Esme Sharpe cleans up her flood-damaged home at Queensborough Parade, Karalee.
Esme Sharpe cleans up her flood-damaged home at Queensborough Parade, Karalee. Sarah Harvey

Queensborough Parade hit hard

THE reopening of roads leading to Karalee exposed one of Ipswich’s worst hit areas yesterday.

Few copped it worse than the residents of Queensborough Parade, in a remote pocket surrounded by the Bremer River which was more than five metres under water on Wednesday.

Esme Sharpe had enough time to get her horses and dogs to high ground and, despite the fact that her house is now falling to pieces because of the water, she said she was just happy to have survived it.

“My house was completely submerged,” she said.

“It’s incredible and devastating to see what has happened – I would never have thought the river could get that high.

“Almost everything here will be a write off – the ceiling and the walls are just falling off.

“If you don’t laugh at it you’ll just cry. You’ve just got to put one foot in front of the other.”

As soon as the water receded, the streets were lined with the cars of people willing to lend a hand to those whose lives have been turned upside down.

Every house on Queensborough Parade had a pile of drenched and muddy rubbish, and destroyed furniture and electrical appliances, dumped out the front as the Ipswich community got to work on the clean-up job.

Ms Sharpe was torn between the clean-up at her own house and that of her daughter, Leanne van Englen, around the corner. Both houses were insured however Ms van Englen did not have contents insurance.

Yesterday, on her 39th birthday, what should have been a day to celebrate was instead a day spent wondering where to start again.

For her mother, it took a lot of guts and determination to begin the clean-up effort.

If the sight and smell of the street wasn’t bad enough, then going back inside her home must have been almost unbearable.

But she maintained a positive outlook.

“The main thing is that everyone is safe,” Ms Sharpe said.

“The horses are on high ground and the dog is being looked after and we’re grateful for that.

“We’ve been living with friends here in Karalee – they’ve been marvellous to us.”

Some stories of generosity to come out of the floods have been nothing short of heartwarming.

It hasn’t just been people offering a helping hand in the clean-up, but the stories of families who have opened their houses up to people who have been affected.

Freda Madden, who was one of those generous Karalee residents, said the suburb had copped the brunt of two flooded rivers – the Brisbane and the Bremer – yet had received little if any media coverage due to its isolation during the past few days.

“Here in Karalee it is worse than 1974 – by about two metres or more,” she said.

“The lack of coverage has been frustrating – we would see the news choppers flying over but they would just keep showing Brisbane or Coles at Ipswich.”

The sense of community pride was also alive and well in North Booval yesterday where a phenomenal number of cars parked by the side of the road gave an indication of just how much manpower was required in the clean-up.

Thousands of men and women of all ages and races, wearing their daggiest clothes, were covered head to toe in the mud and muck that the flooded Bundamba Creek left behind as they toiled away in the hot sun.

Basin Pocket resident Belinda Franklin, who travelled to North Booval to help a friend, said Ipswich’s response to the disaster had restored her confidence in humanity.

“It is just amazing to see the amount of support around here,” she said.

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