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Boondall bus crash remembered 20 years on

Colleen Waldock, who was injured in the Boondall bush crash, reflects on the day the tragedy happened ahead of the 20-year anniversary memorial service on Friday.
Colleen Waldock, who was injured in the Boondall bush crash, reflects on the day the tragedy happened ahead of the 20-year anniversary memorial service on Friday. Alistair Brightman

FRIDAY marks a date that Colleen Waldock, and many Maryborough families, will never forget.

Still considered one of Queensland's worst road accidents, it is 20 years since a terrifying bus crash claimed the lives of 12 people and injured 39.

About 50 passengers, including many members of Maryborough's Civilian Widows Association, were visiting Brisbane for a spot of shopping when the bus they were on rolled down an embankment near Boondall on Brisbane's northside.

The news of the day reported people screaming, dead bodies everywhere and a massive effort by emergency services, including 25 ambulances and four medivac helicopters.

Maryborough survivor Colleen Waldock, 83, said she doesn't remember much of the crash, as she had drifted in and out of consciousness.

Mrs Waldock had fallen asleep on the coach. As treasurer of the Maryborough Civilian Widows group, she'd been up late doing the books the night before.

"I dozed off, I woke up and we were airborne, the bus was starting to roll," she said.

When Mrs Waldock first came to, with her face ripped and mouth full of dirt, she couldn't move but could hear her friend calling out to her. When she next woke, a man was standing over her.

A metal bar had smashed her arm and broken her leg.

"They couldn't get it off ... next thing I knew I was on the side of the road with people all around," Mrs Waldock said.

She was taken to Brisbane's Mater Hospital for treatment and was later moved to the Maryborough hospital.

Mrs Waldock said she had needed three bone grafts phs in her arm and eventually surgery on her hand where her little finger was removed

"I had to change all my lifestyle," said the former tailor.

"I'm just grateful to the Lord for me still being here.

"I don't hold any grudges against the driver ... it was just something that happened."

The former fitness instructor and swimming teacher said she got through the tragedy with the help of her faith and wonderful friends and family.

Mrs Waldock said she was still close friends with the woman she remembered calling out to her during the accident.

"I think we've supported each other," she said.

"There's a lot of other people too ... I can't get over how kind people are."

In remembrance of the devastation and lives lost, Mrs Waldock has organised a memorial, to be held at the Lennox St side of the Town Hall green, Friday at 10am.

On Friday, Mrs Waldock will return to the memorial plaque dedicated to accident for the first time since it was dedicated following the crash.

There will be an opportunity to lay flowers and all people are welcome to attend.

In the aftermath of the crash, at a memorial service held in Maryborough, the Chronicle reported former mayor Alan Brown saying the tragedy had been the darkest hour and the darkest week for the Maryborough community.

He said while the people who had died would be but statistics in an official record book, to the people of Maryborough they would remain friends, snatched from our midst under tragic circumstances.

Topics:  anniversary, editors picks, maryborough, memorial service




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