Plumber Paul Gembles has travelled from Young to help rebuild houses in Ipswich.
Plumber Paul Gembles has travelled from Young to help rebuild houses in Ipswich. David Nielsen

NSW tradies on Ipswich mission

A GANG of 27 close-knit tradesmen from the central NSW town of Young has arrived to rebuild Ipswich homes destroyed by flooding.

The builders, plumbers, electricians and plasterers took a 13.5-hour bus trip from the farming town of 12,000 people, arriving about 6.30pm Sunday night.

They will sleep at the Bundamba Basketball Stadium, working 10-hour days all through the week at residences in Brassall, Goodna, and Karalee and also at the basketball stadium.

All 27 tradesmen have proudly given up a week of paid working hours to volunteer in the rebuild.

Young residents donated $12,000 to fund the mission.

Taking a short breather from the muggy Ipswich conditions yes- terday, plumber Paul Gembles said he and his mates were shocked by the extent of the damage.

“Watching it on TV makes you feel vulnerable because you can't help, so rather than donating money and not knowing where it will end up we thought we'd come here ourselves to ensure people get value for money,” Mr Gembles said.

The Mihi Creek rose to such a level that it destroyed the walls and ceilings of every residence at the Brassall unit complex where Mr Gembles and his small team were working.

Esk builder Paul Bishop has also joined the team from Young, devoting three days out of each week to helping with the post-flood rebuild.

Brassall resident Betty Urquhart said the arrival of the tradesmen had given her some hope of recovery.

“Without these guys I couldn't have done it, because there is no insurance for these units,” Mrs Urquhart said. “It is only through this kind of generosity that people like me will survive.”

Over in Karalee, the visiting tradesmen will be working on three homes – at least one of which they hoped to completely finish this week.

The residence on Voyager Parade belongs to a young couple with two girls and two boys who lost everything.

The group has brought up kids' toys which they will pass on to children from families like the one on Voyager Parade.

Locally-based organisers Darren Palmer and Rebecca Jones thanked the host of local pubs, clubs and other businesses that offered to feed the tradesmen during the week.



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