Flood waters severely impacted some residents late in the afternoon of Christmas Day 2011 in Nillumbik and Banyule particularly with severe hail stones also being reported in the area. Roads, drains, cars, homes and fences were in some cases destroyed by the torrent of water caused by the storm, with many long term residents claiming they had never seen anything like it.
” We were lucky to be home or else we would have been flooded as three of us were madly sweeping the water away from the backdoor and down the drive where it probably went down the neighbours drive opposite and under their front door but at the time I was too busy to think of that, a good way of celebrating ones 70th Birthday.” – Noel Greensborough
“Talking to witnesses when taking a walk on the morning of the next day, one described seeing a council wheelie bin floating down Valonia Drive, Eltham. The street was like a fast flowing creek moving anything in its way. Interestingly, Valonia Drive is located near low landing land where there was once a creek which flowed opposite Grove Street and Eltham East Primary School” – Liz
From the Nillumbik Tourism News March 2012
..In Research, the owner eof Cafe Z says it was ” a Christmas to remember”. Her cafe sustained major damage from the impact of the hailstones, with the roof collapsing, the inside flooding and furniture and many appliances a write off. It took more time than expected to return to normal, with lots of obstacles along the way. Dealing with bureaucracy and organising repairs was a challenge.
Local wineries were hit hard including Kings of Kangaroo Ground winery which lost all their grapes to the hail. The winery needed to be re-roofed, new air conditioning system, new ceiling linings. although their wine stock was undamaged. The home on the property was also damaged sustaining tens of thousands of dollars of damage. The winemaker said “Anything made from plastic was smashed, even all the pegs on the line went to God. My rain gauge copped it too!”.
The Panton Hill Vineyard’s dams overflowed and damage to windows was sustained from the hailstones. The hail also diminishing the crop.
Nillumbik Cellars in Diamond Creek was completely flooded but with the assistance of CFA members and friends the business was up and running the next day. Up to $40,000 damage was sustained.
The light factory Gallery in Eltham was flooded, with a metre of water outside and about 10 cm in throughout the gallery resulting in a the scheduled reopening being postponed a month The car park bitumen left the property. This was one among almost all businesses that suffered damage in this industrial estate in Eltham.
In Eltham at Chris and Mary-Lou Pittard’s studio, a river ran through thier studio leaving mud and debris and keeping them cleaning for weeks. Most of their machines were submerged and one kiln was a write off.
In January 2013 there were unconfirmed reports that some people had not yet returned to flood damaged homes.