About Harden Up - Protecting Queensland

Harden Up - Protecting Queensland is a website developed by a group of people who are passionate about community safety and weather awareness.

The inspiration for this website came from Jeff Callaghan, a retired senior forecaster from the Bureau of Meteorology. For many years Jeff has researched the history of Queensland's weather. He has developed archives of thousands of historical events, many of which are logged in the Bureau of Meteorology's official databases, and some of which are researched from the archives of the State Library of Queensland, ship logs and other historical records. This long list of events allows us to see patterns throughout our history.

If you search through the 3,000 weather events captured in the Harden Up database you will notice that Queenslanders living in the 1800s made it through through some devastating floods and cyclones.  However, Jeff and many of his colleagues are concerned that the 21st century could be an even more active severe weather period that the 20th century.

The Harden Up - Protecting Queensland website was developed to help you understand the history of severe weather in your suburb and across our great state.

Once you understand more about what's happened in the past, and get a sense of why climate scientists are so worried about why might lie ahead, we hope you will take practical steps to get prepared. This website has an easy to use interactive tool which allows you to tailor a Harden Up plan to suit your needs, depending on what weather hazards you face, whether you have pets, kids, are caring for people with disabilities and other specific needs.

As individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities, we can protect Queensland if we think ahead and step up to the challenge.

Why the name?

We've received lots of feedback about the name. Some of you hate the name, some of you love the name.

Despite the horrific events of 2011 and regular warnings and efforts to promote storm season preparedness every year, many Queenslanders remain underprepared for these events.

In 2009 the Australia Strategic Policy Institute (an independent policy institute set up by the Howard Government to provide fresh ideas on Australia's defence and strategic policy choices) published Special Report Issue 24 - Hardening Australia: Climate change and national disaster resilience. 

In this report authors point to an urgent need for 'the community to be engaged in risk management and contribute to their own risk reduction' in a more rigorous way, because 'scientists predict a significant increase in the scale and number of extreme weather events.'

In response to this report, in 2010, the HardenUp initiative was developed to save lives, protect properties and reduce hardship. It is about making Queenslanders even more resilient to natural disasters that regularly affect our state.

According to a recent survey by the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, 73% of respondents indicated that it was likely that the nation would be affected by a natural disaster yet only 14% said it was likely the natural disaster would affect their home.

These responses were collected only a few months prior to the Queensland floods and cyclone that devastated many families. According to the Queensland SES, NRMA Insurance research shows almost two thirds of Queensland households still don't have an emergency kit should the worst happen.

On October 26 2011, Weather Bureau director Jim Davidson warned of an increased chance of rainfall and flooding over the next three months, although it is unlikely to be as severe or widespread as last summer. The National Climate Centre says Queensland has a 60% to 80% chance of receiving above average summer rain.

So that's why Harden Up is called Harden Up - we want to be straight with you. The risks are getting bigger but together we can stay strong and be ready for them.

Harden Up - Protecting Queensland encourages you to:

1. Be Aware: identify your personal risk exposure to cyclone, bushfire, flood severe storm and storm surge;

2. Prepare Yourself: take practical actions to reduce hazard exposure;

3. Help Others: build community resilience by getting involved in local volunteering programs.

This initiative is funded by a grant from the Natural Disaster Resilience Program through the Queensland Department of Community Safety. It has been developed by a new environment group, Green Cross Australia.

Green Cross partners include: the Insurance Council of Australia, CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence, Network 10, Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Property Council of Australia, Local Government Association of Queensland, Suncorp, Emergency Management Queensland, Residential Tenancies Authority, James Cook University, State Library of Queensland and Volunteering Queensland.

Together we are building a world-first disaster resilience portal - please let us know what you think about it and what you are doing about it.



                                                     John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland Negative 142118