Beaudesert’s Energex crews are being hailed as local legends as they work hard to restore power to the hardest hit parts of the region.
Local crews were bolstering restoration efforts on Tamborine Mountain and at Cedar Grove and Cedar Vale after Christmas storms decimated the electricity network leaving thousands of people without power or running water.
For some Beaudesert Energex crews, the local natural disaster came straight off the back of their deployment to North Queensland to help restore power after Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
Beaudesert Work Group Leader Shane Castles said it was the biggest local outage he had seen in his four-decade career with Energex.
“I’ve been at Energex for 40 years and this is the most extensive damage I’ve seen in the Scenic Rim area. We’ve had some big events, but this is number one,” he said.
The Christmas storms, which weather experts have described as being similar to a tornado, caused a complete blackout in Beaudesert and nearby communities and caused major destruction on Tamborine Mountain and at Cedar Grove and Cedar Vale.
Two large concrete poles were snapped in half on Millstream Road, bringing down a large 110,000 volt line from Jimboomba to Beaudesert which caused Beaudesert’s outage.
The outage made for strange Boxing Day scenes in Beaudesert, forcing the closure of all businesses including the usually busy service stations and fast-food outlets.
Motorists navigated big intersections without the help of traffic lights as they drove out in search of phone reception, ice and fuel for generators while children, cut off from electricity and internet data for tv or gaming devices, played outside.
Thanks to quick work from local Energex crews most Beaudesert customers had power restored by the early hours of 27 December after about 30 hours without power.
Customers in outlying Scenic Rim communities like the Kerry valley experienced further storm-induced outages but still praised Energex crews for their work.
Beaudesert Energex crews cut their holidays short to help with around the clock efforts to restore power, assisted by crews deployed from places like Mackay, Maryborough and Toowoomba.
Local crews from first-year apprentices to old hands who have been doing it for decades pitched in to get the job done in challenging conditions from heat waves to flooding rains.
Beaudesert’s gratitude to the Energex workers was visible throughout the township, from the local newsagency penning a hand-written ‘thank you’ window display message to a local café proudly making sandwiches to feed the workers.
Mr Castles said crews were also heartened to see drawings left at the depot by local kids thanking them for putting the power back on.
“We are so grateful for the notes and messages of support from the public, and we had people coming out offering us drinks of water and making sure we’re fed right when we’re out trying to get the power back on,” he said.
“The response from the community, considering how long some of them have been without power, has been very heart-warming for all the local crews.”