Massive effort to feed the Emergency crews – Bundaberg Australia

Severe Weather and Flooding at Bundaberg – 26 January 2013 to Date

On 26 January 2013 ex-tropical cyclone Oswald created chaotic conditions adjacent to Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.  Two communities on the coast, about 15 – 20 km from Bundaberg, suffered from a series of small but destructive tornados.  A disaster area was declared and emergency services were rushed in to attend to the crisis.

Meanwhile the ex-cyclone was delivering rain in flood proportions in the extended catchment area of the Burnett River.  Rainfalls of around 500 mm were recorded in the hinterland, and it became apparent that a major flood event was about to happen.  By 8 AM on the 27th the Burnett River at Bundaberg had reached levels near to the 2010/2011 flood, and the river was still rising.  Officially it was getting difficult to forecast the expected levels.

On 29 January 2013 the river peaked at 9.52 m in Bundaberg.  This exceeded all heights since records started in 1870.  Mass evacuations were ordered and temporary accommodation was set up.  The north side of the city was cut off from the CBD; Bundaberg was isolated as all access roads were cut.

On 27 January 2013 members of the local Plymouth Brethren Christian Church offered to help the SES (State Emergency Service) and initially it was agreed that the Church would provide breakfast on three mornings to about 100 SES personnel.  During Monday this escalated dramatically as other charities were diverted to the support of evacuees.

Since then the Plymouth Brethren Response Team have been serving three meals a day to up to more than 150 personnel; there have been SES people, ambulance personnel (the Bundaberg Ambulance Service was evacuated) Police officers, helicopter pilots, a few council workers and even a small number of Red Cross people.

As at 2 February 2013 there is no firm indication of how long the service will be needed but for planning purposes it is assumed that food service will be needed up to 15 February 2013.  Plans are changing by the hour as the flood-waters recede and teams are deployed for the massive clean-up operation.

The Bundaberg Church is being supported by Plymouth Brethren members in other parts of Australia – there have been supplies of food and equipment and also a roster of helpers.

The actual organisation of the canteen was put together on about 12 hours’ notice, at a time when food supplies in the local shops were depleted and the roads cut; the jump to three meals a day has involved a lot of extra planning and off-site food preparation.  The team have been grateful for donations of food and cash from the general public, and overall the personnel served have expressed delight with the quality of the food and service.

The last meal served by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church for the SES personnel was the evening meal Friday 8 February.  By that stage there had been around 4,000 meals served.

The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church would like to express our gratitude to all of the community who came forward with donations. Support from the Bundaberg businesses has been outstanding, along with many touching donations of food by the public.  Without this evident support of the SES effort there could have been real issues in the food and equipment supply.

The list below represents the many donors that have been identified – sincere apologies to any that have been overlooked, all donations were greatly appreciated.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Pty Ltd V Cees Wholesale Distributors
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School P & F Association Dontors
IGA X-press – Avoca Foodworks 56 Walker Street Bundaberg
Rum City Foods Aldi Stores Kepnock
Woolworths, Bargara North Coast Frozen Food
Farmfresh Fine Foods St Vincent De Paul Society McLean St
Lindsay Brothers Bi Lo Supermarkets Bundaberg
Chics Pies Red Rooster Bundaberg
Bundaberg Taxi Co The Cheesecake Shop Bundaberg
Beemart Enterprises Rise the Bakehouse
Bundy Fresh Food Market J. A. Toft & Co
Nana’s Pantry Beachmere Bakery, Sharon Toohey
Bundy Maid Pizza Hut Bundaberg
IGA X-Press – Kepnock Domino’s Pizza Bundaberg
Bundaberg Refrigerated Transport Eagle Boys Pizza – Bundaberg
Freshfield Meats Emily Webster
Barritts Butchery Pamela Tyrie
Bargara Bakery & Coffee Shop Greg & Lyn Nicholson
Mike Nevin Debra, Charters Towers
Ken’s Kepnock Butchery Cameo Ash
Bauers Butchery Princess Street Various anonymous members of the public
Bundy Ice





QAS Testimonial

Tandoh Testimonial

Plymouth Brethren testimonial

Robert McLachlan testimonial

SES Brisbane Thanks to RRT

EMQ Letter of Appreciation

PBCC - Josie Montano Testimonial

Josie Montano Testimonial

Plymouth Brethren - Commissioner Letter

Letter from the QLD Commissioner PDF

Plymouth Brethren - Helen MacRonald Letter of Thanks

Helen MacRonald Letter of Thanks

Plymouth Brethren - Thank You from Glenn Green

Thank You from Glenn Green



32 thoughts on “Massive effort to feed the Emergency crews – Bundaberg Australia”

  1. Chris says:

    All the thanks and appreciation the PBCC have received for their unselfish work during the Bundaberg floods can be attributed to the Leader and Completer of our faith – our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the same in character but of course different measure. Let it extend and be magnified for ever!

