Waterlogged furniture, office supplies and carpets were piled high outside the Lismore police station.
CAPTION: Army soldiers Sapper Callan Stuart, left, and Sapper Ben Lowe, right, load flood-damaged furniture and equipment from Lismore police station in northern NSW onto a truck. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Warrant Officer Class Two Max Bree.
A pile of rubbish over two meters high met a line on the building where the floodwaters were days earlier.
Australian Army soldiers drove bobcats to remove piles of rubbish, while inside they sliced through water-damaged carpets.
It’s a clean up New South Wales Police say wouldn’t be possible without assistance from the Army after flood water reached the second floor of the three-story building, damaging nearly everything inside.
Sergeant Scott Mostran, normally stationed at Kings Cross police station, watched soldiers remove a high volume of flood-damaged items.
“There is an incredible amount of property, cabinets containing police paperwork, and sensitive equipment, which needs to be guarded and handled sensitively,” Sergeant Mostran said
“Further to that, there are all the simple office supplies that you take for granted – chairs, tables, carpets and underlays, it all needs to go… it’s an incredible amount of stuff.
“Without the Army, we’d be here for months and month trying to sort this – it’s been a fantastic effort.”
Overseeing the soldiers was Lieutenant Riley Lodge, from 9th Combat Service Support Battalion, who was at the Lismore police station for three days as teams shifted more than three tonnes of flood-damaged property.
“The police station was flooded over shoulder height for about three days, so, as you can imagine, it’s an entire office without a single, salvageable item.”
“We’ve had to clear out about 20 years’ worth of police work – there has been tonnes of stuff, all of it sensitive material and those need to be sorted and kept in appropriate places.
“Police really trust us to handle this, we’re trained on sensitive equipment.
Soldiers cleaning up at the station are reservists from 13th Brigade and 9th Brigade who travelled from Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.
More than 100 New South Wales Police also came from Sydney to assist with the recovery and will continue to operate out of temporary lodging at Southern Cross University.