By Stephen Cauchi
29 October 2021
WINDS have torn off the roof of one Melbourne church as a storm whipped through the city with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour on Friday morning, while 10 others sustained damage.
Christchurch in Newport was particularly hard-hit, with its roof ripped off by the winds, while a tree fell on the vicarage of a different church. Archbishop’s residence Bishopscourt also suffered from the winds.
Christchurch Newport warden Jenny Abela said the church had sustained serious damage.
“What was a part of the old wall of the church has fallen on the roof and through into the toilet block,” she said.
“The wall has collapsed onto the roof below it. If you were inside the church there’s a mezzanine there, and that mezzanine now has no wall.”
Anglican Diocese Corporation chief operating Matt Wilson said churches right across Melbourne had been hit by the winds.
“At the moment it’s all pretty minor to medium although there’s a large one at Newport…we’ve got a whole roof off,” he said.
Trees fell on the halls of both St Andrew’s Rosanna and St Dunstan’s Camberwell, while a tree fell onto the vicarage at Holy Trinity Coburg.
Holy Trinity Surrey Hills, All Saints Clayton, St Stephen’s Bayswater, St Luke’s Frankston, All Saints Preston, and St Andrew’s Somerville also suffered damage.
Mr Wilson said more reports of damage were expected.
Churches had phoned the diocesan office on Friday to speak to the Chief Operating Officer and the insurance desk, said Mr Wilson.
“Those queries have all been promptly fielded,” said Mr Wilson.
“Those needing major attention we’ve arranged to have emergency services or contractors to go out to immediately mitigate any damage.
“Any major damage will be dealt with in the next week.”
Mr Wilson said damage to Bishopscourt, in East Melbourne, was not major.
“The Archbishop called me this morning. There are some tiles that were blown off. We’ve sent the roofers out to secure the tiles,” he said.
Gisborne Parish vicar Father Dennis Webster, said he was unable to assess damage as he was self-isolating due to COVID cases in the area, but power was off. He said the VicEmergency app only showed about five or six trees reported down.
Gisborne, along with the Dandenong Ranges, was one of the areas hit by severe storms in June.