Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

City's Instinct for Survival Ingrained; Ipswich Shows Its Spirit as Thousands Flock to Help Recovery

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

City's Instinct for Survival Ingrained; Ipswich Shows Its Spirit as Thousands Flock to Help Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Foley Peter.Foley@qt.com.au

SELDOM in the harrowing arena of human suffering has so much been owed to such a large and diverse band of rescuers and helpers, saviours and supporters.

As Ipswich people took stock of their battered homes and beaten-up lives after January's floods, the community sensed the need for an immediate counteroffensive.

Ipswich used to predominantly be a mining town where fighting for survival was an instinctive quality in its people.

It has evolved somewhat but that belligerent spirit is still a proud part of the city's collective character.

Resolute, the Ipswich community started to shake off the devastating effects of January's floods as soon as the terrible inundation had retreated.

On January 19 the flood fight-back began in earnest with Mayor Paul launching the Queensland Times-backed Ipswich Flood Appeal.

aThis is part of the rebuilding of people's lives. I want to make sure each pothole, each home, each life is going to be rebuilt,a the Mayor said at the time.

The Mayor announced the Ipswich Festival would be moved from April to May to give people time to clean up before partying and thanking their rescuers.

He said it would take at least a year for Ipswich to get back on its feet, relying in large part on the kindness of strangers.

They came from near and far. They longed to help. They had no reason except they wanted to do something to help someone.

They kept coming a individuals, community groups, sporting teams, church groups, healers of mind and soul, builders amateur and professional, politicians of each level and every persuasion.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who had visited Ipswich to talk to people and hear their hurt, charged the Queensland Reconstruction Authority with overseeing the recovery.

Operation Queenslander was centred along six lines of reconstruction:

Human and social.

Economic, environmental.

Building recovery.

Roads and transport.

Communication and community liaison.

The approach was similar in Ipswich as the city took up the challenge of beginning the clean up of damage caused by flood waters which engulfed about 3000 of the city's homes and businesses. …

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