Only a week ago Richmond River High was underwater, with floods scraping the second-storey ceiling of the Riverside Campus in Lismore.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from 1st Armoured Regiment remove flood-damaged equipment and furniture during a clean up of Richmond River High School in Lismore, New South Wales. Story by Captain Annie Richardson. Photo by Warrant Officer Class Two Max Bree.
With the flood line visible on the high ceilings, all classroom items such as furniture, carpets and books were waterlogged and covered in mud.
On top of this, wood and metalwork shop equipment, shelving, and computers had to be removed.
Commanded by Lieutenant Samantha Chapman, Australian Army soldiers from 1st Armoured Regiment are spending two days clearing out the wrecked classrooms.
“We’ve only been here six hours, but we’ve already managed to remove damaged and destroyed equipment from 11 classrooms and workshops,” Lieutenant Chapman said.
“We just finished clearing out the top floor woodworking facility of all equipment and furniture, and we’re now moving onto the computer labs. It’s all soaked through and unsalvageable.”
With the water reaching nearly 15 metres high, the paint was peeling and the carpets sponge-like, leaving a lot of work left for the troopers.
“The biggest thing that surprised me was the before and after of the flood waters, and the damage caused,” Lieutenant Chapman said.
“There was wood-working equipment hanging from ceiling fans when we walked in this morning.
“We intend to stay at the school until it’s rid of water-damaged equipment, and we’ve cleared it out enough for the council to come make an assessment on the school.”