Putrid mud that coated Bundaberg, in central Queensland, may have washed away but the memories from the devastating floods remain one year on.
A year on from devastating floods that left parts of Bundaberg completely destroyed, repairs to homes and businesses damaged in the disaster are almost complete.
Putrid mud that coated the central Queensland town has been washed away.
The memories, however, remain.
Premier Campbell Newman on Monday visited residents whose homes had been ruined during last year’s disaster in the wake of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
While Mr Newman inspected his home, Bundaberg resident Ben Martin remembered how he carried his grandparents’ belongings and the family pet to higher ground.
“The water just kept rising and rising,” he said.
“It just came in so quick, you don’t forget something like that.”
He said it took about six months before his grandparents’ home was back to normal.
Jill Hall, whose house was submerged up to its roof, showed Mr Newman her newly renovated lounge room and her mother’s eternity ring that she had thought she had lost there a year earlier.
“You wouldn’t have seen all this last time,” she joked as the premier and his wife Lisa stood near the freshly painted walls.
Mr Newman last year honoured Ms Hall who worked as an SES volunteer despite her own home being completely submerged.
Similar stories of bravery and community spirit were remembered during an anniversary morning tea on Monday, attended by Mr Newman, Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley and Police Commissioner Ian Stewart.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said more than 4000 homes had been affected and five had been washed away completely.
More than 2000 people were evacuated to emergency centres, he said.
Mr Forman said there were about 44,000 insurance claims worth about $485 million.
“This was the largest mandatory evacuation in Queensland’s history,” he said.
Mr Forman said infrastructure had been rebuilt and was calling on people outside the city to invest, saying: “We are open for business”.
But Mr Newman said it would take longer for residents’ hearts to heal.
“We’re here today to let people know they haven’t been forgotten, the work continues,” Mr Newman said of flood recovery efforts.
He also announced a new Bundaberg Cup touch football tournament to begin next year to attract tourists to the city.
Federal MP Keith Pitt read out a message on behalf of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was unable to attend.
“The people of Bundaberg know better than most how cruel nature can be – and you also know the strength of community bonds,” the prime minister’s message read.
“Twice in the space of two years, you’ve faced devastating floods that have claimed lives, homes and businesses.
“Through all this your community has shown its character.”