Community & Business

17 January, 2024

Act of kindness goes a long way in helping flood victims

WHEN Robbie Weedon flew over his family home on Emerald End Road in Mareeba after December’s major rainfall event, he was devastated at what he saw.

By Ellie Fink

Robert Cater gifts Robbie Weedon workwear after he lost everything during the recent flooding event.
Robert Cater gifts Robbie Weedon workwear after he lost everything during the recent flooding event.

The banks of the Barron River had given way, causing the water level to surge up to two metres, inundating several homes and isolating Emerald End Road from the rest of Mareeba.

Robbie was working on a cattle station when the flooding happened, with his wife and two-year-old daughter doing what they could to save what they had, but unfortunately, most of what they had was lost.

“There are two houses on my property; one is a Queenslander, and one is a low house, and water came up to just underneath the ridge of the main house,” he said. 

“We had some geese and chickens, and they all died; all my light machinery and the four-wheelers all went down the river – all my tools, the two water tanks for the house, all down the river.”

For the past month, Robbie, his family and friends have cleaned every part of the property, rebuilding everything they had. 

They applied for eight grants through the State Government but were rejected. They also learned they were unable to claim insurance for anything. 

“We got rejected from every single one of them because a household must earn less than $100,000, meaning you and your partner must earn less than $50,000 a year – no one lives on $50,000 a year,” Robbie said. 

“Who are these grants applicable to then? When you see all this advertising for assistance and aid, know there is none, mate. It’s pretty criminal, honestly.

“So, bugger them, we will do it ourselves.”

Despite feeling angry, Robbie still powered through, determined to rebuild his property with the money he saved up. 

While out grocery shopping in Mareeba earlier this month, he ran into lifelong friend and Claude Cater Mensland owner Robert Cater. 

“It was just after Christmas, and he goes, ‘How was your Christmas?’ and I said to him it was pretty (bad) because we didn’t have much of a home, and he began to tear up,” Robbie said. 

“He said to me, ‘Come to the shop, and we will help you get back on your feet’. I really didn’t want to ask for handouts, so I avoided him.

“But I had to go in and get some work shirts, so I didn’t look like a bogan on the job, so I checked to make sure he wasn’t in the shop and tried to buy one shirt and some Crocs (shoes).”

Robbie tried to purchase the items, but the staff refused to take his money, and on his way to the car, he was stopped by Raymond Cater, who brought him back into the store and began filling bags with workwear, towels, bathmats and shoes.

He then opened up his shipping container out the back of the shop and donated the furniture in it to him. 

“I just couldn’t cope with it. I was too much for me emotionally, you know,” Robbie said. 

“I was really angry at the start of the day because I was sick of paying for things I already had, things that were fine when I left for work, like all my pumps and machinery stuff. 

“I was mad about the grants we were denied, so it was overwhelming to receive this help.”

Over the coming weeks, Robbie and his family will return to their home after reconnecting their power, water and piping. 

Robbie thanked the community for their ongoing support of the community, PIMS for helping him rebuild his pumping system and Mareeba Shire Cr Locky Bensted for his assistance. 


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