Floodwaters over Glasshouse Road at UQ's St Lucia campus. Picture: Geoff Dennis.
Floodwaters over Glasshouse Road at UQ's St Lucia campus. Picture: Geoff Dennis.
12 January 2011

Electricity has been reconnected to The University of Queensland’s (UQ) St Lucia campus after a power outage earlier tonight (12/1/2011).

The University’s back-up power generators kicked in when electricity was cut at 6.30pm, but full services were resumed shortly after 8pm.

Although UQ's St Lucia campus was officially closed today, a team of almost 40 staff from UQ's Security and Property & Facilities sections have been working since dawn to secure facilities and minimise flood damage on the campus.

The majority of The University's buildings are not flood affected, however low lying sports grounds and some buildings are experiencing low-level inundation.

Staff used boats to rescue floating solar panels that had been stacked ready for installation on the UQ Centre. Marine science research boats that were sitting on their trailers this morning have been secured so they can float on the rising flood waters, but not float away.

The team is stationed at the campus tonight as floodwaters continue to rise, with a peak expected around 4am tomorrow morning.

UQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Keniger said flood levels reached the one in a century flood level by 8am this morning and by midday had almost reached the 1974 mark.

“We are expecting water levels to rise further over the next two days and so all classes have been cancelled until further notice and staff have been directed to stay home,” Professor Keniger said.

“There is a lot of water covering low lying areas of the campus and some buildings are being affected.”

Specific campus buildings that are already experiencing flooding include buildings along Glasshouse Road, the swimming pool complex, tennis centre, basements of multi-level carparks, a Corporate Services building, Human Movement building, the Chemical Engineering Building, and the basements of the Sustainable Minerals Institute and UQ Centre. Some of the residential accommodation is also experiencing minor flooding.

Access to the campus is restricted, with the Eleanor Schonell Bridge to be closed and some access roads under water.

Professor Keniger said electricity supplies would be cut to buildings at risk of inundation as a precaution. Sewage services have also been lost to some parts of the campus.

“The University’s Security and Property & Facilities staff are coordinating efforts to minimise the potential impact of the floods on buildings and associated infrastructure where possible,” Professor Keniger said.

Professor Keniger said flood water levels were dropping at UQ’s Gatton campus, which remains isolated.

He said there were 55 people still at the Gatton campus, but they are safe and well supplied. Electricity generators are maintaining power supplies to the campus.

Both the Ipswich and Herston campuses have not been affected by flooding, but are closed to allow staff and students affected by the flooding to remain at home.

UQ medical students due to commence placements at the Rockhampton Rural Clinical School are advised that placements will commence on 24 January 2011 as planned.

However, a medical student orientation planned for Toowoomba, also on 24 January 2011, may be postponed. Deputy Head (Clinical Schools) of the School of Medicine, Professor Geoff Cleghorn, said students will be notified of any changes via email in coming days.

Professor Cleghorn said that the teaching facilities and student accommodation in Rockhampton and Bundaberg had not been affected by floods, but asked students travelling to Rockhampton to check road conditions and take due care.

Professor Keniger said the University expressed its concern and sympathy to students and staff whose friends or families have been affected by flooding throughout Queensland.

The next update on UQ campus operations will be posted on the UQ Homepage at 10am tomorrow (13/1/2010).

University Security will remain on campus and may be contacted for a recorded update on conditions across the St Lucia, Ipswich and Herston campuses on 07 3365 1234. In case of emergency, Security may be contacted directly on 07 3365 3333.

Road closures and flooding

For information on road closures, flooding and public transport, please refer to the following resources:
Brisbane City Council
ABC Local Radio
Bureau of Meteorology
Queensland Government Traffic and Travel Information

Free counselling is available to staff through UQ's Employee Assistance Program provider, Davidson Trahaire Corpsych (DTC) telephone 1300 360 364.

The Queensland Government has launched an appeal to help fellow Queenslanders affected by the recent floods. For details of how to donate, please visit: www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

Media: UQ Communications, Jan King, 0413 601 248, or Kathy Grube, 0418 524 297.