Family finally 'high and dry'

Taking a break from photos at their new home on the hill are (from left) Liam and Lachlan Foyle and grandparents John and Kathy Mahon.
Taking a break from photos at their new home on the hill are (from left) Liam and Lachlan Foyle and grandparents John and Kathy Mahon. Dave Noonan

WHEN they were rescued by helicopter from the roof of their Grantham home during January's floods, John and Kathy Mahon were focused solely on survival.

Just 11 months on, they are the flood-torn town's first family to move to higher ground in the Strengthening Grantham housing estate.

On Saturday, the grandparents had their first look at the purpose-built home they will live in for the next 10 months.

"It's a fantastic feeling to know we can rent this beautiful home while our own house is being built up the hill," Mrs Mahon said.

"It also means we can keep an eye on the estate.

"Being the first people here, it feels like we have a caretaker's responsibility."

Following a historic land swap earlier this year in which residents traded their low-lying land for a similar-sized block outside the flood zone, the Mahons are first family to move into the new estate.

They were at the centre of a media frenzy on Saturday, with journalists coming from around the country to document the milestone.

Premier Anna Bligh's presence was hard to miss, with a trail of camera lenses following her every move.

"Today, Grantham is the centre of attention for all the right reasons," she said.

"A city is being reborn on this hill with a beautiful view."

The government has granted the area a special public holiday on January 10, 2012 - one year to the day when disaster struck.

The Mahons handled the media scrum like seasoned professionals, summoning up 11 months worth of impromptu training.

"We're getting pretty used to having the media around now. It's been happening since the floods," Mrs Mahon said.

Daughter Andrea Foyle said her two sons, Liam and Lachlan, could not wait for the family reunion on Boxing Day.

"The boys love it - they've got a big park, playground and it's not all dusty like the old house," she said.

When he wasn't smiling for the camera, Liam waxed lyrical about his the finer points of the new estate.

"The best part is the balcony, because I can hide up there when Lachlan and I are fighting," he said.

"When I see him, I'll race up and shoot him from the balcony with my (toy) Nerf gun."

Topics:  family floods grantham home queensland government

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