Storm damage: 'It's one of those things you don't believe'

Andrew, Jacob, Will and Abigail McCalman look at the aftermath of the storm which tore through Alstonville and the surrounding regions over the weekend.
Andrew, Jacob, Will and Abigail McCalman look at the aftermath of the storm which tore through Alstonville and the surrounding regions over the weekend. Marc Stapelberg

AN ALSTONVILLE property has suffered significant damage after a giant marquee set up in the backyard was ripped from its anchors during Sunday evening's storm.

The marquee, set up to house 150 guests at a joint 21st birthday party the night before, was flung across the yard, causing extensive damage to the garden, while one of its concrete anchors smashed into the roof of the house.


When the storm hit, the McCalman family was sitting outside watching the thunderstorm when 21-year-old Abigail joked about the hire marquee becoming loose.

"I said 'I hope it is tied down enough, do you think it will blow away?' and everyone was like 'oh, no, don't be stupid'," Abigail said.

"Then, 10 minutes later, we were looking out the window and we heard a loud bang and thought it was thunder.

"It's one of those things you don't believe, you are kinda standing there and the marquee is gone."

After hearing a loud bang, Abigail's brothers Will and Jacob ran to the window to watch the marquee flying over the top of their home.

"We were all sort of looking out our windows and I just saw this white thing pass, heard a loud bang and there was just one of the concrete anchors," Will said.

"Jacob and I ran to his room and looked out the window and we saw it sitting there and we were like 'wow this is crazy'."

Abigail said it could have been catastrophic if the storm occurred on Saturday night when all their guests were around.

"If it was the night before there would have been people standing in the marquee, so we were really thankful it wasn't," she said.

Will said he was relieved no-one was hurt.

"It was just one of those crazy, crazy moments where you think about what could have happened and in the scheme of things we were very lucky," Will said.

According to the McCalmans, this was not the only marquee the hire company had destroyed in Sunday night's storm.

"I asked the guy and he said they had another marquee (that) filled up with water and ripped in half ... he said it was around $100,000 worth of damage," Will said.

Topics:  alstonville extreme weather marquee northern rivers weather property damage storm

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