Childhood toy covered in mud

Cleaning up home after the Lismore Flood

I didn’t expect to see half a dozen people arriving at the door of our house in South Lismore today. I’m home helping clean up our family home which has been devastated by the record-breaking flood which saw water reach up to two metres inside the two-story house. We’re not alone, there are maybe 2,000 houses in Lismore which have seen similar devastation. Likely more.

Today’s volunteers included a couple from Byon Bay, a bloke from the Gold Coast, three young people who I learned were also from the Gold Coast, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There were no airs and graces. No sense of “pity”. They were all wonderful people who happily did anything we needed help with. We were also joined by a bunch of Michelle’s colleagues, all nurses or working in the nursing area at Lismore Base Hospital.

Gold Coast and Byron Volunteers
Gold Coast and Byron Volunteers

They did everything from ripping up carpet, lino and floor tiles, to washing dishes and photographs. They were all happy to do some of the more physical work such as pulling down once-fashionable wall panelling. There were also people who came to our door with food, wraps, coffee, chocolate. The community response has been amazing.

Friends of my seventeen-year-old nephew visited yesterday to help, and in mud left behind a wonderful wish for everyone.

Pat and Jack have lived in the house since 1969, and ripping up the carpet and lino provided me with a flashback to times past. There were four layers of lino/tiles in the kitchen, including some layers that might attract good prices in hipster furniture stores. There was also carpet and underlay that simply fell apart.

Lots of my own childhood memories are in this house, including this toy car.. In the background, the large piles of rubbish.

We’re not alone in this. There are probably thousands of homes in Lismore going through the same thing as us. And in other towns too.

View from an open (smashed by floodwaters) window in South Lismore.

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