Gundagai St in Coffs Harbour was turned into a rushing river.
Gundagai St in Coffs Harbour was turned into a rushing river. Coffs Coast Advocate

Residents seek shelter from floods

MECHANIC Doug Biggs drove his beloved 1957 Chevrolet through bonnet-deep water to save his treasured vehicle from the rising water on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Biggs, who lives and works in the South Coffs Harbour industrial area, said he had lost everything, including the tools he inherited from his father - everything except his aqua blue Chevy with the white flash.

“It has taken 27 years to get my dream car,” he said. “It is the only valuable thing I own.”

Yesterday, as he waited for a motel room, he said apart from his car, he was left with an inch of mud through his flat and shed, one change of clothes and a sick nine-year-old cat.

WHen Fay Rickerby and her husband, Milton, tried to return from Coffs Harbour to their home at Nambucca Heads at 6pm on Tuesday, they found all their routes out of the city blocked.

Deciding they did not want to spend the night in their car, they found their way to the Coffs Ex-Services Club.

Fay said by 11pm on Tuesday, the club's auditorium was 'packed' with every seat full and mattresses and sleeping bags in the corners. Members of the AFDA found Fay and Milton a motel room, while the Coffs Ex-Services Club hosted everyone from a Siamese cat and a puppy in a box to stranded school students.

Gundagai Street resident Warren Rix and his elderly mother, Myrtle, also found themselves at the club after their Gundagai St unit was flooded to knee height.

Mrs Rix had her first ride in a fire truck to escape the water.

Beau Herden was on his way back to his home and job in Port Macquarie when he was stranded at Coffs Harbour on Tuesday afternoon.

Nervous about his small car after spending $3000 on repairs when it was damaged by water a month ago, he said he and his partner were happy to find food, water and blankets at the Coffs Ex-Services Club.

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