Leader, State Emergency Service
The SES provides a very necessary service to the community, often working in tricky situations to save lives.
RESCUE AND ESCAPE
About five years ago we had an activation to an incident in Singsby Road, Mount Tamborine, where a landowner heard somebody calling for help over the side of the escarpment.
We arrived there about 7.30 in the evening and did a night search, down over the escarpment, for approximately five hours. Then it was called off.
Next morning we came back and searched again. This went on for about two days.
During the evening the team I was with could hear the gentleman we were looking for, calling for help. But every time we tried to call him, he would shut up. While we were talking we could hear him. When we weren’t talking we couldn’t hear him.
It turned out that this gentleman had a police record. He didn’t want to be found by us – thinking we were the police, and not the SES!
After three days our search was called off.
After four days the gentleman was found by an army officer, down in the Coomera Gorge, pretty close to ‘had it’.
I remember the road down to Canungra – we called it the ‘goat track’– a really hair-raising dirt road off the mountain. At one of the worst bends was a sign on the tree saying, ‘Prepare to meet thy maker.’ And it was very appropriate. The sign has gone now but the road’s still not all that safe.
CHANGES FOR GOOD AND ILL
The mountain has changed. There are far more people, more houses, but also far more vegetation; because, when we first came here, although the rainforests [on the escarpment] were the same, on the top it was mostly bare. At one stage the people on Tamborine were proud that you could see from one end [of the plateau] to the other and there wasn’t a tree in sight. There were a lot of dairy farms on the top and now a lot of that land is greener. That’s the upside of people building houses and making gardens; there are a lot more trees now.
Like everything else, it’s not what it used to be. It’s getting really busy. It’s not the little hideaway that it was.
The wonderful biodiversity we have on the mountain – or still have, at the moment – is threatened by over-development; by not treating waste water properly, by weeds and by people. The whole environment is changing and things that are susceptible to the change are going… Animals, plants, insects, frogs; all those things that make up a whole ecosystem.
Maybe these days children are learning more about the environment at school. Hopefully they’re getting more interested and will look after things better. That’s something you can only hope for and do your best to help along. You probably won’t be able to tell until three hundred years into the future…
But whatever we do now we have to consider what effect it will have three hundred years from now. I hope we can convince enough people to do just that.