Today is Australia day. Last year I joked whether Australia Day would go ahead because of the tragic events surrounding Doug the baby koala. That’s all we had going on back then! That story was BIG news! But this year the news doesn’t mention koala’s much and we have a real tragedy to recover from on Australia Day.
But Australians are still going to celebrate today and every celebration has now become a charity event, because Australians are partying for the flood relief appeal.
But I promised to tell you about the impact of the floods. So I will.
The impact of the floods.
On Monday I explained how the river rose and one of our main streets was the first to go under. It was also the street that has all of the community shops. How did they go?
Not too good, as you can imagine. I went down to take a look on Sunday and the whole Plaza looks like a building site.
If you take a look at those pictures, I believe the water level would have been around halfway up the shop windows, perhaps a little higher. Behind these shops is a roofed Plaza, it’s where Coles is, there’s a chemists, fruit and veg, the butchers, the post office and much more all inside the Plaza.
All destroyed and all now closed. I would have shown you more pictures of the inside of the Plaza but, bizarrely, they had a couple of security people in there who told me “no photos”.
They explained “Well, some people have been taking photographs and posting them on Facebook and things like that.”
Oh really? How shocking is that? Of course they’re taking photographs and posting them on Facebook! What century are you living in!
I wasn’t overly surprised by this ridiculous piece of censorship; around here we’ve always known that the owner of this shopping centre is nothing if he is not strange. Anyway….
There are two sides to the destruction of our community’s shops. From a shopper’s point of view, now, if we want fruit and veg, some fresh meat, or medications, a hair cut or if we even just want to post a parcel, it’s now a 30 minute round trip. That’s assuming you have a car.
And from the shop owner’s point of view, it’s much worse. Some of these businesses were people’s lives. The fish and chip shop was taken over by new owners only about six months ago. No doubt that takeover involved a hefty financial investment, not to mention the hard work in maintaining and increasing his customers. All destroyed. He’ll have to start again.
The hairdressers, the place where I get my haircut, well it is called “Robert’s Cuts”, how is the girl who cuts my hair, Camilla, going to make a living now? That was her livelihood. And the butchers? I happen to think this community had one of the best butchers around. The guy who ran it worked darned hard to build his business. It’s destroyed. What’s he going to do?
I could go on, but all I want to say is just take a look at our small little community. The impact of these floods and its affect on everybody’s lives is enormous. Now take that impact and multiply it by 1000 times or more, and then you have an idea of just how much pain Queenslanders and many other Australians are now going through.
But hey! I’m off to party! I think it’s going to be a big party. We’ve got a perfect day for it, it’s hot, 33°C and not a cloud in the sky. It’s billed as a party for the community. It’s taking place in the school fields.
It’s called the “Community Thank You BBQ” and as the flyer says, it’s “An opportunity to share floods stories and thank the countless volunteers in our community that did so much to help our residents, businesses and other organisations in the cleanup.”
I’m hoping we will also get the chance to see our local hairdresser, butcher, fruit and veg owners, the chip shop guy and all the rest of the local business people and find out how we can continue to support them.
All these shops are sure to be out of action for possibly four months or so. It’s early days, but there’s talk of Coles temporarily taking over the Scout hut and I’m hoping there’s some way that other tradespeople can continue to run their businesses during the rebuilding period.
Maybe they can sell their stuff out of vans? Maybe the hairdresser could work from anywhere with a chair, a mirror and a pair of scissors? Maybe, maybe.
We will see.