  2. the masked typer says:

    You guys were the best, and I havn’t been fed so much on an activation ever.
    The food was great and was always served with a smile

  3. kiwi says:

    Very interesting – Keep up the great work guys! Just wondering if you have a response team here in NZ? I know alot of Brethren and they are good people, but I haven’t heard of them helping out in emergencies?

    1. Andrew says:

      Hello Kiwi,
      We were heavily involved in the Christchurch emergency response. (I think there is an article on that here or on the main website)
      I’m not sure what other projects we have been involved with, a lot of help is done locally and possible little noticed or seen.
      It would be nice if there weren’t too many big emergencies here, but when they happen I would suspect you’ll find some PBCC people helping out somewhere!
      So many opportunities to help are impromptu, like the recent surf rescue in Auckland region by a PBCC member.

    2. Rick says:

      Hello Kiwi,
      Yes they have responded to emergencies in the past including the Christchurch Earthquake ( They also support a lot of charities etc. (

      No doubt there would be many more things they would do and have responded to…these are just a couple of examples of their selfless attitude towards all men.

    3. ex-kiwi says:

      Hello Kiwi
      I know in the small town where I grew up in NZ, the Brethren are very well known and respected. A few years ago there was a major fire in a non-PB business house, leaving valuable stock and equipment open to the possibility of looting. The local PBs set up a roster to guard the premises nightly, for a number of weeks. This of course was totally voluntary – a service they gladly provided to the devastated business owners. More recently, some members of the PBs crucially supported the local police, at the time when the Police Force there was under-staffed, when a mob attacked a policeman, rendering him unconscious. One Brethren member was personally thanked by the higher ranking NZPF, crediting him personally with saving the officer’s life! This is typical of the unsung,but not uncommon, type of public service the PBCC offers to the general public.

    4. Baby Hippo says:

      I believe there were also some articles etc from the PBCC around the time of the Greymouth (think i’ve got the name right!) mine collapse??

    5. Ella says:

      Brethren helped out after a number of natural disasters in NZ – my sister lives on the West Coast and I remember her telling us about it…. especially after Christchurch Earthquakes and Pike River Mine Collapse? Admin will confirm if so.
      A lot of the brethren’s work goes on almost unnoticed – whereever there is the need they will be happy to lend a hand 🙂

    6. Anony-mouse says:

      I’m not Admin, but the PBCC in NZ did help out on these events as you say

  4. Mark Ward says:

    Thank you so much for your support. The Ambulance station was lost in the flood as well so having somewhere to sit down and have a meal was fantastic.

  5. Jay says:

    You all were and continue to be AMAZING! I’ve now shared this article on my fb. Thank you very muchly for your support, catering and highly appreciated efforts!

  6. Carolyn says:

    Thank you to all those who helped to feed the massive S.E.S. contingent in Bundaberg and all those behind the scenes who helped to make it happen. You made our job so much easier in a difficult situation. Thanks.

  7. Ed says:

    Hello ABC 123,

    We will continue to serve for as long as the Lord leaves us here – whether that means preaching daily on the street to save a desperate soul, whether that means working a 24 hour shift to save a town, whether that means cooking three meals a day to feed 240 people – whatever it means, through the power and strength given to us through God alone, we will serve. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price. This alone is the inspiration to serve for the Glory of God.

    1. AL says:

      totally agree Ed, we will continue to serve as we have been doing in whichever way it may be needed……giving and sacrifice is what we have been bought up to live by and there is no better way to be happy! God loves a cheerful giver and we love being the cheerful givers! it’s nothing short of JOY…..Jesus first, yourself last and others inbetween.

    2. fred says:


  8. Ian Neale says:

    On behalf of myself and my SES Team – Delta Team 2, I would like to thank you all for your wonderful work in not only feeding us, but also providing cold and hot drinks, whilst we were on deployment down at Bundaberg during the flood disaster recovery process. You did an outstanding job, the meals were excellent, the service and staff were excellent, and the way you conducted the whole process was excellent. I applaud you on your efforts. Especially as this was your very first disaster recovery in Australia. Your team stepped up to the plate, not knowing what they were in for, and delivered in a way which was beyond comprehension. And as i was in the second last team to leave on the last day, it was very fitting that you ALL got a standing ovation from us that were left. And when i left, i went around and shook hands and thanked all of you that were left, personally. Once again, Thank you. Tremendous job. WELL DONE.

