Flood flag a symbol of resilience

UNVEILED: Governor-General Quentin Bryce visits Gatton to unveil the flood flag (inset). Photos: Luke Willey/Voice Photography
UNVEILED: Governor-General Quentin Bryce visits Gatton to unveil the flood flag (inset). Photos: Luke Willey/Voice Photography

NATIONAL Flag Day celebrations in the Lockyer Valley this weekend took on special significance as Governor-General Quentin Bryce visited to unveil the iconic Flood Flag and highlight the Australian spirit of the community.

Lockyer Valley Regional Mayor Steve Jones said the unveiling of the flag at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre was an important metaphor in the flood recovery.

"It's very important because during the floods and after, the Australian flag was displayed throughout the valley," he said.

"This particular flag was retrieved by the army after the flood and was given to the Prime Minister who displayed it in the Great Hall at Parliament House for some months and eventually, when I was there for the National Local Government Conference, called me down and presented it to me.

"I brought it back and we have mounted in a frame here at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre.

"To unveil the flag today is very symbolic of the destruction of the floods and the resilience of the people who were affected."

Cr Jones said the support from the Governor-General has been unfailing.

"She has always been interested in how we are going and this about her fourth visit since the flood," he said.

"As dignitaries go, the support from the Governor-General has been the strongest that I have seen."

Ms Bryce said the muddy flood flag had become a reminder of the origins of the Australian flag.

"Our flag was first flown September 3, 1901 and since that time it has been raised in joy and lowered in sadness," she said.

"I am sure the symbolism of the flag is not lost on the people of the Valley.

"It serves as a memento of the January floods and a reminder of the resilience of those who were flood affected.

"I am sure this Valley that Queenslanders have come to know as our salad bowl will continue to thrive and recover."

ADC Commander Brigadier Paul McLachlan said the flag was discovered on January 14 in a pile of debris in Murphys Creek.

"During the investigation of the debris, the crew found the flag tangled up in some barbed wire and covered in mud," he said.

"Despite the worst of nature, it had survived, which is representative of the residents in the Lockyer Valley.

"It was a little worse for wear but still recognisable and is an admirable symbol for the community.

"Although it bears the scars of what happened in January, its resilience is a testament to the Australian spirit."

Cr Jones said the consultation with residents will be undertaken to find a permanent home for the flag.

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