Brethren Work around the clock to help save Nathalia

On 28th February 2012 more than six inches of rain fell east of Nathalia followed by a further four inches the following day. The volume of water exceeded anything ever seen in this area before as it worked its way westwards across flat farmland towards the Murray River. The town of Numurkah had succumbed to the mighty tide and Nathalia was the next town in its path.

PBCC - Tinnies At Work

The State Emergency Services ordered an evacuation. The aged and the very young were moved to Shepparton but the residents of Nathalia, including the Plymouth Brethren community, (established in 1888), chose to stay and defend. They had three days to prepare.

PBCC Nathalia Sandbagging

The Brethren, shoulder-to-shoulder with other Nathalia residents, started the sand-bag filling operation in a coordinated way, introducing innovative, home-made bag-filling hoppers which sped up the process ten-fold.

PBCC - Nathalia All Hands on deck

Included in the effort was Brethren students from the local Glenvale Campus.

PBCC - Nathalia Sandbagging all Night

The Shire yard was to be closed at 8:00pm each night but when the authorities saw how the Brethren had dedicated themselves to working through the night in teams to ensure that the supply of filled sandbags was never interrupted, they changed the arrangements and the supply of sand was increased. Brethren community members joined in the human chains passing sandbags to create the levees and made available their forklifts and trucks, while the woman folk joined in helping out in the Community Hall kitchen, preparing and providing food in shifts through the night, night after night for weary SES, CFA, Victoria Police and Nathalia residents.

PBCC Loading Trucks

On Sunday afternoon the Brethren attended a Church service and were no sooner finished when a Brethren community member’s mobile rang – it was Ross Hamilton, SES Divisional Commander asking for a team of sandbaggers to please resume as stocks were running low. During that evening Ross Hamilton came out into the Shire yard and called all the Brethren sandbaggers together, which included boys and girls and said that he wanted to thank them personally for their incredible, selfless and reliable efforts in filling tens of thousands of sandbags at all times of the day or night – without which the town was sure to have been lost. He said he had been SES Commander at the previous Kerang floods and that the Brethren’s efforts there had been exactly the same.

PBCC  - Nathalia Leanne Hawkey

Leanne Hawkey

PBCC - Moira Shire Council

Letter – Moira Shire

PBCC - Nathalia CFA

Nathalia CFA Letter


16 thoughts on “Brethren Work around the clock to help save Nathalia”

  1. PBCC member says:

    There are several places in France that pbcc members live, and where there is a RRT – and they would spring to attention in a crisis if an issue arose.

  2. catfish says:

    neet you are such a hero how can i thank you?

  3. Ty says:

    Good job!

  4. Daniella Albert says:

    Was this a totally selfless act? I mean, would the PBCC have done the same if it was a village without brethren members in it?

    1. Anna says:

      Hello Daniella
      I’ve just been reading Leanne Hawkey’s letter above and also the post about Kerang where they worked with the Lion’s club to get food to outlying towns – don’t know whether this helps with your question?

    2. Neet says:

      Daniella (and Anna) YES, we did the same to the towns without brethren members!!….in Kerang I was part of the team that organised the food to go out on boats to outlying towns (no brethren members there), also we spent one night working in with the army to send out around 80 pallets of sandbags we had filled to a town called Murrabit (no PB there), with some PB members going out and staying out there all night to unload the trucks. (it was an extreamly dangerouse trip as it was mosly all under water and some bridges where weak) we also sent sandbags out to Benjaroop (no PB there), and I believe some PB’s went and sandbagged at a town called Lake Boga. (someone may be able to confirm?) – this may answer your question?

    3. Laura says:

      This has no relevance to Nathalia but in UK items you will see a lot of instances whjer the PBCC have been to places they have nothing to do with just to help out. inother words – no we do not do it to get praise from other people as we know we are just exactly the same as everybody else.

    4. Leigh says:

      Yes I’m convinced they would have done – in the South West of England for example they have helped out in almost exactly the same way in Lostwithiel (Cornwall), Bovey Tracey (Devon) during the recent flooding and countless other towns and villages where no PBCC members live. I’m sure there would be lots of other examples throughout the world!

    5. Daniella says:

      Who do you think we are. Some sort of people that are out to get attention for ourselves or something? If that is what you think then you are wrong. We are simply trying to help other people when in need.

  5. Holly says:

    All I can say is WOW. reading those letters and the report of what those people did just left me amazed. To think that the fire brigade could not have managed witthout them – they must have worked SO hard. It makes me ashamed when I think of my complaining of the bit of rain on Friday!
    But as ‘Granny’ says….. We all KNEW it would be like this. Once again, they have quietly got on and helped out and no, it’s NOT so they can be recognised as heroes or anything stupid like that.
    It is because they are simply wanting to help – like the Bible says we should.

  6. fdra says:

    Yes PBCC are working currently on it to set up a structure that will start within this Year (2013).

    1. Jo says:

      Please let me know whent French team is setup – I’d love to give a hand if at all possible?

    2. Oiccic says:

      just can’t wait to help !!!

  7. Neil says:

    Absolutely incredible!!!
    Extreme sacrifice of them all.

  8. Joe says:

    amazing job that these RRT do. Is there any RRT in France? I live in France and I’d like to know if there are any of theses PBCC RRT because they sound pretty helpful!

  9. granny says:

    Well – what can we say? We all KNEW it would be like this, didn’t we?
    Our prayers go with you all – the regular emergency services, those affected by the floods, the PBCC teams – and yes, the armchair critics too -they are welcome to change sides, pull on their gloves and get stuck in!!!

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