Rockhampton evacuees, from left, Julie Campbell and Anita Threadgate reflect on their time at the city’s evacuation centre earlier this year.
Rockhampton evacuees, from left, Julie Campbell and Anita Threadgate reflect on their time at the city’s evacuation centre earlier this year. Chris Ison

Pair shocked by shelter behaviour

ANITA Threadgate and Julie Campbell have come forward to lift the lid on events at Rockhampton’s flood evacuation centre, a place where they had an “eye-opening experience”.

The two believe they saw the best and worst of humanity during their two-and-a-half-week January stay at the centre in CQUniversity’s grounds when Rockhampton was under water.

They have backed calls for a code of conduct at evacuation centres, saying the sexual romps, theft, drug use and dirty behaviour, such as faeces in the showers, they saw was enough to ensure they’ll never go to an evacuation centre again.

Earlier this week, The Salvation Army’s Capricorn Region Captain Peter McGuigan said a code of conduct would help set behaviour standards for evacuees in future emergencies.

His comments came after police raised concerns at the flood inquiry in Rockhampton this week about some of the goings on at the evacuation centre, which, at its peak, accommodated 187 people.

Anita and Julie said they were among the first to arrive at the centre.

“It was a real eye-opening experience,” Julie said.

“If we told you everything that went on we’d be here for about three weeks.”

The theft, drug-use, a sex act involving a couple in their 40s, gossiping and the senseless abuse of facilities were among the more off-putting incidents they encountered. Many went unreported.

In one instance the women said they were the targets for a man who was acting aggressively and violently towards them, because he’d been told the couple had informed police about drug use at the centre.

They also alleged a couple in their 40s was involved in a sexual act within sight of children.

But it wasn’t all bad and the pair praised the many volunteers who worked to help those in their time of need.

“A lot of people who were coming to the centre were crying, they had lost so much,” Julie said.

“Understandably they were depressed and then they had to deal with all the goings on.

“There really needs to be a code of conduct for the future.”

They said rather than go to an evacuation centre again they would camp if another flood occurred.

A spokeswoman for the Red Cross, which ran the centre, said a code of conduct was in place at the evacuation centre. The spokeswoman declined to comment on other allegations other than to say any illegal activity was a matter for police.



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