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Hobart's homeless shelter in cow shed after wild weather blows away tents

By Fiona Blackwood, Saturday May 12, 2018 - 07:07 EST
ABC licensed image
One of the homeless people at the showgrounds moved their tent to the horse stables but couldn't escape the floodwaters. - ABC licensed

Homeless Tasmanians were forced to shelter in the horse stables and a cattle shed at the Hobart Showgrounds as Thursday night's wild weather caused havoc around the city.

Hobart city recorded more than 100 millimetres of rain in a single day for the first time ever in May, doubling the previous record.

The downpour .

Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania CEO Scott Gadd said there were 10 people in tents at the Showgrounds last night.

"We've got a few tents that have been basically destroyed and a few wet people," Mr Gadd said.

"We've just opened a couple of our sheds so people can get dry and their animals can get out of the weather."

He said some people took to the cattle sheds at the showgrounds last night.

"There's not many other places you can go apart from the camp kitchen, and even that would have been a bit exposed last night," he said.

"We've issued some new bedding and stretchers and tents, but the problem is there's no real point in putting up tents until this weather blows through.

"They're just going to get destroyed, so not sure how we're going to deal with that — we really need a few more vans, I guess."

He said it would be great to get the 10 people living in tents off the ground and in caravans.

Tasmania's Housing Minister said Housing Connect staff were at the Showgrounds yesterday to help those in need.

Roger Jaensch said four people had taken up offers of assistance.

He said while some people had chosen to stay, Housing Connect staff were on site today to again offer assistance.

This included relocating anyone who wished to move from the Showgrounds or other locations around Hobart.



Three rescued from floodwaters

Two people were rescued after their car became stuck in floodwaters at Risdon Road in New Town, when they attempted to drive through it.

Firefighters also rescued a security guard from an alarm monitoring room at the University of Tasmania Sandy Bay campus.

He was trapped as a room which had no windows filled with water.

Greg Cutters from the Tasmanian Fire Service said the man was lucky.

"The water was about a metre off the floor, they forced entry and that gentleman was rescued, and he hasn't been injured," he said.

The Fire Service received more than 110 calls. Most were building-alarm activated.

There were also two structure fires, one building at Geeveston was severely damaged. Investigators are trying to determine the cause.



'The carpet was all floating'

Kingston resident Sam Ikin's home was inundated by a flash flood at about midnight.

"The water rose up to about foot through most of the house," he said.

"The carpet was all floating and I woke up to the sound of bubbling."

He said he put his foot off the side of the bed and stepped into a pool of water.



"It was a bit of a shock," he said.

"I freaked out a little bit, I didn't quite know what to do.

"I went to open the door and I realised the water level outside the door was higher than the water level inside the door, so I shut the door quickly."

Mr Ikin said he took his dog and sheltered at his neighbour's home.

He said the water had now subsided and the clean-up would now begin.



Free beer for pub clean-up crew

The mop-up is also underway at the Cascade Hotel in South Hobart, and locals and regulars are sharing the load.

"There's been a cascade at the Cascade," said publican Mel Bush.

She said the pub flooded last night.

"We found just a wave coming in through the back door of the pub which essentially left us in ankle-deep water," she said.

"All of the staff were fantastic and it was shoulder to the wheel and brooms out."



She said most of the water was now out of the pub but drains were being cleared to ensure it did not happen again.

"South Hobart is a wonderful little village where we have a lot of support, and that being the case, we have a lot of people helping us out and we can actually open today," she said.

"I think a free beer would be the very least I could offer these guys because they're doing a fantastic job."



Family stranded



Andrew Hogan and his family said they were stranded at their home at Sandfly in Southern Tasmania after their driveway washed away.

"We had a great wall of water come down the hill from all the properties above us," he said.

He said the water came through the back door and into the house, but his immediate concern was fixing the driveway.

"We may be able bridge it with a couple of railway sleepers which incidentally also got washed about 50 metres down the driveway.

"They were also holding back part of the garden which is not there anymore."

But for the moment the family is staying put, and are grateful for a day off school and that their internet is still working.


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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