Pharmacist Brian North in 2012.
Pharmacist Brian North in 2012.

How CBD business survived after floodwaters went over roof

FOR Ipswich pharmacist Brian North, the floods of 2011 which went over the roof of his CBD business will forever be imprinted in his memory.

“I won’t ever forget that day,” he said.

Speaking 10 years on from the disaster, he is still operating the Ipswich Day and Night Chemist from the same building on Brisbane St.

Piles of rubbish sit outside businesses in Brisbane St in the Ipswich CBD after the 2011 floods.
Piles of rubbish sit outside businesses in Brisbane St in the Ipswich CBD after the 2011 floods.

In the days leading up to January 11 a decade ago, he watched and waited as the capacity of Wivenhoe and Somerset dams rapidly rose.

Mr North realised the waters would end up over his roof and on the morning floodwaters tore through the city he managed to get stock, scripts and computers out of the building.

They were stored in his home, where he worked for close to three months until his business was refitted.

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“That way we kept the nursing homes going and regular customers we delivered to and kept them going,” he said.

“When we got back after about three days we just opened the doors and it was a big mess.

“Mud was everywhere and all the counters were turned over. The fridges were full of water.

“We had to start from scratch. Even the ceiling had to be replaced.”

Surrounding businesses were also hammered by the water, with the Coles across the road needing to be rebuilt in a process that took two years.

Flooding in Ipswich in January, 2011 Ipswich CBD looking West. Coles in centre, with Ipswich Day and Night Pharmacy to the right. Photo: Rob Williams
Flooding in Ipswich in January, 2011 Ipswich CBD looking West. Coles in centre, with Ipswich Day and Night Pharmacy to the right. Photo: Rob Williams

Local traders relied on the customers the supermarket brought and its closure only compounded what was a tough recovery period.

“It had a big impact,” Mr North said.

But he also recalled the incredible support from locals who stepped up and helped clean out his devastated business when floodwaters receded.

“I remember on the day we came back, we had probably 20 or 30 people - friends and customers - who came to help us,” he said.

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“It’s remarkable how many people wanted to help.

“We still think about it.

“We just hope it never happens again.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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