Memories of evacuation loom

There is still detritus from the landslip in Gordon Carter’s St Clair garage, a year after the...
There is still detritus from the landslip in Gordon Carter’s St Clair garage, a year after the disaster. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Even though there was no damage to their house or garden, flooding did have a lasting emotional impact on a St Clair family who were forced to evacuate due to a massive landslip.

The slip cuts a swathe down the bank above Ravenswood Rd in St Clair. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The slip cuts a swathe down the bank above Ravenswood Rd in St Clair. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Ruth and Keith Kelsall and their daughters had their sleep-in disturbed at 8am on a Saturday, when a police officer knocked on the door of their Ravenswood Rd home. Mrs Kelsall said she and her family were  made to leave their home for only about 10 hours, but now every time it rained for a couple of days  her children got nervous, and she became "wound up".

Being evacuated "shakes your belief about where you are going to be long-term," Mrs Kelsall said.

The Kelsall family’s neighbour Gordon Carter, who also had to evacuate, said the landslip had ripped through his garage. He estimated the disaster had cost him between $300,000 and $400,000,  and  he was still waiting to get his insurance claims resolved.

  He had had two cars and eight motorbikes in the garage at the time. Some land above the section behind him was still unstable and would shift with heavy rain, Mrs Kelsall said.

"[My neighbour’s] trying to build a wall to prevent stuff going down to his place,"  she said.

"The other problem is that there’s a major stormwater [drain] coming down there."

Mr Carter said he had lived on Ravenswood Rd for 30 years, and the landslip in 2017 was the first time anything like that had happened. 

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