Mateship Shines As Queenslanders Help Each Other Through Disaster
As residents fled flood-ravaged towns in Queensland with just the clothes on their back, one family headed to the river wreckage to rescue their neighbours' treasured belongings.
Lisa Brereton and her daughter Chelsea Hawke have spent the last few days sorting through piles of rubbish to find the personal items of locals from Bluewater, feared lost in flood waters.
"We had to wait till it was safe enough for us to venture down there," Lisa told 10 daily.
Residents in multiple towns including Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and Townsville have received emergency warnings due to unprecedented flooding.
They've found everything from chairs to tables and lawn mowers, but Lisa said they were most excited to find people's important personal belongings, including treasured family photos and personal records.
"We have since re-homed some of those," Lisa said, after reaching out to owners over the phone or through Facebook.
Aside from personal photos and household items, Lisa and Chelsea also helped rescue a neighbour's horses which were found floating in the water.
It's just one of the incredible stories of mateship coming out of another devastating natural disaster for the region, and a one-in-100 year drenching.
From lost shipping containers floating down the street to lost chickens and even horses, North Queenslanders have been finding all sorts of unusual items washed up in their backyards.
But we can't go past a cow named Sparkle.
"We have just rescued a young cow from the ocean near the mouth of Bluewater Creek," a resident posted on a local Facebook group with a photo of a black and white cow which had been dragged out to sea on Thursday.
In a matter of hours, Sparkle's owners had been found -- she was one of nine cows belonging to Lizzie Emslie's family which were also swept away by the flood waters.
"I just said to my husband 'oh my god she's alive'," Emslie told 10 daily of the moment she said saw the post on Facebook.
"It's absolutely phenomenal the distance that she travelled, it blew me away."
A 10-week-old puppy named Stella was found clinging to a fence by one paw last week in flood waters, and was rescued just in time.
Dozens of other animals have also been rescued and owners of washed-away shipping containers have been identified. Offers to rehouse animals, give away much-needed bedding and kitchen supplies, and help clear deluge from homes have been pouring in on social media, as residents beg for help and offer assistance where they can.
Another group, NQ- Community Support, has also been offering to deliver sandbags to people battling to protect their homes, as the weather begins to slowly move south and bring relief to the battered region.
At an emergency briefing on Sunday, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged communities to continue working together.
"Queenslanders are used to dealing with natural disasters, we have had so many over a short period of time," Palaszczuk said.
Her words echoed a similar sentiment she shared just months ago when Central Queensland battled some of the worst bushfires seen in decades.
Lisa told 10 daily that while their family home had so far fared reasonably well in the deluge, this was the worst natural disaster she has experienced.
"It was certainly worse than [Cyclone] Yasi," she added.
Lisa said they've been doing what they can for those around them, collecting people's rubbish bins, helping people cross roads and checking in on elderly neighbours, including one woman who was stuck inside her house.
"We’re a very, very close-knit community out here in Bluewater so everybody seems to pitch in and help each other," Lisa said.
'It's just a matter of sharing and caring about each other to actually get through the situation".
With heavy deluges predicted to continue until at least Wednesday authorities have warned residents that the state is "not out of the woods yet".
Featured Image: AAP