Posted by: debrakolkka | January 15, 2011

Cleaning up the filthy, stinking mess

The water has gone. That brown stuff is mud

It is amazing how quickly the water went away.  We went early Friday morning to assess when we could begin the clean up.  Fortunately, my brother was organised with cleaning equipment and a plan.  We were among the first to arrive on the scene and start work.  I don’t know if you have ever seen the aftermath of a flood – it is not pretty.

in case we get tired

the back door to the house

We walked around the outside of the house through filthy mud.  The windows were open so we could see the muddy scene inside. 

inside the house

it all has to go

rubbish all around the house

rubbish caught in windows

A washing machine had fallen across the door, so it wasn’t easy to get into the house.

breaking in

the laundry

the kitchen bench

do you think we need new curtains?

the bathroom


Everything had to be hauled outside to enable us to hose the mud out.

the contents of the kitchen cupboards

muddy rubbish starts to gather on the footpath

Now for the good news.

the water didn't make it to the top floor

And we had lots of help with the clean up.  From early in the morning we had friends and family arriving ready to get to work.  Strangers were stopping asking if they could help.  We were managing quite well by ourselves, so we sent them to where there was more need, but some stayed anyway and picked up a broom.

the lovely Tom

Tom's lovely friend

washing off the mud

pushing the mud out of the house

Jim cleaning the bathroom


the rubbish builds

the muddy street is full of activity

Top marks to our local member of Parliament (and ex Prime Minister) Kevin Rudd, who dropped in to distribute hand sanitiser.  Earlier, members of his staff had arrived in the street in working gear, eager and ready to help.

Kevin Rudd (in the middle) drops in to lend a hand

In the next post I will show you the results of all the hard work.  Click here to see the clean house.



  1. Such a big job, Deb! I’m so sorry you had to go through it, but relieved you had help…

    • We had lots of help and everybody was in good spirits. The day went very well.

  2. Deb, Your pictures had me in tears.
    What a job. I remember the ’74 floods and I remember the smell of the mud.
    I will be back in Brisbane in two days, I will talk to you then. Lots of love.

    • Surprisingly, the smell wasn’t too bad. It may get worse, of course. The house will be fine, and nobody was hurt, and the community spirit was wonderful. People can be so bloody fabulous.

  3. We’ve just spent breakfast time reading the newspaper reports of flood stories and looking in awed silece at the pictures. Then seeing this post…the logistics of cleaning up a whole city, damaged road and rail bridges is mind boggling – let alone the dreadfully damaged emotions of people more devastatingly affected. It occurred to us that none of our papers such as birth & marriage certificates, passports, wills, medical records etc are all in one spot – it’s now on our to do list. As well as some means of keeping all our family photos in a quickly retrievable format. On a lighter note and looking with a twinkle at your last photo – do you remember Monty Pythons’ “The Holy Grail” and the scene where the King and his coconut-clapper passes through? “How do you know it’s the King”, “Because he’s the only one who’s not covered in….”.

    • I do remember that – and he wasn’t.

  4. So sobering Debra, seeing all those photos. The second last one especially, just showing a tiny snap shot of just how much so many people have to now do.

  5. Hi Deb,
    Those photos tell an amazing story!
    It is hard to believe the amount of rubbish – good luck with it all, we are thinking of you.
    lots of love Mike and Shona

    • The rubbish is being piled on to the footpaths and the council is already at work clearing it. The streets will start to resemble normal suburban streets very soon. An amazing amount of work has been done in a short time. Thank you for your concern.

  6. I remember well the 1974 Brisbane Flood mop-up, so sympathise with those involved in the massive clean-up. Can still remember the stinking mud! Great to have the community out with a helping-hand. A flood brings the best (and worst) in people. Good to see brother Peter in the photo – the handsome blue-eyed bloke behind girlfriend Annabel in pale blue next to Kevin Rudd, and good to know the local MP is actively involved.

  7. Must be difficult to have to deal with this – both practically and emotionally. See Australians are like South Africans – good in a crisis!

  8. People are out in force today – Saturday – even more than yesterday. There are thousands of volunteers on the streets, covered in mud, doing what needs to be done.

  9. […] link: Leave a Comment – Debra & Liz's Bagni di Lucca Blog Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in Hotel, Hotel Lucca, Lucca e ha i tag brisbane, […]

  10. Oh my gosh. What an emotional and physical ordeal. My thoughts are with you!

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts. The worst is over – for us.

  11. Good luck with the clean-up, and thank god the water didn’t make it up the stairs. It’s good to see the pollies being useful 🙂

  12. Thank God Aussies are amazing in a crisis Deb, it was the same here when we lost lots in the Canberra fires, the sense of community kept everyone’s spirits up, it made everything so much better & really made the saying ‘many hands make light work’ so, so true. Thanks for sharing the process you guys are going through, your in our thoughts Deb.

  13. Oh dear Debra, what a sight to behold 🙁 These pictures really tell a thousand stories! Best of luck with the clean up and putting the pieces together.

  14. Bad luck! But it is good you have such friends.

    A friend got as badly flooded some years ago, so I do have some idea what it is like.


  15. Once again thank you for keeping this log, it makes it all far more real than the bits we get to see on the international news. How great that you all pull together like that, the human spirit at work, enlightened self interest, altruism, call it what you want, it is a good thing and heartening to see.

  16. A motley crew you have there! Nice of ‘Kev’ to drop in. It’s just so hard to imagine the mess Deb. Good luck with the cleanup. All of the victims of the floods are in our thoughts. MLT

  17. […] here, here, here, here, here and here for the full story of the flood in […]

  18. […] here, here, here and here to see the Brisbane river and the flood in […]

  19. […] here, here, here, here, and here to see the floods in […]

  20. […] Tags: Australia, Brisbane, Brisbane floods, photography « A Dark Cloud over Brisbane Cleaning up the filthy, stinking mess […]

  21. […] Cleaning up the filthy, stinking mess […]

  22. Well done! A true spirit of Dunkirk seems to be reigning over there.

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