Media Blog

Reporting from Australia’s Flood Zone

Here’s a pretty funny blog post on how the techies of the Australian Broadcasting Company, who’ve been operating as nomads since they were evacuated out of their offices due to the flooding in Brisbane, have kept up their reporting — thanks to some tennis balls and a giant orange cable to help them connect to the Internet. An excerpt:

Don’t worry, they told me, we have a plan.

Perhaps I should have been worried when they returned with three tennis balls, a ball of string and a telescopic pool broom pole (they wanted the broom too, but Brisbane River mud removal had meant they’ve sold out across the city).

However, given that the early planning had involved a fishing rod, I saw this as a step in the right direction. 

In the end, the solution was simple – and ingenious. In each office, one end of a long piece of string was tied to a tennis ball. These tennis balls were then dropped out of the windows of the offices to a waiting catcher in the car park below. 

The tennis balls were untied and the loose ends tied together. This string was then raised to fourth floor level and hey presto – a string line was in place to help run the fibre.

And that’s what’s keeping ABC News Online on the air – an orange thread strung between two buildings.

Although electricity was restored to our building on Coronation Drive in Milton yesterday, it’s likely to be at least the middle of next week before it’s habitable again.

The air conditioning hasn’t run for that time and the bins – and fridges for that matter – have been festering in temperatures beyond 40 degrees for much of it. They should provide pretty stiff competition in an olfactory sense for the river mud which still lines the streets surrounding the office.

Despite that, we are looking forward to getting back to “normal”. We may just need to hold our noses.

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