My thoughts on the Mud Army

The Mud Army was a term being used by the media to descibe the volunteers that helped thousands of Brisbane residents prepare for and recover from the flooding from the Brisbane River (after the Toowoomba flash floods Mon 10 Jan 2011).  Like mud, the name just stuck.

I had the privilege of being part of the ‘uniformed division’ of the Army in my SES orange overalls.  After watching the news of our regional Queensland towns being flooded, and just wanting to get out to help them, I (along with hundreds of others) was needed in my own backyard.  The weather forecast had not been good, but I had no idea that I’d ever see the Brisbane River get so high.  I also had no idea that the general public would roll up their sleeves and help.

To me, the Mud Army is not a label which is limited to the Brisbane City Council-registered volunteers.  Did you fill a sandbag? Did you help someone evacuate? Did you carefully pull sodden possessions out of someone’s home? Did you check on a neighbour, a friend, a complete stranger? Did you cook sausages or drive down the street handing out cold drinks? Did you get in your own car and just drive? Did you join up with other friends, businesses or community groups?  Then in my books you’re an honaray member of the Mud Army, whether you were in the council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Emerald, Condamine, Rockhampton … anywhere across 75% of our beautiful state where the rivers just couldn’t contain their contents.

These fantastic people deserved an identity, so I thought it would be great if they had a t-shirt – something to wear with pride to say they were part of something great.  So I posted on the Today Show’s facebook page.  And someone read it.  And someone took notice.  And Cam mentioned it to Premier Anna Bligh who loved the idea.  And before I knew it, the Today Show had everything organised.  Wow.

I’m blown away that a simple idea like this was embraced and made a reality.  I love that the proceeds will go to the Flood Relief Fund.  I think this is an opportunity for those who couldn’t be part of the Army to show their support of the volunteers and contribute to the Relief Fund at the same time.  One one hand, I wish I had enough cash to give all of the volunteers their own tshirt for free .. but that amount of money would do significantly more good in the Flood Relief Fund instead.

 To the Mud Army, it was a pleasure to serve alongside you.  You served the homeowners with enthusiasm, determination and most of all, respect and no job was too hard or beneath you.  

Who knows when the Mud Army’s tour of duty will end?  Some say that Brisbane had had all of the focus.  I think the response here was necessary due to the sheer size of the impact (including the central business district of our state’s capital) and it’s proximity to volunteer help.  I know that the towns outside of Brisbane are hurting too and I also know of Brisbane Mud Army members who would deploy across our state in a heartbeat.  Brisbane still has a while to go before a complete recovery which I think needs to be balanced with the recovery of the regional towns.  If only we had enough resources to tackle everything simultaneously, because with the influx of a large number of out-of-town volunteers would come accomodation, travel, food requirements etc on an already stressed town.  That’s not an excuse, that’s just a personal obervation.

And I’ll leave you with one more personal observation – the response from the Premier and her office.  This is not a political advertisement (being a kiwi, I’m not even allowed to vote here), but I think it’s important that you know that whilst Anna Bligh deals with the recovery of the economy of her state capital, the recovery of 75% of her state (businesses, farmers, homeowners all impacted) and questions from the media and others about whether this could have been predicted better, she has time to ensure her office follows up my little story about a t-shirt idea.  That’s impressive leadership.



25 thoughts on “My thoughts on the Mud Army

  1. ハロー!うちはごく普通の男です。ここのところかなりつらい悩みがあるんです。ですからちょっと悪い感じの生活です。その悩みというのは、男の悩みである包茎のことです。今から12年位前でした。学生時代に修学旅行がありました。泊りだからみんなでお風呂に入るときがありました。友達みんなで風呂に行ったんです。みんなでチェックし合いをしました。私だけが、包茎だったのです。社会人になってからでも、あの銭湯ときに見られた恥ずかしさは今このときも思い出したくありません。ですがうちは包茎手術をする決心をしました。施術ができるところはいっぱいあるようです。特に気になっているのは、水戸中央美容形成クリニックかABCクリニックですね。まず、家から近いっていうのが決め手ですね。あとは、施術のお金が安いことです。でもすぐに手術をやるのは不安ですから、相談をしてみようと思います。ABCクリニックでカウンセリングを受けてみようかなと思います。

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  5. I’m buying four Mud army T-shirts for my family members that helped me clean the mud out after the flash flood went through our property and inparticular our new shed

    Mud Army t-shirt
    You can order a Mud Army t-shirt by sending your details to the following:
    Size: Small, Medium, Large
    Cost $20
    Send an address envelope to:
    GPO Box 72
    Brisbane Qld 4001
    Cheque or money order for the exact amount made payable to:
    The Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal
    ABN: 69 689 161 916
    Return postage and handling will be covered by Channel Nine
    Allow 10 business days for delivery
    Only available while stocks last

  7. This is a great idea which I’m sure will raise a lot of money. Am not sure the event at Suncorp was the right place to gage popularity – by the time we went everything was packed away yet it was still being televised here is QLD – we forgot about the daylight time difference doh! There were heaps of people arriving when we left.

  8. hey scuffy
    the tshirts are a great way to remember efforts of a great bunch of people. i want to buy nine for my personal mud army who did such a fantastic job at my place when i was flooded. i would like to get them soon while it is still fresh.

  9. My children and I would love to purchase Mud Army t-shirts as a way of helping those in need and who will go on being in need of helpfro a long whileto come. It is also a way to remind us of being proud of the excellent work done by everyone, whether you were a Queenslander or not, in Queenslands time of crisis. Brillant idea 🙂

  10. Thanks for your great idea SCuffy! At least 4 in my family wish to purchase Mud Army t-shirts, not just as acknowledgement of our own involvement on the Mud Army team, but also to further support those who are still doing it tough. I hope the Today team doesn’t waste any time before making the t-shirts more readily available available. I am aware of dozens of interested people.

  11. Hi, I would like to buy 2 Mud Army T shirts. I have been in Asia while the floods happened and only returned home to Darwin last Saturday. My wife and I were very concerned as we have only recently bought a house in Bundaberg which luckily escaped the disaster. We will be moving to Qld later this year to live. We have already donated to the appeal but would like to give a bit more and I think the quote on the back of the shirt says it all about the character of Queenslanders.

  12. We would love to purchase 4 mud army T. shirts but are unable to go to suncorp stadium.Please advise us where else we could purchase one
    thank for this very good idea

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