For St Joseph’s School, the first week back at school in 2020 ended with a deluge of rain never seen before. Ovals, classrooms and specialist teaching spaces, including the new Food Technology Centre and extensively refurbished art and design suite, were inundated with water.
The gymnasium, performing arts centre and music rooms were under water, and primary classrooms in the Archdeacon Kelly Centre were also flooded.
Each of these areas were evacuated and floorings and fittings removed, most of which occurred over the weekend. The school was closed on the Monday to continue the clean up or external areas and relocate classrooms.
Steamatic, a company experienced in disaster recovery, spent the following week in the school, drying out rooms and assessing the considerable damage.
Trailer loads of carpets and damaged items were discarded, including stage blocks in the drama area as well as costumes and furniture.
School principal, Dr Sandra Hewson, said the school community was “incredibly resilient”.
“This unexpected start to the year brought out the most amazing example of school and community spirit,” she said.
“The school was inundated with offers from parents and students to assist with the clean-up, and local trades and businesses couldn’t do enough to get the school up and running again on Tuesday.
“Everyone just rolled their sleeves up and did whatever needed to be done, including sweeping, mopping, removing carpet and furniture, cleaning and moving lockers and setting up new temporary learning spaces.
“Adversity brings out the best in our community, and I have been overwhelmed by the positive, generous responses and support.”
Diocesan Director of Catholic Education, Nichii Mardon, visited the school and also expressed appreciation of all the hard work and her “heartfelt gratitude” that the students could return safely and quickly.
Local businesses Aussie Aluminium and Possum’s Deli donated platters for the staff to enjoy for morning tea, and members of the leadership team and staff brought in delicious home-made dishes for lunch, keeping everyone in good spirits.
It is expected that it will take three to six months to repair the damage.Jump to next article