprayed with pesticide in an army house and also became allergic to lots of chemicals but also having a few heart problems now. We also have a caravan and love travelling (last trip was to Mitchell) and last but probably most importantly I also have a close affinity with Mitchell and wish I could be there helping. I lived in the teachers flats in Rugby St in the 70s, my husband was born and bred in Mitchell. I noticed in another blog you are in the Marimba band. Our cousin Joy was talking about it when we were out there in October. We will try to get back there soon but currently I'm nursing an infected finger and should be helping my husband deal with our overgrown lawn and gardens near Gympie and also have weekly babysitting commitments in Brisbane for a little while until our daughter gives up work to have baby no 3. Good luck with the cleanup and hopefully the wonderful friendships that Mitchell is known for will help everyone through this ordeal.

  2. There's a chance you qualify for a new solar energy program.
    Determine if you are eligble now!