Flood of goodwill amid Townsville disaster

When their homes were inundated by floodwater the Hartman family sought refuge at “their neighbours” – Carinity Fairfield Grange.

Spence and Tracey Hartman, daughters Charlotte and Mackenzie and their grandmother Judy Humphreys stayed at the aged care community for three days while floodwater swamped Townsville in February.

With floodwater rising around their home, Tracey says the Hartmans approached Carinity for support and were welcomed “as if we were one of their own”.

“They fed us, they housed us, they cared for us, there really was genuine concern for our wellbeing and they essentially shared their home with us,” Tracey says.

“I knew the potential for the upheaval the floods would create for the residents and the staff could see that. They worked really, really hard and should be commended for the high-level care they gave considering the length of time they were on their feet and the volume of residents.

“We helped out where we could and volunteered to keep my kids busy because the water was very loud, you could hear it flowing through the streets. It was an overwhelming experience.”

One hundred days on from the flood disaster that devastated their city, the Hartmans were reunited with the Fairfield Grange staff who assisted them in their time of need.

Tracey says the silver lining of the disaster, described by Townsville’s mayor as a “one-in-500-year” flood event, was the level of care and sense of community experienced at Fairfield Grange.

“We’re forever grateful and we will never forget what they did for us. In our time of need, Carinity and their staff were there. Occasionally I get a little happy tear thinking about it,” Tracey says.

Judy recalls the aged care community’s staff and residents being “beyond hospitable” during her family’s two-night stay.

“Fairfield Grange was an absolute God-send for us, welcoming us so unstintingly after we waded through the water to reach their front door. I don’t know what we would have done without their assistance,” Judy says.

Carinity CEO Jon Campbell praises the dedication and resilience of Fairfield Grange staff during the harrowing experience of the Townsville floods.

“Staff worked tirelessly under difficult conditions to ensure the safety of residents and keep spirits high. While some employees were isolated and unable to come to work, others were stranded at Fairfield Grange for several days,” Jon says.

“A handful of enterprising staff made their way to the riverbanks and community members with boats ferried them to dry land where army personnel drove them through flooded roads to work.

“We are so grateful for the enormous sacrifice our staff, the local community and emergency services personnel made during the flood crisis to ensure those in our care were not in harm’s way.”

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