Fairfax Media Network

Weather News

Grantham flower grower rebuilds and business is blooming after the devastating flood five years ago.

Arlie Felton-Taylor, Tuesday January 12, 2016 - 10:18 EDT
ABC image
Derek Scholte said he always knew he was going to rebuild and continue his business in its current location near Grantham but it involved a lot of work including replanting 12,000 rose bushes. - ABC

Anniversaries will come and go but the community of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley will never forget the January 10, 2011 when their town was almost wiped out by destructive flash floods.

The raging water took the lives of 12 people, the town was wrecked and the event was covered extensively by the media at the time with the harrowing images difficult to watch even five years on.

It was not just the town of Grantham but surrounding farmland and businesses which had extensive damage.

Local rose grower Derek Scholte had only just realised his dream of his own greenhouse and was actually away at his daughter's wedding when disaster struck and flooded his house and wiped out 12,000 rose bushes.

Mr Scholte arrived back at the farm a week after the flood he faced a terrible scene.

"It was a real shock [to see] how much damage there was and just how much rubbish and how much mud.

"I sat here by myself on the window sill out the front and just thought what am I going to do. I think that was the only moment that I felt a bit desperate."

Mr Scholte said he had made the decision even before seeing the flood damage for himself that he would rebuild and with much sweat and the help of some volunteers he got the job done.

He thought at the time: "The greenhouse is still there, at least the structure is still there and all I have to do is replant.

"Just a couple of days into the recovery someone knocked on the door and said they had a bobcat and I think within half an hour two more, so I had three bobcats to help."

He said by the end of that day the whole greenhouse, half an acre full of rubbish, and roses of course, were cleaned out and taken away.

"I never saw those people again."

"At the same time I had a group of 10 volunteers from Melbourne who helped with hand work for a couple of days."

Mr Scholte said then his family arrived to help clean up and even his brother from the Netherlands came over to lend a hand, which he described as a glorious gesture and support which could not be measured.

The spray rose grower said out of the dreadful flood he has also been able to make some changes to his business.

"Within six months after the floods I was producing again and because the business went well, the years after the flood made enough money to invest in new improvements."

"The first thing I changed was my heating system. I changed it over to a hydraulic heating system and I've backed it up with solar heating, about 15 to 20 per cent of my heat is actually solar heating."

"My water is basically 60 per cent rain water and the rest is filtered bore water."

Derek Scholte said he also changed where he sold his spray roses and now actually sent them west.

"I have a market with the spray roses which is a very nice niche here in this corner of south east Queensland and while they used to go to Brisbane now they go mostly to Toowoomba."

"I'm here in what you call down-town Grantham in the most fertile soil you can imagine, so why not use it.

"I have no fear really and while we know it [the flood] can happen again, the chances are, I think, pretty slim."

Mr Scholte said the town of Grantham held a memorial for the five-year anniversary and said it was clear many were still deeply affected by the event.

"I only lost material things, so for the people who really went through it, I cannot really imagine it."


© ABC 2016

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Rain returns to Sydney

16:12 EST

Sydney is having its first wetter than average month since last June, helping the city recover after its driest start to a year in more than a decade.

Antarctic expeditioners plunge into icy water at Casey Station to mark winter solstice

16:05 EST

[Expeditioners at Antarctica's Casey Station have taken a plunge into -2 degree waters to celebrate midwinter.

Cheeky Canberrans disrobe and jump in the lake to mark winter solstice

15:46 EST

It's the shortest day of the year, so why not take off all of your clothes and plunge into the freezing lake to celebrate? That's what a brave group of Canberrans did early on Thursday morning to mark the winter solstice and raise money for charity.