KILLARNEY INUNDATED: Snack bar, now Heritage Centre flooded in 2011 floods Photo Paige Ashby / Warwick Daily News
KILLARNEY INUNDATED: Snack bar, now Heritage Centre flooded in 2011 floods Photo Paige Ashby / Warwick Daily News

10 YEARS ON: Community strengthened in face of horror floods

FOR many Warwick residents, even 10 years onwards, the harrowing memories of the 2011 floods are some they'll never forget.

Tomorrow marks the decade anniversary of the Warwick flash flood which was part of a wider flood disaster across Queensland that claimed 33 lives and saw more than 78 per cent of the state declared a disaster zone.

Locally, children walked the streets to find their toys scattered across mud-drenched lawns, Leslie Dam overflowed and the Warwick Hockey Association copped between $500,000-$750,000 worth of damage.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi was a councillor at the time and cannot forgot the sheer number of residents "inundated" by the flood waters

"I remember the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to do anything and not being able to help," he said.

"We've seen plenty of floods over the years but you never forget disaster."

Many had believed the worst was over with a prior December flood leaving a $100 million flood bill for the region but they couldn't have been more wrong.

Residents like David Parry saw their houses ravaged by flood waters only to be left waiting weeks for insurance payouts.

"The mental impact it had on people, to see their valuables ruined and life savings float away is unforgettable," Cr Pennisi said.

"It's why we should always aim to build a better future.

"If you can get even one house out of the flood zone, it's one house that is safe for next time."

The estimated cost of repairs for flood damage to roads and other infrastructure was around $40 million with council pushed to launch preventive action soon after the aftermath.

"Over time, we put in levy banks around the hockey fields," he said.

"We've take impediments out of the stream, tried to make water flow a lot easier, changed the low-lying bridge on Lyndhurst Ln.

"All of those things and activities that will help in the future."

However recovery would have been impossible without the resilient spirit of the Southern Downs, Cr Pennisi said.

A special note was also made to the "unsung heroes" of the SES.

"We live in the best region in the world," he said.

"We have the best people on earth here because we do band together, we're a big family.

"When the chips are down, we help one another. Whether that's floods, fire or drought, we see it come through time and time again."