THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER ON THE ISLANDS . . . . A DAY FROM HELL! The first day of summer in SE Queensland and our islands is supposed to be pristine, beautiful, and hot. This year on Thursday, December 1, 2022, it definitely was no such thing. The islands were pounded by incessant rain and strong winds; probably the worst in a year of wet weather and storms. You could be forgiven for thinking we live in climates much further south in Australia. Not only was it wet and windy, but it was also cold. It was also the day of the month that we at The Friendly Bay Islander pick up our magazine from our Toowoomba printers and have it delivered to all the six islands of Karragarra, Macleay, Lamb, Russell (Canaipa), Coochiemudlo and North Stradbroke (Minjerribah). It was the worst day we have experienced in the 11 years we have been producing this publication. Team member Glen Talbot, who assists with our pick-up and Macleay Island deliveries, admitted it was one of the worst days he had experienced on the islands, and he has been the Macleay Island ‘postie’ for many of those years. He insisted that when we finally got to our delivery vehicle on the mainland, that we ‘turn the heater on’ in the car because it was so cold. Throughout the day it got steadily worse. We were turned away by the great team at the GoldKat to deliver the magazines to Straddie, due to the chaos and the conditions, to return the next day to finally get the delivery to Mark Kruse-Richardson at the Dunwich Post Office. Constant rain and the extremely strong winds hit us and the islands; the winds not abating but becoming increasingly stronger. Returning to the islands by the SeaLink barge; first to Russell Island and then to Macleay Island, the trip was hazardous to say the least. Docking at each of the islands is difficult at the best of times, but in the conditions it was particularly tricky. On the islands the damage could be seen everywhere. The strong winds that prevailed for four days, stripped trees of bark and littered the roads everywhere. There were branches down, causing havoc for Energex crews. On Macleay Island it resulted in a power outage on the first day of summer. The intense low system pounded the entire Queensland Coast, but lingered for longer in the South East, with the islands getting hit for the longest period of time. Finally, the low moved off the coast, but with the strong winds continuing. It was a first day of summer like no other!
* Trees stripped of bark and strewn over the roads on Russell Island.