Humphrey the heroic camel
MOONY-EYED and diminutive, Humphrey the camel looks anything but a life saver.
But as the floodwaters rose frighteningly at Serendipity Farm in the Lockyer Valley around dawn in January, Humphrey became a hero.
Saved from the meatworks where he was born, Humphrey paid back his new family's kindness - and then some.
Abbie Veivers fulfilled a lifelong dream of setting up a farm to care for animals after she moved from England to start a new life.
Ten years after the Veivers fell in love with the property, Serendipity Farm Animal Centre was planning its first Australia Day celebrations on the holiday Monday in January.
"It was going to be a huge event with over 35 free activities for the kids, along with raffles, refreshments and, of course, seeing and feeding all of the animals here on the farm," Mrs Veivers said.
Cancelling the Holiday Fun Day on the Friday seemed bad, but much worse was to come.
"Around 4.30am on the morning of the Australia Day holiday Monday, my daughter Jess was awoken by Humphrey, the baby camel, bellowing in a very strange way," Mrs Veivers said.
"Jess looked out of the window towards his stable and couldn't believe what she was seeing.
"The river had broken its banks and water was rushing through the farm very strong and fast and around a metre deep.
"Jess ran into my bedroom yelling, 'Mum, mum quick, there is water everywhere. The animals. The animals. Quick get up.
"Everyone followed me outside at full speed, still in pyjamas, yelling and screaming directions and information to each other.
"Luckily for us it was just on dawn and we were able to see what was happening.
"Humphrey was trapped in his stable with water 18 inches deep crashing around him as Jess unbolted the stable door.
"I ran to the sheep pens to find the sheep and goats chin deep in rushing, brown, fast-moving water and started to lift the sheep, heavy with full fleeces wet through, up on to the top of the shelters just to give us a precious few seconds to think and have a look around at what we should do next and what was the safest action to take."
Everyone else was unlocking pig pens, opening stables doors and lifting poultry to high places.
"It was all very confusing, everything happening so fast and we really didn't have time to think about anything," Mrs Veivers said.
"I have been Humphrey's 'mum' since birth. He is now 24 weeks old and he wouldn't run to safety, but instead tried to get to me.
"He followed me into the animal enclosures and I had to guide him back across the raging water to safety."
Most of the animals were safe, but Serendipity Farm, Abbie Veivers' dream of 40 years was ruined - not to mention damage to the house.
But, backed by supporters from around the world, the Veivers decided to rebuild the dream.
"If anyone can help at all with our rebuild, which will be implemented on even higher ground than our last rebuild in 2011, we will be looking for tools of all types, timber posts, roofing iron, wall cladding, sheets of plywood, timber flooring, irrigation systems and anything to enable us to restock gardens," Mrs Veivers said.
"Donations can also be made at givenow.com.au/serendipityfarm or contact email@example.com, marketing manager Suzi from Dreamwild Studios on 0407 739 138 or fundraising manager Mandy on 0488 655 822.
Donations can also be made by direct transfer to Westpac Bank, BSB 034-182, account number 215314.
Serendipity fundraiser gets mobile
TO HELP them get back on their feet - and bring some animal fun into people's lives - Serendipity Farm is holding a fundraiser.
The Serendipity Farm Shindig will be on Saturday, April 20, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Lollypops Playland, 10 Commercial Dr, Springfield.
Admission us $10 per child and Abbie Veivers said it was a good idea to order pre-sale tickets now because they would sell fast.
"We recently launched our mobile farm," Ms Veivers said.
"We're going to the Toowoomba Show next week for three days and hopefully we'll go to the Gatton Show as well.
"We're also hoping to do a flood fundraiser as well at some time."
For more information call 54629171 or email Serendipityfarm@skymesh.com.au.