| 15.08,20. 07:35 AM |
Queensland town gains international attention after it successfully relocates to higher ground following massive flood
When flood waters swallowed up the tiny Queensland town of Grantham, west of Brisbane, almost 10 years ago, it was unknown how the community would rebuild. (A Current Affair)
When flood waters swallowed up the tiny Queensland town of Grantham, west of Brisbane, almost 10 years ago, it was unknown how the community would rebuild.
But, incredibly, it has and is thriving more than ever. Dubbed an "inland tsunami," the wall of water claimed the lives of 12 people and destroyed dozens of homes.
Many of the houses were pulled from their stumps and were spotted floating away, along with cars and everything else in the path of the raging flood waters.
One of the families who lost their property was the Mahons.
John and Kathy Mahon were forced to climb onto the roof of their house, along with their daughters and grandchildren in a desperate bid to escape the rising waters.
They were eventually winched to safety by a rescue helicopter, but the horror of that afternoon will never be forgotten.
"We actually said goodbye to our daughter in Brisbane because we thought that was it. We just said to her, 'you'll find us in the kitchen'," Mr Mahon told A Current Affair reporter Chris Allen.
While he managed to flee the floodwaters, Allan Marshall lost his 67-year-old father, Bruce, after a frantic phone call from his sister to see if he could possibly reach their dad.
"I said, 'no I can't get to dad, the water's three metres high and going a hundred ks an hour, no I can't get there', and anyway, I found out later that dad was found in the house... I reckon he got knocked off the bed, he was in the bedroom," Mr Marshall said.
The day after the flood ripped through Grantham, the mayor of the area at the time, Steve Jones, decided the only way to rebuild the community was to relocate it to higher ground.
Mr Jones set about that mission, phoning Brisbane based environmental engineer Jamie Simmonds to help bring his vision to reality.
"When you walked into Grantham a few days after that flood, it was very difficult to have any hope that this community would survive," Mr Simmonds told A Current Affair.
But it did, thanks to what's believed to be an Australian first relocation project.
Residents were offered a land swap to move from the flood plain to new properties up on a nearby hill.
Council bought 1000 hectares of farmland above the old town to begin the process.