Thursday, November 27, 2008

Storms hit S.E Queensland

On Sunday 16th Nov suburbs of the Brisbane were ravished by what can only be described as a cyclonic thunderstorm. Some of the better footage of the event can be seen here

The resulting damage was devastating and widespread. It wasn’t long before the NSWSES was asked to assist with the recovery phase. I got my opportunity to help as part of the ‘Charlie Task Force’. 8 members and one vehicle from Wollongong headed north for a 48-hour deployment.

After our initial briefing, where I was made a ‘Strike Team T/L’ responsible for 6 teams we were tasked to an area of Brisbane called “The Gap”. Arriving on site it was quickly apparent how much damage had been sustained. Trees were broken off halfway up, sheets of iron were wrapped around trees, houses were unroofed, trees that weren’t fallen were shredded of their leaves. It looked like a war zone and this was day 6 of the event.

After a long day in the field we were stood-down and accommodated in motels at Ipswich. Many of us were too tired for socialising and all had an early night.

Sunday morning saw us across town for our morning briefing. Things were looking good for an early completion. NSWSES crews had completed approx’ 700 jobs the previous day. That only left some 300 jobs to do. Back out at “The Gap” we were faced with more of the same. Nearly every house had sustained some form of damage, with wind gusts recorded at 180km/h it was amazing that no one lost their life as a direct result of the storm.

Towards the end of Sunday we entered one particular street that sat high on the side of a hill, it had obviously taken the brunt of the winds as they ripped through the gully below. Multiple houses had been de-roofed, massive trees had fallen. One house in particular had had their 2 front rooms crushed by a fallen tree. A box trailer had been lifted and blown onto a 3’ fence. A roof laid some 3 houses away from its original location and a telegraph pole had been snapped in half. It was a true war zone, but residents’ spirits remained high and everyone was pitching in to help others. We did what we could but regrettably we had to withdraw as our time in the field was drawing to an end.

Our evening was spent relaxing and reflecting on the carnage that we’d seen. After a good nights sleep we all headed for home, some driving unit vehicles, others flying.

Monday, November 10, 2008


You always want your kids to grow-up sharing the same sense of adventure as you do, so it was that we took our smaller kids out for their first abseiling adventure over the weekend.
We headed up to Stanwell Tops where theres an easy edge for the kids to start off. Using a full body harness for the kids and with me attached to them, I first took Samantha over the 20m pitch. Showing little to no nerves we had time to pose for photos before descending to the bottom of the cliff, where she immediately announced she was keen for another go. After giving her a second go it was time for Ethan’s first attempt.After a few small mods Ethan was ready. He too was excited about the idea of abseiling and we again posed for a photo. However with the harness still being a little too big for Ethan it wasn’t long before he was complaining of the harness cutting into him, so we made a quick descent to the bottom. Unfortunately for us it was to be Ethan’s only attempt. I think we’ll need to wait till he grows into the harness a little more.

Overall, I don’t know who was more excited. Me or the kids!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kids experience flight

Some months ago we purchased some very cheap Jetstar flights as an alternative method of getting to my parents place. Our kids have never flown before, so they were very excited about the prospect of getting on a big plane.

Finally the day arrived and as we headed to the Sydney domestic terminal the kids excitement rose. "A ride in a big plane beckoned". We were soon on the plane and taxiing out for take-off. Besides Ethan having limited views out the window the excitement we all shared was one to remember. The rush of power that gets these huge pieces of metal into the sky still amazes me and it wasnt long before we were heading skyward. Cars, buildings and other features soon became little ants.

50 minutes later we were descending into the Gold-Coast airport, the kids first plane flight was nearly over. With a bump and a thud we were down and screaming to a halt. The joy of flight had made the kids so big, once back on the ground they felt small compared to their suroroundings. We were soon off the plane and walking into the terminal, here they're excitement turned to finding their grandparents who awaited our arrival.

4 days later our brief holiday was coming to an end. Once again the fun of flying filled the kids eyes and we were soon going through the whole scenario again. The highlight this time was flying into Sydney at night, the harbour and surrounding lights were fantastic.