Publisher’s Note | Autumn 2024

The recent FNQ Floods are something we as a community will never forget. It was a harrowing experience for so many, and one that has left deep scars on our people and environment that are still struggling to heal. One thing the floods caused by Cyclone Jasper showed us was what our community was made of – phenomenal every day human beings doing extraordinary acts of bravery to help their fellow man, woman and child. We had men and women put their lives on the line to save complete strangers in croc infested and flood ravaged waters. Or scoop them off the rooftops of their homes before they were completely inundated. How only one life was lost in the middle of this catastrophic ordeal is nothing short of a miracle. But let’s not just state him as a number, let’s speak his name – Ray Dark, an 85 year old Degarra resident, whose body was never recovered and his family unable to lay his remains to rest to this day. This poor local family felt the full brunt of the floods along with the entire communities of Degarra, Bloomfield, Ayton and Wujal Wujal.

While the entire community of Wujal Wujal were airlifted out within 48 hours of the flood impact, our remote far northern neighbours of Degarra, Bloomfield and Ayton were left behind. They were forced to experience what it was like to fight for their survival for a prolonged period of time as emergency services claim that they were unable to get to them, grounded by safety concerns in what was this community’s time of need.

We are immensely grateful that all of them, except Ray Dark, survived and have lived to share their stories. News crews from across the country in the wake of the events have quite rightly shone the light on their remarkable resilience and toughness, but as a 4th generation local who witnessed first-hand the devastation that unfolded during those floods and the long lasting physical and mental impact it has had on those survivors, one has to ask how the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was not deployed sooner given the gravity of what was unfolding. It’s left many reeling and still unable to come to terms with being forgotten. Whose job was it to remember them? Why weren’t their calls to Triple Zero and SES answered, not only on the day, but many days and weeks following? There are so many questions, and so few answers to what was a dramatic failure in our disaster management system.

While we don’t want to focus on the negative as we’ve had more than our fair share of that as a community, in this edition we want you to hear from these amazing heroes as they share their first-hand accounts with our journalist Stacey Carrick. These are their stories – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

I know it was equally therapeutic and traumatic for many of them to relive their experiences so we could adequately tell their stories, and for that we are forever grateful that each of them took the time to sit down with us so this devastation could be appropriately documented for all to read.

To every single community member or business who volunteered or stepped up in any way to support our community, we salute you. You are what make this community what it is – the best region on Earth.


CityLife Magazine® is published quarterly by CityLife Media Pty Ltd March 2024 to May 2024. All material within the publication remains the property of the publishers unless permission is otherwise sought in writing. Those who make advertising placement and or supply editorial content to CityLife Magazine® undertake to ensure all material does not infringe copyright, trademark, defamation, libel, slander or title. The above mentioned patrons agree to indemnify the publishers against any investigations, claims or judgements. The views expressed in CityLife Magazine® are those of the contributors, and are not necessarily shared by the publication. CityLife Media Pty Ltd copyright March 2024 to May 2024.

Bill Dunn (FNQ Flood Survivor)
Degarra, Far North Queensland
Photographed by Brian Cassey