The bus from Townsville to Tully was not particularly long but had a meal break for those heading all the way to Cairns. I’m well aware that I’m heading to what is in all fairness a disaster zone but until the meal break I had not seen much evidence of it. The stop was at Cardwell, just half an hour from Tully and the devastation from Yasi was clear. Every second building was damaged and quite a few were simply flat.
In Tully itself the damage is not so obvious but even arriving in semi darkness I notice the absent roofs and makeshift tarpaulins where they once stood.
Tully is another of my volunteer stops, this time working with Blaze Aid helping to clear up the damage caused by Cyclone Yasi and the floods. I lived through the Brisbane floods and stupidly got myself hurt in them so couldn’t really go out and help in the aftermath in case my leg got infected so instead I’ll help out here. Even though Yasi struck on the 2nd of February, almost 4 months ago, people are still struggling. The news crews have left and the world has moved on but those who live here do not get that luxury. Blaze Aid itself was set up to repair lost fences and help out the farmers after the Black Saturday fires down in Victoria and now they follow the same idea after the recent devastation Queensland has had.
As a volunteer for Blaze Aid I get the pleasure of living in the Tully Show grounds which on arrival I am pleasantly surprised to find means some camp beds in a port-a-cabin or what an Australian would call a “Donger” rather than the tented campsite I had imagined. I arrive just in time for dinner so meet the rest of the volunteers which to my delight includes two Scots. One from Oban and the other from Edinburgh. It may sound silly but actually being called by my real name and in a Scottish accent, rather than the various European attempts at it, made my week.
I’m not told very much about what I’m doing in the morning other than the fact that it’s a half six start each day so it’ll be a nice surprise in the morning to find out what I’ve gotten myself into.