Cyclone couple lose everything in heart breaking robbery
DAVID and Virginia Chandler lost their past as well as their future, when they became victims of natural and then human-induced disaster this month.
The savings and superannuation they had worked all their lives for went into purchasing their picturesque creek-side allotment, as well as some of the fundamental equipment they would need to make a comfortable off-the-grid retirement.
A caravan to live in, solar panels, batteries, a trailer and, most irreplaceable of all, a large diesel generator to run power tools and light the house they were planning to build.
Cyclone Marcia was the start of the trouble for David and Virginia Chandler, when a rising Amamoor Creek made staying home too risky.
A rushing Amamoor Creek lifted massive concrete road sections off a nearby bridge, a discovery that made the couple glad they had not taken that risk.
Leaving their equipment behind, they took refuge with relatives in Gympie.
While in town, someone saw an easy mark and robbed them of their dreams, or at least the gear needed to make them come true.
"It was all set up. They dismantled the frames and took the panels and they had to drill out the lock that secured the generator.
"We need the generator to air-condition the house because I can't regulate my body temperature and I can't stand the heat," Virginia, who suffers permanent after-effects from Barmah Forest fever, said yesterday.
"They took four big batteries, regulators and a jack. It all cost just under $30,000.
"We just hope that if someone sees the damage they have done, they will have a change of heart.
"They could leave it somewhere and ring us from a public phone and we wouldn't ask any questions," she said.
They have asked anyone seeing their gear to phone them on 0429 982 690.
The trailer is a tandem with cage, registration 913 QXE, Vin 6 FL 112233Y1000478.
The generator is a Perkins serial number CNFCG 20993160002.
The four large solar panels are Canadian Solar 250 Watt 1650 x 990 and the batteries are clear-sided Neutron Power solar batteries.