It was dark. Water was rising and murky. Nestled at the front of a tinnie, Cr Paul Tully had no option. The only way to rescue his two dogs was to dive to the bottom, unsighted, in the hope he could unlock newly-constructed gates. Twice.
The daring underwater rescue of Snoopy and Meggsie is still fresh in the mind of Division 2 councillor Paul Tully.
On the seventh anniversary of the January 2011 floods he remembered the night the family home in Goodna was completely swallowed by rising floodwaters from the nearby Brisbane River.
It was a silent threat that consumed up to 600 other homes and businesses in Goodna. Cr Tully recalled that he left the family home with a heavy heart about 5pm knowing the flood threat was real.
At 8.30pm a neighbour called to tell him there was up to three metres of water around the house.
The Brisbane River had broken its banks but Cr Tully was able to hop in a tinnie with another man and travel to his home.
“I was surprised how fast the water was rising,” he said.
“We had to duck under the railway line because the water was so high that if we hadn’t we would have hit the bridge.
“Then we sailed past the Goodna RSL. It was quite surreal navigating the streets of Goodna in a boat rather than a car.
“The house had metal gates and there was a lock at the bottom. I had to dive down to the bottom of the water with the key in my hand to open it.
“There was a second gate at the house for the dog yard.”
For a second time Cr Tully was forced to take a dive in the murky floodwaters to unlock another two metre high gate.
“The rapid rate the floodwaters rose had me thinking the dogs were dead by this stage and I whistled and whistled.
“To my amazement Meggsie was the first one to appear. She swam through the water like a seal.
“I put her in the tinnie and then Snoopy followed a few seconds later.”
Cr Tully said the thought of having to tell his family the dogs had not made it would have been too much.
“I did speak with a vet afterwards and we think that as the floodwaters were rising, they were going up and up in the strong branches of some lillipillies,” Cr Tully said.
“It was a very stressful time because the boys were overseas with their mum while our home was being submerged and destroyed by floodwaters.
“It wasn’t until sometime later that I was able to ring them and say that I’d been able to save the dogs. It was a really emotional phone call.”
Sadly, three years later the two dogs went missing after vandals left a gate open at the boarding kennels where they were staying.
They haven’t been seen since.