Brisbane Floods (12/01/2011 – 26/01/2011)

There’s two things people from Brisbane never shut up about:
1) Expo 88
2) The floods

Being that I was 3 and living in Perth when the Expo happened, all I’ve got to talk about is the Floods, especially the one that affected me the most: 2011.

I was talking to a USA friend about Brisbane the other day and it made me dig up these photos. The floods happened just a few weeks after I got my first DSLR, so these photos were an excellent way to practice and learn my way around it. What you see are my original edits from 3.5 years ago and you can see me trying new techniques and trying my best to learn what the hell I was doing.

Before it all started, the high water level was a bit of a joke. Hey look! Our feet may get wet!

The next day I was let out of work early, because my house was designated to be in a flood zone. I lived on the conjunction of the Brisbane River and Oxley Creek. I didn’t think there was much to worry about, so I walked down to watch the river levels. So did every one else apparently.

I kept walking down every hour in the rain to check the levels and it was rising rapidly, but not too bad. It was getting high, but not too bad.

I packed up a car load of valuables and put everything up very high and went to my parent’s house for the night. The next day though, the closest I could get to my apartment was Rocklea, almost 10 kms away.

So began the panic. The 24 hour news coverage showed helicopters flying over my suburb a lot, the whole thing appearing to be underwater. I was on the south side, my girlfriend was on the north side, there was almost no way to get across. We turned around and I spent an anxious 2nd night at my parents.

The next day was one of the few that summer with sunshine (I remember counting about 10 days that summer all up with no rain). So I packed up the car and started the long and traffic-jammed commute to the North. I picked up the girlfriend and parked about 2kms from my apartment and walked in a very long way around. I was a mess. There was water and mud everywhere near my place. Then we got to my street…

My apartment was on the right. There was no way to get there. I waded through the shopping centre carpark and managed to stand above where my car was parked every night.

Judging from this, my garage was completely submerged, but my apartment on the 2nd floor should be okay.

With nothing to be done while the water was still there, I went for an explore. Starting with the iconic Regatta, the pub that always gets flooded.

The city was eerily empty and it was weird to explore.

A few days later the water was gone and everything in my neighbourhood was covered in mud. It was a tough few days, full of shovelling mud and sorting rubbish, but the community spirit was incredibly. Every one seemed to lend a hand. And those that couldn’t do the physical work went around offering food and drinks and much needed support for the weary and emotional. It was an incredible display of mateship.

The biggest surprise of all though, was the giant ship stuck in the park. I have no idea how it got there, about 200 metres back from the river. I didn’t think the water got high enough to float it. But it was stuck there for at least a few months before a big enough crane and truck could get in and grab it.

It took me about 4 weeks to move back in. Our apartment, luckily mainly untouched, had much damage done to the electrical system. It was almost 4 weeks before we got power back.

Here’s some other random photos younger me took of the crazy event:


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