SITTING on his wheelie walker in waist deep floodwater, Maxwelton's Des Smith cut a forlorn figure as a rescue chopper hovered overhead.
The elderly man and his faithful dog China, became the human face of the north west Queensland flood after footage of him being rescued by police captured the hearts of a nation.
The pragmatic 80-year-old puts on a brave face as he reflects on the rescue and despite the drama, said he would only ever call Maxwelton home.
Mr Smith sat in floodwater for five hours before Richmond Police arrived to assist him out, but he said he wasn't really too worried.
His greatest concern was for his canine companion, who was sitting on a bed just centimetres above the swirling water.
"I was uncomfortable, put it that way," Mr Smith said.
"I just had to sit and wait to see how big she is. I didn't know the flood would be that big, in this type of country, you wouldn't credit it.
"I was only sitting in the water for five hours and I put the dog on the bed, she'd never been up there before.
"I wasn't waiting, I just went out to see what was going on. I wasn't worried because it wouldn't go much deeper. All the cupboards had two shelves under water.
"They wanted to carry me out but I told them they could take me on the wheelie walker down the road, no worries at all.
"The most memorable part of my life was getting in that bloody helicopter, I went willingly but I wanted to take my dog with me."
As Mr Smith was escorted through floodwater to the awaiting chopper, China swam dutifully behind. A neighbour offered to look after the dog, while Mr Smith was evacuated to Richmond, where he spent about two weeks in care.
But the vast open plains of Maxwelton, and the modest tin hut he built with his own hands decades ago, was calling him home.
"I couldn't wait to get out, the trucks come roaring down the main street and I was too close to the road. You don't get many trucks past here at all," he said.
"A flood like that won't happen again. I just got back to life, when you've been around 80 years, I've seen some funny things."
As the anniversary of his rescue approaches, water marks on his walls are a reminder of the ordeal.
But Mr Smith takes it in his stride.
He likes the quiet lifestyle of Maxwelton, population five, which became home after his ute broke down in the outback town more than 30 years ago. He had been looking for caretaking work when his car broke down, and instead of continuing on his mission, he decided to live a secluded life in the spot where his ute stopped.
He bought some land for $200 and built a tin hut home, which was the scene of his dramatic rescue.
"My old ute only got this far and that was it, my car broke down here and that's where I stayed.
"I built my house myself, I think I did pretty good considering I had never built a chook house before.
"The land cost an arm and a leg, it was $200 for a quarter of an acre."
His custom home has everything he needs, a beer fridge in the spare bedroom, louvers to let the breeze through and China's bed in prime position under the kitchen table.
Temperatures can reach up to 45°C during the peak of summer but Mr Smith says the winter lows of 6°C were harder to cope with.
"It's a funny little town this one, there are five people in it. They could offer me a mansion somewhere else and I wouldn't go," he said.
"I like the quiet, no one annoys you and you can have a beer whenever you want.
"I've worked in the bush all my life. I think I'll stay here for the rest of my life.
"I don't get lonely. This is the place to be."