Right: Jindalee after the January 2011 Flood.
When my family moved to our home at Jindalee, we had not bought a house that my mother liked. My father had stubbornly refused to live in any house but one which he believed, would be high enough to survive a 100 year flood. At the time, my mother was not very happy with this decision. But my father was aware of something which was to stand our family in good stead. My great grandparents, Hugh and Sarah White, had owned a number of parcels of farmland which included the riverbank which is now the suburb of Jindalee. They had known well, the danger that the Brisbane River afforded the area. The land at what was known as Seventeen Mile Rocks had been severely flooded in 1930 and in 1841. Although my mother had not really wanted to buy that particular house, she was to thank my father for his decision, during this time of devastation in Jindalee. As the flood level rose perilously, the muddy waters only entered the rear of our property and my father, to his relief, was proven right. My family was one of the few fortunate ones in Jindalee, however, as much of the suburb quickly succumbed to flood water.
Right: A Map showing the parcels of farmland owned by my great grandfather, Hugh Eston White (marked in red). Map courtesy of The Centenary Historical Society.
In 1974, there was not the extensive media coverage that beseiged our television sets, radios, newspapers, twitter and facebook and which infectiously spread the word about flooding, as it did in 2011. Word of impending disaster did not reach the ears of Brisbane residents in 1974, in time for them to prepare for a flood of devastating proportions. Nor was there an army of helpers available to help families to remove furniture and possessions from their homes. As in the terrible 2011 Grantham disaster, a raging sinister menace, that was flood water, slipped into homes, in this case, in the dark middle of the night, taking families by surprise. 14 people lost their lives in nearby Brisbane suburbs and in the city of Ipswich. Jindalee at least was spared a death toll, because the creek had risen first, alerting residents of the suburb to possible danger. Because no one in Brisbane, realised the extent of the damage caused by floodwater in the outer suburb of Jindalee, for several days, there was no help from outside the suburb. Those families unaffected by the muddy river water, took it upon themselves to help others less fortunate.
As the flood waters receded and the cleanup began, many people rallied together to clean metres of thick mud from inside homes. Because the Jindalee was a newer Brisbane suburb, the houses did not fare well after a week of flooding and relentless rain. Plasterboard walls and ceilings disintegrated and the damage was seen to be extensive. Every day people who did not know each other arrived at homes to help in the seemingly impossible cleanup. Jindalee buzzed with a spirit of generousity as everyone worked side by side to repair the damage caused by floodwater and mud.
Right: Burrendah Road as the flood waters receded and Graham's boat.
Many people helped others less fortunate in Jindalee during the 1974 floods. My story is just one of many stories.