Flood items resurface in op shop
IMAGINE browsing through a thrift store and stumbling upon your personal effects, the very items you believed were in landfill, tossed by the Mud Army following January's flood.
This is the living nightmare faced by Millbank woman Sue Robertson after stumbling upon her jewellery in a Bundaberg thrift store.
But the heartache doesn't stop here, to add insult to injury; she was forced to buy back her own belongings.
It was a trip to the Endeavour Foundation last Thursday that had Mrs Robertson questioning her sanity.
She moved to a counter in the charity store and began browsing a rotating jewellery stand, flipping it with her finger.
As the stand began to spin, a bracelet caught her eye.
"I picked it up and thought my God that looks familiar - but it can't be," Mrs Robertson said.
"I thought to myself, am I getting nutty, do I need to be locked up?"
Endeavour Foundation manager Mick Gerrard said they had taken "no donations", large or small from the Mug Army "at any point".
He said the Endeavour Foundation did not get donations from council refuse or recycling either.
But sure enough, a few days later Mrs Robertson had the confirmation she needed.
A small fault in the bracelet was catching on her clothing, as it always did.
"I knew it was mine," Mrs Robertson said.
On a visit to a Vinnie's store, she found more.
"I walked over to the doll section, and my dolls were there," she said.
Mrs Robertson said she picked up one of the water-stained dolls and could smell the stench of flood.
Knowing her doll had one battery from her husband's work sitting inside; she quickly flipped it around.
Right before her eyes was the confirmation she needed.
"I wasn't nutty, it was mine," Mrs Robertson said.
The woman gathered her possessions from the shop and headed to the counter.
She attempted to explain to the shop attendant.
"I said the dolls were mine, they were thrown out with the floods, but she didn't say anything," Mrs Robertson said.
Instead, Mrs Robertson was forced to put her pennies on the table or leave without her dolls.
"I felt terrible, I was humiliated," she said.
And as the days went on, Mrs Robertson said anger set in.
"The council really should have said they were going to do this," she said.
She believed the council had split the items up between the charity stores.
"To think other people have your stuff and you didn't even get a chance to retrieve it," Mrs Robertson said, tearing up.
The NewsMail asked Bundaberg Regional Council where the items cleaned out of homes by the Mud Army were taken.
A council media officer said the response had been answered in a council media release from February.
The release stated that the items had been buried in landfill or removed and "recycled".
Mrs Robertson said the revelation made her blood boil.
"People think it's all been thrown out and it's in landfill, but it's not," she said.
"Imagine if I saw someone wearing my watch, how would that make me feel?"