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Storm havoc hits Brisbane schools, churches


Storm havoc: One of the dozens of cars damaged at the Brisbane Catholic Education car park at Dutton Park.

Storm havoc: One of the dozens of cars damaged at the Brisbane Catholic Education car park at Dutton Park.

ANNERLEY-Ekibin parish priest Fr Adrian Sharp on his way home, trapped in heavy hail in his car in stand-still traffic, felt the full fury of Thursday afternoon’s super storm.

Worse still awaited him back at his parish.

“Basically, every stained-glass window in the church (Mary Immaculate) facing south, the direction where the storm came from, was smashed,“ he said Friday morning.

“Roof tiles were also smashed and now the church is full of water, mud and glass; and part of the parish school which is underneath has been inundated with water.

“The front windows of the parish office have also been smashed.”

Fr Sharp’s story was but one of many describing widespread damage to Church property caused by the storm, described by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman as “ferocious” and “arguably the worst since 1985 for this city.”

The super storm, which carved a swathe of destruction in a narrow corridor through inner city suburbs such as Annerley, Dutton Park, Kangaroo Point and the CBD, shut down Catholic schools including historic All Hallows and impacted Church offices including Brisbane Catholic Education at Dutton Park and some within the St Stephen’s Cathedral precinct.

St Joseph’s Church, Kangaroo Point and St Ita’s Church, Dutton Park are also reported to have been damaged.

BCE communications and marketing manager John Phelan said sections of the organisation’s head office at Dutton Park had been “extensively damaged”.

“A section of roof has been lifted on the old wing of the office, making one of the IT areas uninhabitable, “he said.

“The newer part seems generally OK but electricians are checking before staff are allowed to return, just to be on the safe side.”

Hail had damaged at least 60 cars in the BCE headquarters’ carpark, he said.

“Twenty to 25 cars, including several fleet cars, look likely to be write offs.

“One woman had taken delivery of her new car half an hour earlier…it finished up looking like someone had been bashing it for ages with a hammer. “

Mr Phelan said schools in the BCE area should not notice any changes to services.

“The office will be doing patch ups such as moving staff in storm-affected sections to alternative areas to ensure services are unaffected,” he said.

All Hallows was unable to be contacted for comment today but earlier media reports said strong winds had ripped part of the roof off Brisbane’s oldest existing secondary school and that a school bus had caught fire in front of the school during the storm.

Principal Dr Lee-Anne Perry in a message on the school’s website said: “The School has been badly damaged by the storm and it is unsafe for our community to be here. Staff and Students should not attend school this Friday, November 28.”

BCE released a list of Catholic schools shut for today Friday, November 28. They are:

  • All Hallows’ School, Brisbane
  • St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace
  • St Joseph’s Primary School, Kangaroo Point
  • St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane
  • Our Lady’s College, Annerley   (but Years 10 and 11 excursion will continue)
  • Mary Immaculate Primary School, Annerley
  • St Sebastian’s Primary School, Yeronga
  • St Brendan’s Primary School, Moorooka
  • St Ita’s Primary at Dutton Park.

Mr Phelan said he believed St Joseph’s Corinda and Our Lady of Fatima Acacia Ridge have no power, and would also be shut.

Catholic Church Insurance

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