"Our Hearts Are Broken But Our Will Is Strong" *

Eyes flow tears as my country floods. Yet these tears are never enough to express the compassion I feel for the devastation of my beautiful country and the suffering of my country men and women.

Australia – my brutal land of raw and unrelenting beauty has had mother nature unlesh her fury in flooding that ravishes our bounty. ‘Our hearts are broken but our (your) will is strong’ words spoken by the female premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, in public when the flooding in brisbane reached its peak, reverberate in my mind.

This flooding overwhelms my sensitivity as I am sure it has many Australians and friends of Australia. And it has seen me with writers block for the first time in my life. Sometimes words are not enough. This is one of those times. So this is no literary masterpiece but instead a fumbling of random words reaching for an expression of sorrow that cannot be expressed. But still I reach for the words my spirit demands me to do so.


We look for answers but there are none. Mother nature could and she did. A catastrophe like this has a higher costs than the obvious. The human costs, the animals, the economic, the social, the emotional, … As the Australian people roll into a state of post trauma, my state Victoria, my old state NSW and the state of my mother and brother Queensland (my own for two years) have experienced flooding to varying degrees. In Queensland over 75% of the state, the size of France and Germany combined has been covered with flood water.

In a time like this my mind turns to the Aussie Character. The brave ‘Little Aussie Battler’ comes to mind. The Aussie Battler picks themselves up from the dirt when knocked down and keeps fighting no matter what the odds. And they do this over and over again. I think the community spirit here and our tenacious support and encouragement of the underdog (the one that is losing or suffers) means that we pull together as a community in crisis to lift those who have suffered back up to solid ground. But what happens when we as a country are all Aussie Battlers, all underdogs, will we have the strength to lift each other up?

If we believe the words of female, Queensland Premier, who with strength and compassion, vision and action, leads by example to draw on the strength that resides within, we will definitely be able to do this. Her words are a call to action – first to weep, to heal , and then come together to rebuild our broken hearts and land. Tears have flowed, tears will continue to flow into our flood waters as our female leaders speak of loss and strength and shed her own tears in public. But to rebuild first we must grieve. The cycle of grief is a test to our Aussie battler spirit in the Country that supports the underdog and cuts the tall poppy.

Today, 26 January is Australia Day. This is a day that we as Australians celebrate our wonderful country and all that is Australian…from mateship to our golden beaches to our red desert heart to our magical reefs to ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’. For me, it is a day to reflect on the Australian Spirit. I admire the understated beauty, the honesty, the humbleness of the Aussie spirit and the mateship that Australians feel as they reach out to support those in need. As we sweep up, clean up as the flood waters fall our tears turn to recovery and to rebuilding our farming land, our country towns, our city Brisbane. We become a country of alchemist finding new ways to rebuild and new ways to be and as we do this we will mourn and heal.

Lest we forget just how fragile we are.

© Anthea Slade 2011

Currently unavailable for purchase

"Our Hearts Are Broken But Our Will Is Strong" * by 

‘Our Hearts Are Broken But Our Will Is Strong’ featured in Lifeline on the 27 January 2011.

Over the past three weeks, overwhelmed by the devastating and catastrophic flooding in my country Australia, I have struggled to write down some thoughts and feelings about the enormous loss and grief so many of my fellow country men and women have experienced.

Today, because it is Australia Day, a day to celebrate all that is Australian, I thought I would bring it together to try and express my compassion and admiration for the people of our beautiful and brutal land Australia, and my deep admiration of the community support and the Aussie Battler spirit that is being displayed throughout my country as we face one of the biggest challenges in our countries history.

‘Our Hearts Are Broken But Our Will is Strong’* was written 26 January 2011 (Australia Day)

With love

Anthea Slade

(The title is a quote spoken by Anna Bligh – Premier of Queensland as the flood waters in Brisbane were reaching their peak)


reflections, sorrow, flooding, australia day, aussie spirit, aussie battler, community rebuilding, healing, growth, 26 january 2011

Creating art and writing is like breathing to me, it keeps me alive. If I stop creating my world shrinks and contracts. When I start to create again it expands and is filled with colour. I feel whole. To create is to be completely, unabashedly alive.

View Full Profile


  • Lisa  Jewell
    Lisa Jewellover 3 years ago


    I’m going to have to do a get up and walk around, the thing I do when my emotions feel like they are going to eat me whole. This is so brilliant, so reflective of the spirit I love.

    thank you
    thank you
    thank you

    Happy Australia Day to you and yours

    Lisa xxx

  • Dear Lisa thank you for this so true and beautiful response to my writing on the Australian floods and our Aussie Battler Spirit. Your words were so warmly received and deeply appreciated. Sorry for the late reply I have been overwhelmed by life of late. With love to your beautiful heart and spirit. Anthea x

    – Anthea Slade

  • Valentina D
    Valentina Dover 3 years ago

    Absolutley brillaint …thankyou for voicing these feelings so elquently and profoundly so that we may all also shed a tear and drink a beer to the Aussie battler with you . As a Brisbanite (who was fortunate enough not to be devestated by the waters) I feel the above deeply and am so very grateful for yoru expression. V

