The Mudzone: After the flood in Brisbane’s West End

Brisbane River is a lazy thing on any normal day. Ryan Street in West End tells another story right now. Houses clearly showing where the surge level got to. For some, this meant the lower floor of their home went under. For others, it meant complete inundation. There are only two realities here: the mudzone and the clean zone.


We are in the mudzone, and it’s chaos. Footpaths stacked with gyprock, insulation, whitegoods, now browned with sticky layer of smelly mud. Appliances, bedding, kitchen utensils, plants, bikes. Last week’s things of life and laughter are now just rubbish for some truck to tip somewhere.


The Night Before Christmas, in a bush on a footpath, looking the worst

Awareness of the indiscriminate nature of this disaster settles quickly. No one deserved this. Those who escaped it cannot thank their pedigree, their piety or profession. Some homes obviously belong to very wealthy people. A few doors away a run down home of someone less well off. Both flooded, they now they share some intense life experience.


In some crazy way this flood has brought people together. In loss and grief. In clean up and recovery. In support and encouragement. People came from everywhere: Tradies from Bribie. People from Logan. The Gap. Wellington Point. A surgeon from Nambour. And then there were ‘the Gernie boys.’ These guys were brilliant, showing up with a industrial strength petrol powered Gernie looking for some serious mud. Actually, it looked like they had bought the Gernie just so they could help with the clean up. It would have been a considerable financial outlay, but I think they were happy to do it just so they could help someone they didn’t know.

A few guys brought a barbecue in and just started cooking sausages for volunteers. A woman stops her car. There are eskies full of sandwiches, bottled water, and cut fruit. There’s a greengrocer giving away slices of watermelon and bananas – gloriously ripe. He has a huge smile on his face, claiming that his bananas have appeal. Even the bad humour was good on a day like today.


Just about everyone wore a smile. Every person you locked eyes with was someone just focussed on helping others. It was hard work. We left feeling tired. But there is so much that still needs to be done. So we’re going back tomorrow.


Question: what are your experiences of the flood or the clean up? Please leave a comment below…

Grace and peace,


2010 in review – my blog and what you thought about it

Well, my blog has small numbers, but it seems to be valuable for some readers. Thanks for your encouragement, and here’s to a more blog related year in 2011.

Thanks especially to those who have commented. Keep it up!

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 36 posts. There were 38 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 10th with 226 views. The most popular post that day was One small step for Mum & Dad, one huge step for love.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for david groenenboom, clarence river wilderness lodge, dave groenenboom, rex wierenga, and pain when friends switch churches.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


One small step for Mum & Dad, one huge step for love November 2010


Clarence River Wilderness Lodge July 2010


How to tell people about Jesus (3): …a few resources for answering the tough questions September 2010


Why you should keep serving, even though you want to quit November 2010


The good you do is never wasted – do you know that? November 2010