Posted by: debrakolkka | January 27, 2011

An update on the floods/house

the river level is dropping

the park has reappeared

The insurance assessor has already been to our flood damaged house. We were so disappointed when we returned to the house. We thought we had done  a good job with the clean up. When we left it looked sparkling clean and almost like new. When we returned we found black stuff oozing from the walls, they are all warped, the doors are buckled and splitting and the cupboards we thought we had saved are falling apart.

On the upside, the assessor assured us that this was bound to happen.  We couldn’t have done anything to prevent it.  He said he has seen thousands of flood affected houses and this is just what happens. The situation is now out of our hands.  The insurance company (Suncorp) will replace everything.  He told us the house is uninhabitable and it will be 6 – 12 months before it will be fixed. Our tennants will have to find alternative accommodation and we just wait.  It is a bit frustrating, we would love to get in there and do stuff, but we can’t.

Brisbane is slowly returning to normal.  Most people are back at work in the CBD.  Thousands of people will be having the same experience with their houses – or worse – so life will be fairly difficult for those directly affected for a while. For the rest of the city, life goes on as normal.

CBD the Queen St Mall is up and running

The clean up in some areas has been amazing.  In West End, where we live, most of the mud has gone and the streets look pretty good.  Southbank and the Gallery precinct is on the way to recovery and several cafes and restaurants are open for business. The lagoon at Southbank went completely under water, but the work to clean it up is progressing very well.

Southbank clean up

cleaning up

the restaurants are back in action


Southbank from the Victoria Bridge

note the small boat in the foreground - just in case

the river is still brown but it is low and calm

The best thing we can do here is to go back to work, support local businesses, buy replacements for lost possessions (where possible) and generally return to as close to normal as possible.  This seems to be happening. Shops and restaurants report good business and people are wanting to help where they can. Volunteers are still out there helping and the council and government are working to restore the city.

it looks very calm now

the park has been cleaned up

the sky is blue


a great place for a picnic

it is hard to believe this was covered with filthy mud

the rock climbers are back

 On Australia day people were out having barbeques and picnics and enjoying a beautiful day in Brisbane. It takes more than a wall of water to knock us down. The spirit that showed itself during the clean up will continue.

Look here, here, here, here, here and here for the full story of the flood in Brisbane.

I had no idea what was about to unfold when I wrote that first post about the heavy rain falling in Brisbane. The city is so calm now, it is hard to believe it ever happened.


  1. Go Brisbane! We are getting some customers at Kellies Antiques in the Brisbane Arcade and now the annual workroom sale is on. It is not easy but we just open the shop door and hope for the best. I am sure in time there will be insurance valuations for replacement to be done, life goes on and we can only pull together and get through the difficult months ahead. I am so sorry for the people who have lost everything and it will take time. These material things can eventually be repaired or replaced. Loss of life cannot be replaced so as bad as it is, there are people worse off. Sorry to hear that the damage is worse than you first thought after the clean up.

  2. At least we have insurance, so we will be OK, but it was a bit disappointing when we went back.

  3. Was reading about flood coverage in the internet press yesterday. It’s often interesting to see how this is reported from outside the country. Your photos and personal experiences are a great counterpoint to the way the media reports on this. In 2009 my Dad’s little country town in Cumbria was flooded, but the floods there were nothing compared to Australia and Brazil this year. I am sorry that your property is damaged, as you say very disappointing after all that hard work cleaning up. I worry about the long term effects of these floods on the Barrier Reef too.

    • The amount of muddy water flowing into the reef area and Moreton Bay is alarming. Lets’s hope there isn’t too much damage to wildlife.

  4. A friend was there last week and told me the saddest thing for her was all the damage to the Modern Art gallery. I remember you posting about that just last month (I think) – how bad was the damage? I’m sorry your place didn’t stay all clean after all your hard work, but relieved to hear you’re well covered by the insurance!

