We Were There: 2013 Floods

When floods overwhelmed our city, we were there

WHEN some ferocious storms and mini tornadoes in January 2013 turned into the worst floods to hit Bundaberg in decades, the NewsMail was there.

Reporter Vanessa Marsh and photographer Max Fleet were the first on the scene after the tornadoes hit in Bargara, while Max later got the only media pictures and video at Burnett Heads in the immediate aftermath of the next round of tornadoes.

And then the true wrath of Mother Nature hit, with the floods that sent the swollen Burnett River to 9.5m and swamped thousands of people's homes across the city.

Despite its own office flooding severely, NewsMail staff covered one of its biggest stories in history from all parts of the region, including having exclusive access to the shocking and dramatic scenes unfolding in North Bundaberg, where the disaster eventually led to the collapse of a section of the Tallon Bridge.

NewsMail editor Liz Carson, who was then the newsroom's chief of staff, helped lead the editorial team through several temporary office moves until they could operate effectively from a computer lab at CQUniversity.

"We faced enormous challenges, but throughout that time we never missed a paper and our website was a focal point of public information, not just for the community but for readers around the country and world," Ms Carson said.

"For weeks we told stories of heartbreak, survival and amazing courage, and later covered the huge rebuilding effort that was required in the wake of one of our worst ever natural disasters."

The NewsMail has been there through all the big breaking stories and community events that are a crucial part of the fabric of the region.

Follow our We Were There series in print and online for the next two weeks, and look back on the issues that have dominated our headlines over the years.

And if you want to share your own recollections, either of big stories to hit the region or simply something personal to you, go to www.news-mail.com.au/your-story and start writing.

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