Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Sludge Army

We've been called the Sludge Army!!!

There were 12,000 people who volunteered today in Brisbane, I was one of them.

I was excited as I lined up for registrations and for the bus that would take me out into the streets that had been hit the hardest by the floods in Brisbane. There were so many people that showed up that they had to turn some away, luckily I was able to go.

We got onto council buses that were driven by drivers who were donating their time.

Armed with brooms, shovels, gloves, hats and gumboots we were delivered to a hard hit suburb, Rocklea.

The first thing that hit me when I arrived was the smell, I can't really describe it. A mix between rotting garbage, mud and a fishy smell.

The next thing I almost slipped over! There is mud, a thick layer of slimy mud over everything. Even though there has been sun shining for a few days it hasn't fully dried the mud. AND it's over everything, belongings, trees and the street.

It was heart breaking to see every house, street after street with every single thing they owned out on the side walk. In the picture below you can see the yellow excavator working it's way down the street, lifting everything off the sidewalk into a dump truck to be hauled away.

The house I helped at for the afternoon literally had nothing left inside when we were done, all the plaster board had been taken off the walls, the cabinets pulled out and even the kitchen sink was out on the side walk by the end of the day.

Here's me in the front with the family I helped out - you can see the pile of their household belongings, it was piled higher than a car.

The water level in this house came up to about the same height as the railing. Some other houses were fully under.

I'm exhausted, happy and heart broken all at once. Going out today gave me satisfaction that I had begun helping but gave me drive to help more and more. Our Lord Mayor said 'this is not a race but a marathon'. He is so right, I think my crafting will take a back seat for a while so that I can volunteer when I can over the coming months - because this recovery will take months and months and months.


  1. Congratulations Trish! A job well done.

    Bet you are tired but pleased that you were able to help out one of those poor families.

    I am still waiting to hear when I will be needed. As you say this will take a lot of time. Pam x

  2. Good on you!! I wish I was closer to help in a more practical way. My son's off to Brisbane tomorrow for a week long conference but he's been sent an email to say they'll probably get an opportunity to join the 'Sludge Army' so an extra pair of working boots went in his suitcase! It was such a heart warming scene on the TV this morning to see all those wonderful volunteers. Keep up the great work!

  3. Well done you! It must be a wonderful feeling knowing you`re helping at this awful time. We`ve had news coverage in the UK but can only imagine the devastation. It says alot about the spirit of the Aussies that so many of you volunteered.
    Lynne xxx

  4. Congratulations on volunteering Trish! What a wonderful response to the volunteer call out! I bet the families are so thankful for the help after so much devastation.

  5. Hi sweetie ~ so proud of you! The extra piccie you emailed me has you looking quite tired. Hope you get a big sleep tonight.

    Can't imagine the smell you describe, but I've seen the sludge and mess. Hard to fathom just how much devastation has happened.

    It's so heartwarming to see so many getting in there and helping out. True Aussie spirit at its best!


  6. YAY! So glad you got to get out there and help! What a priviledge to be able to help a family like that. Go you!

  7. Good for you!
    How nice to see so many helping...those poor families, we can only imagine. I'm sure they are so grateful for all the volunteers.

    Nice to see that side of generosity in the world!

  8. Good on you Trish. My husband helped yesterday afternoon at Belbowrie, amongst a variety of jobs loading trucks etc, he helped a lady wash her china and had a chat which must help. They are truly touched by the generosity. Your mums place looked like ours, creek rising in the backyard on Tuesday but that was the extent of it. We have been very fortunate.

  9. Good work!! Hard work I bet! It's so wonderful to see aussies pitching in to help each other out in tough times!!

  10. Well done for volunteering and getting the chance to assist those who need help during this terrible time. It can't have been easy.

  11. Oh Trish - good on you!!!! How awesome that you got to go out and help! I'm really hoping we can do the same in the coming weeks. Its been so horrible and I am so heart sick for all the people that have lost so much. You'd do anything you can for such people hey. You're too awesome! xxx


Thanks for taking the time to leave some love xox