    Ian Neale
    SES Team Leader – Delta Team 2
    Business owner – North Queensland Adventure Kayak Tours

    1. rrt member says:

      Thank you Ian! The volunteers in the SES perform an admirable and often unseen service in disaster zones around Australia. It was our priviledge to help you guys out this time and we look forward to helping again as the need arises.

    2. Ty says:

      Three cheers for Ian and all the other volunteers! The world needs more guys like you – unselfish and prepared to do what it takes to help out.

      Thanks for your service!
      A PBCC member

    3. Unknown says:

      As a PBCC member I also thank Ian and the other ones who helped out, for your hard work and dedication in your service to help those in need, we couldn’t do without you..

  9. Phil says:

    Thank for the great meals, smokos and cold drinks served up at SES, Kendalls Road Bundy last week. It was much appreciated by myself and all members who traveled down from North Qld to assist in flood recovery.

  10. Dan says:

    All i can say is WOW!
    And to think the Brethren were there, pre-prepared and ready to assist immediately in such a crisis…what unselfish devotion to the community!

  11. Martin Kelly says:

    On behalf of Chief Superintendent Rony Sapir, may I thank you for continued support for the crews from the Queensland Ambulance, yes we lost our station in the flood, and had to relocate out to Argotrend. We will refurbish the stations interior and continue to serve the community of Bundaberg. The fact that you are supporting our staff with meals and refreshments means that we can continue our work, our station is a large blow up tent at the moment, and we should move into demountables soon back at Bourbong St. In Ambulance culture, a station is like your second home, your support has eased the concerns of our officers. The food drinks, friendly supportive faces, and warm conversations have achieved much more than you can imagine. God Bless from all the officers of the Queensland Ambulance Service.

    1. adjudant says:

      Thanks for your kind words.

    2. RRT member says:

      Thanks very much for your feedback! We thoroughly enjoyed serving the QAS – they were positive, respectful and friendly all the time.

    3. George says:

      thank you very much for your kind words. we are humbled when we are able to help it situtions like this one in Australia and the many others a round the world. as long as we are able to serve you guys that serves each and every day no matter what we are humbled and gratefully of the opportunity!

  12. Lorell says:

    These floods have been been going on for a while now in Queensland. The work that is being done there is fantastic. I also wish I could get involved . It is so enthusing to see everyone pulling together for such a worthwhile cause. I suppose it is how they are brought up?

    1. Ian Neale says:

      Hi Lorell,

      If you do wish to be involved in some way, then join your local SES unit. (If you are in Australia). The SES could do with some more numbers. Everyone has their own skill/s, to be utilised in their place in the SES.

      The way the people are brought up will have a bearing, but it is what is on the inside of the individual, with a willingness to want to help others, (and the willingness to use your own seperate skills to help others), that counts.

      In whatever volunteer organisation you are involved with in helping others in need.

  13. Debbie says:

    This is amazing, I have to say I’m gobsmacked…. I don’t know of any other group that has the resources to carry out this level and quality of teamwork and organisation – I am overawed. They seem to be able to work with anybody and everybody, and can’t go to too much trouble with their assistance – their catering skills are superb (along with everything else they are doing) & nothing seems too much for them.. I agree totally with ‘ABC123’, only they deserve more than 3 cheers, I’d say!

  14. Ann says:

    Excellent to see this post up so soon; please keep us all updated regularly on ‘happenings’ in Bundaberg – Keep up the good work!

  15. VR says:

    great effort – wish i could help out!!
    how many people must get amazing comfort form the actions
    of these bretheren.
    is there some way we ca donate to the cause?

  16. ABC123 says:

    Wow!! What an unselfish act of the PBCC. Where else would you find a group of people pull together and help in such a way.? And they are not only helping their own members but the whole community! Why shouldnt we support them in what they do. Clearly they are only here to help and people think they have the entitlement to call them all sorts of wrong things.
    I know for a fact these people both privately and through their business donate a lot and i am talking tens of thousands of dollars to worthwhile causes.. EG: Careflight, RFDS, Heart Foundation, Cancer research and a massive list of others.. Hey next time you think about bagging these guys out, have a think about how many lives and hearts they have touched in gently leading us to know Jesus Christ as the only one that can set us free from Bondage and Sin and the One who shed his precious Blood so we can be saved.
    Three Cheers for these guys!!!

    God Bless You All and dont give up doing what you are doing!

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