Image: One year ago Redland City's Rotarians were quick to rally the community for the "monster flood fightback".
QUEENSLANDERS nervously watch the clouds and the forecasts this summer. No one would want a repeat of the terrible tragedies that hit the State with the January 2011 floods.
It has been a year of rebuilding for many thousands of families. Builder Ellyott Allan, managing an insurance contract on home restoration in Ipswich, Goodna, Grantham and Toowoomba, says he is delighted to have completed work that allowed about 100 families back into their homes for Christmas.
Ellyott says the post-flood pressures were heavy during the restoration.
"In a project like this, you are dealing with a lot of emotions," he says. "People have been badly traumatised and we have had to reassure them that their lives can get back together again."
AUSTRALIA has been home for New Zealand-born Ellyott, 58, for the past 40-odd years.
He first came here when at age 17 he surfed the NSW North Coast breaks, after growing up in the North Island resort town of Mt Maunganui.
Ellyott has specialised in such large-scale restorations since a storm devastated big areas of Sydney in 1991.
He says he has now been involved in the restoration after about 10 minor and major disasters, including the 1999 Sydney hailstorm that left $3 billion damage in just 20 minutes.
The gratitude of the Queensland homeowners has been a treasured reward for Ellyott and his team.
Ellyott had to 'soldier on' during the year, despite suffering two personal tragedies. In June, his mother Betty Hill died, and two weeks later his wife of seven years, Julie, died from cancer.
Although he has been based mainly in Sydney, Redland City became his second home during 2011.
EARLY in December, he suffered another loss. After dining at a Cleveland restaurant, he drove off, leaving his motorised skateboard on a footpath.
Ellyott says he has used the expensive skateboard because a slip at Brisbane Airport about two years damaged his knee.
"Luckily I can still surf but I am unable to walk any long distances and have relied on the skateboard to get around," he says.
"I realised within minutes that I had left it behind but by the time I returned, it was gone."
Ellyott advertised a reward for the return of the 1.2-metre skateboard. He has been taking a short break before launching a new venture for insurance contracts.
He says the new firm, i Projects Australia, will be based on the Gold Coast and is set for a January 15 launch.
Thanks for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising; this column has appeared in The Redland Times.