  • Dear Valentina thank you for your very kind and empathetic response to my write on the Brisbane floods and the tencious Aussie Spirit. Yes we have all felt deep compassion and shed tears for the tragic and traumatic loss of the floods and cyclone. I felt compelled to write these words to express my feelings and admiration of the Aussie Spirit. So sorry for this late response. I am glad that you did not get directly effected. Your comment here means a lot to me.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Arco Iris  R
    Arco Iris Rover 3 years ago

    I am not Australian, but my heart in a way it is for I have considered all of you brothers and sisters. I know you all come from blood that has the will to survive. Anthea, you have spoken with your heart. It may be not be a poem, but it is written from your heart of gold. Grieve, heal and then get up. My love to you and your countrymen. Blessings
    Iris xoxoxo

  • Dear Iris thank you so much for your compassionate and beautiful words in response to my write on the Australian Floods. It has been a very challenging start to 2011 for many Australians and also countries around the world. Your words of empathy and support means so much dear Iris. Sorry for late reply. With love to you and your family. Anthea x

    – Anthea Slade

  • Arcadia Tempest
    Arcadia Tempestover 3 years ago

    I watched a program the other night with a few Queenslanders who had their homes flooded.
    And they all spoke overwhelmingly about this very thing the ‘Aussie spirit’ and how in amongst the grief and tears they have been privy to such a wonder as well.
    One family were taken in my total strangers and forged a friendship that they know is for life….just remembering his tears as he spoke of this is ..
    I live far away from these events but have had people on my mind, some of them bubblers.
    This was a perfect read to start Australia Day which also happens to be a family members birthday as well!
    Much love to you for writing this, it is good to feel the BBQ fire up this morning..xxxx

  • Dear Karen Sue yes out of all the trauma and tragedy of the Queensland Floods and the Cyclones the Aussie Spirit has shone through in its tenacity, kindness and humanity. I felt very moved by this and was inspired to write this piece to express my admiration of those that have been so deeply hurt by the devastating natural diasters and they way as a community have pulled together. Happy Birthday to your family member, Happy Australia Day dear friend. So sorry for my late reply. But life has been very overwhelming of late and also had a wrist injury for about a month that limited my time on the computer. Thinking of you and sending lots of love. I hope the Barbie was a lot of fun :) x

    – Anthea Slade

  • kevinmawson
    kevinmawsonover 3 years ago

    This is a brilliant soulful write Anthea! I wish a speedy revovery to all who have been effected by these terrible floods!


  • Dear km thank you for your sensitive and kind comment on my write on the floods. Your lovely comment is deeply appreciated by me. So sorry for the late reply. I hope that you well my friend.

    – Anthea Slade

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 3 years ago


  • Dear Liz thank you for your encouraging and sensitive comment here. It has been a devastating and shocking start to the new year in Australia that has left many of us reeling. But you are right there is a great Aussie Community Spirit that seems to shine through even more in adversity and hard times. We are now all working together in rebuilding and healing in the aftermath of natures fury. So so sorry for the delay to get back to you. Life has been full on of late and I have had a wrist injury for the past month that has made it difficult to write much so have had to restrict my use of my right hand until it recovered. It is much better now. Much love to you my dear friend Liz.

    – Anthea Slade

  • SimplyRed
    SimplyRedover 3 years ago

    such a tremendous pouring out of your heart…living in tassie we have watched with shock and horror as the stories and devestation unfolded and then tears at the wonderful spirit Aussies show in times of need makes us all feel so proud…cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the true spirit that is Australia xxxx

  • Dear SimplyRed thank you so much for this beautiful heartfelt response to my write on the Brisbane Floods. Yes the Aussie Spirit is one to be proud of in these challenging times. So sorry for the delay to get back to you. But would like to wish you a belated Happy Australia Day. I have heard Tasmania is a very beautiful place.

    – Anthea Slade

  • Roz McQuillan
    Roz McQuillanover 3 years ago

    Thank you so much, my eloquent friend, for expressing what so many of us are feeling, but unlike you, haven’t the words to express!

  • Thank you dear Roz. I felt compelled to write this to endeavour to express my sorrow and compassion for the suffering of so many Aussies. It has been a devastating time for so many. So sorry for the delay Roz. I have had a wrist injury and life has been very full on.

    – Anthea Slade

  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizover 3 years ago

    awww…anthea….i know this came from your heart….sending you hugs…
    these disasters are so scary and coming more and more and bigger an bigger all over the world…it makes me wonder if……….

  • Me too dear Helene…it makes me wonder if…
    It has been a very dramatic and devastating start 2011 for many Australians and many other countries around the world. I pray and am hopeful that we will be able to heal and transform all this loss into something more. Your beautiful words are so deeply appreciated my dear friend. I am sorry for the late response but have been recovering from a wrist injury. I hope all is well with you.

    – Anthea Slade

  • biddumy
    biddumyover 3 years ago
    The Aussie spirit is a pioneering one and will rise irrespective of the cruelty of Mother Nature’s unrelenting destructive power. Wonderful words Anthea and my heart reaches out to everyone concerned!!!
  • Dear biddumy thank you so much for this inspiring and heart lifting comment. I am sure you are right the Australian spirit is a pioneering one and will rise to the challenge in the face of Mother Natures Cruelty and Fury. So sorry for delay to thank you. I appreciate your comments very much. I have had a wrist injury for a month and have had to limit the use of my right hand.

    – Anthea Slade

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait