Scars still showing three months on from floods
THE lingering scars of January's record floods are still visible three months after thousands of gallons of water swept through North Bundaberg.
Homes still stand abandoned, debris covers fences, the water logged ground sinks beneath your feet and the stench of the thick mud that covered the community can still be smelled in some places.
But there are also signs of recovery with builders cars parked in nearly every street, washing hanging on a few lines and businesses beginning to reopen.
Donald St residents Patricia and Lindsay Hateley said while the sound of building works filled the air all day long, their once bustling street became a ghost town at night.
"Half a dozen houses in our street have been condemned," Mrs Hateley said.
"The neighbours come sometimes and look at their devastation but not many are living here yet."
The Hateleys high-set home was filled with about 75cm of water and while they've worked flat out every day since to repair the damage, it's not over yet.
"We haven't stopped," Mrs Hateley said.
"If we hadn't been so determined we might not have come back but you just have to battle through it and hope it won't happen again."
The Hateleys lost most of their things when the raging river swept through their property including their two little dogs Rocky and Amber who had been part of the family for a decade.
Mr Hateley, a builder, had his work trailer full of about $10,000 worth of tools go underwater but he managed to salvage the mud-filled electrical tools.
"There was mud through all of it and I managed to save all but two of them," he said.
"I opened them up and got in and cleaned them out with a toothbrush."
Next door, Jean and Bill Davis are not yet able to return to their home of 15 years and said the distance from the devastation was a silver lining.
"We're glad not to have to look at that destruction and heart ache every day," Mrs Davis said.
"It's awful to drive past and see all those empty homes and you wander if anyone's ever coming back.
"They were loved houses but they look so unloved now."
Mrs Davis was just a young girl during the 1942 floods.
"I lived in a house four doors down during the 1942 floods and it was nothing like this," she said.
"It will probably be another eight weeks before we can get back in.
"We have eight-foot ceilings and the water was only about six-eight inches off the roof."