Our Disaster Relief Teams responded to the catastrophic flooding that impacted Queensland and New South Wales in March 2022. Operation Riordan was one of Disaster Relief Australia’s (DRA) biggest operation commitments, deploying 714 volunteers to respond to 526 requests for assistance. Operation Riordan launched on 13 August and focused on home and property repairs. While we paused operations to restock and repair, another catastrophic flood hit the NSW Northern Rivers region.
The region has suffered relentlessly. DRA’s aim was to help get the community safe, secure, and warm. We are so proud that our motivated volunteers turned up to give a hand up where it is needed most.
QLD Flood Recovery Operation
Back to Northern Rivers August 2022
DRA responded to the March catastrophic flooding in QLD and NSW during the six-week deployment of Operation Kelliher.
After a break in operations allowing us to make repairs to and service our equipment, restock supplies and assess work completed to date, we planned to recommence further flood recovery operations in Northern NSW.
Area of Operations
The NSW Northern Rivers region experienced its worst flooding in history. This centred on (but was not limited to) Lismore Council, Richmond Valley Council and Byron Shire Council areas. Heavy to extreme rainfall fell across various parts of the area with flooding of numerous rivers and creeks. Extensive damage occurred to farmland, towns, and villages across the area. Ongoing periods of rain hampered efforts to affect a quick recovery, and large areas are still struggling to find a way back.
Flood Recovery Taskings
Operation Kelliher focused on urgent flood recovery tasks like debris removal and ‘muck out’ activities. The new operation had a greater focus on temporary home and property repairs in an effort to assist the community return to their homes.
The story behind the name
Operation Riordan is named for Ellen Agnes Meline Riordan, a courageous nurse who won seven medals during both World Wars.
ANZAC Nursing Corps member Ellen Riordan, known as ‘Nell’, was born in 1889 to John and Elizabeth Riordan of ‘Bella Vista’ in Steve Kings Plain, Wyrallah. She was awarded seven medals during both World Wars.
Nurse Riordan enlisted on June 16, 1915 as a staff nurse after training at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. During the ANZAC campaign, Nell served aboard the hospital ship, HMAT Kanowna, which transported injured soldiers from Gallipoli. A few years later, she became Matron-in-Chief at Choubra Infections Hospital in Cairo, Egypt after relocating to Greece and remained until the armistice. As a result of her nursing services to Greece, she received the Greek Medal of Military Merit from King Alexander in 1919.
After World War I, Nell worked in military and civilian hospitals in Kenya and Ethiopia. In 1968 she was accepted into the Gallipoli Legion of ANZACs.
She finished her military service before continuing her nursing career in Australia, eventually retiring to Coraki. She died in on March 24 1978 and is buried at Tucki cemetery. Her citation and medals are on display at Richmond River Historical Society, Lismore.
Community costs saved
Work orders completed
NSW Northern Rivers Flood Recovery Operation 2022
DRA’s flood recovery operation in Northern Rivers, NSW