    • As far as I know, only the car park and possibly some storage at GoMA was damaged. There was a lot of warning about the rising water and I am sure steps would have been taken to remove everything possible. The area is not open yet, but I don’t think it is far away. I had been planning another visit to see the things I missed last time, but I will be gone before it opens and the exhibition will be finished by the time I return. The car parks are still being cleaned and checks made to ensure the safety of patrons.

  5. This blog today is a story of hope and of the returning joy. Thanks Deb. x

  6. What a beautiful, beautiful city. Matched by your amazing spirit. Thanks for this, Charlotte

    • Brisbane is a beautiful city. Despite the brown river it looks amazing now.

  7. I am so sorry about your house-it looked so good after your clean up. Happy to hear that the city is getting back to normal.

  8. Oh Deb – it must have been awful seeing the secondary damage after all that hard work! I know how keen you are to get back into redecorating the house and get on with things. Insurance is great, but it doesn’t make up for the heartache of seeing something you have lovingly put back together with family and friends (and strangers) fall apart again.

  9. I wonder how Brisbane and it’s surrounds will deal with the added stress of finding alternative accommodation for people? Was there that much choice of rentals before hand?
    It’s so odd looking at your photos, thinking it was all under water not so long ago.
    Glad to hear that insurance will cover everything for you Debra.

    • Finding rental accommodation is going to be a big problem. There were 4 people living in our house, who will now have to find somewhere else to live. I think it is a real pity that our house is going to be out of action for so long. What is happening to us is repeated thousands of time. People will have to move away I think.

  10. Mr HG was in Brisbane earlier this week & mentioned a lot of people had the same experience as you’ve had with your house, so sorry to hear its worse off than you guys originally thought & how annoying you can’t get in & fix it up for such a long time…., the long term effects of natural disasters roll on don’t they.

  11. Sorry to hear about the bad news. I thought that you guys were ok after the cleanup 🙁 I suppose the upside is that the insurance will cover everything 🙂

  12. Sorry to read about your house and your poor tenants losing their home and possessions as well no doubt.
    I was stunned to see how quickly Brisbane is recovering, just a week after the floods. The river did look so high and brown that I was just about able to imagine it spilling over and engulfing everything in its path. We used to live in Bardon and shop/eat at Rosalie. I could not believe that Rosalie and our local shops were completely under water. It really is a testament to the wonderful community spirit and efficiency of the various government agencies that so much of the clean up could happen so fast. Lets hope the recovery process continues at a fast pace and you get your house back again sooner than expected.

    • Let’s hope so, but I’m not counting on it. We know we are very lucky, so we can’t complain about the wait when so many people are worse off.

  13. You are so lucky, perhaps careful Deb that you are covered. Where we used to live in Graceville, the people across the road are insured with Suncorp and are fully covered for flood. Like you it is going to take a while to fix but it is only the utility area downstairs on a high set house.

    Our old neighbour was comfortably off but with their retirement invested with Storm. They lost nearly everything with the GFC in 2008, but managed to keep their low set house. They thought they were covered for flood damage with a very complicated policy but now they find their insurance will not stand by them. The water was up past the gutters.

    People are amazing. We were there helping with the clean up. I took my Karcher but there was no electricity. Someone saw it in the driveway and delivered us a generator so we could use it. Cold bottled water was delivered, then food in the way of muffins and sausages on bread, and later on a whole case of bananas! All free of charge.

    • I know we have been very lucky. I feel very sorry for those who have lost so much through no falut of their own.

  14. It’s good to see the city is recovering and the skies are blue and bright. I hope the skies reflect the attitudes of the citizens.

    • I think everybody is getting back to normal. Unfortunately I think there is more rain on the way.

  15. A little tear came to my eye remembering the flloods in both 2011 and 1974. I am glad the clean up went so fast. Thanks for the shots:)

    • People were amazing. We had offers of help from people we had never met.

  16. Crikey. We thought our few days of rain was bad enough. Well done Brisbane and well done for dusting yourselves down and picking yourselves up.

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