January 2011

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes and concerns for the koalas and AKF staff during these floods. I personally felt much loved by the calls and emails (which I couldn’t get until today) by my friends and colleagues both here in Australia and overseas. We just had a meeting to discuss what I could tell you all, and before I sat down to write I got this email from a supporter:

“Dear Deborah, We are on Redbank Creek Esk Qld which on Monday burst its banks and swallowed up large trees and sandstone boulders the size of small cars before flooding the township of Esk and surrounding localities. We have made it home to our property today to find 3 koalas snuggly sitting in trees within 150m of each other. They are looking down on us at present as if to say “Can you believe this?”. It was reassuring to see them." Catherine, Esk

Although I have seen lots of images of possums, kangaroos, and of course livestock being affected, there have been few signs of koalas, so this email made me feel that of all the animals, koalas might have done quite well with their lofty tree houses. That said, the waters are still receding and I will keep you posted on what I hear. I thought you might like to see this photo of a beautiful little green tree frog catching a ride in the floods:

When the sun finally came out again, I was wandering around my paddocks and, to my delight, I found 16 butterfly caterpillars just about to go into their cocoons, and it made me realise that Mother Nature and the environment is going to do well out of this water. Rivers will swell, farmers will have a lot of water to farm over the coming years and it sort of gives us all a bit of a breather, while we humans sort out what has happened to our lives.

There will be many lessons to learn and I am hoping that the AKF and our maps will play a large role into the future. This will also be a golden opportunity for Quinlans to highlight how we should live on this landscape a little better.

I don’t really want to dwell on any negatives right now, because I have to say that our leaders here in Queensland have been amazing. Our Lord Mayor, our Premier, and our Defence Forces, have led us all to recovery with military and confident leadership. It has been a joy to see and I just cannot impress on all of you how amazingly resilient Australians are.

Over the weekend, armies of everyday Australians gathered at centres around our city, and were sent by bus to various locations that were very badly hurt, and they cleaned up. People in homes that had lost everything were shocked to see the young and old - like a bush army, walking into their homes with mops, buckets and spades to help them. Tears of sorrow turned to joy, even though it is going to take many years to recover.

Australians are a terrific lot and I found this photo very amusing:

We have only just returned to the City (our office was completely safe) and we have a huge backlog of emails and work to do, but I will keep you informed about what AKF will be doing as we look into 2011.

Keep in touch and thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Fond regards, Deborah