Penrith, Jamisontown, Mulgoa residents given all-clear from SES, NSW Mid North Coast residents evacuated, Scott Morrison says ADF on stand-by22nd March 2021
Port Macquarie restaurant owner Nathan Tomkin had two minutes to evacuate 50 guests before the floodwaters came.
On Friday night, they opened up their restaurant, Whalebone Wharf, to diners, under the impression – like many in the town, that the floodwaters would not rise until midnight or Saturday morning.
But by 7pm, the waters began to rise.
Mr Tomkin, his partner Yvette Wilson and the restaurant staff got everyone out before they rushed to move furniture on the ground level higher up. But eventually, they also had to leave.
“I turned lights off and shut the door and said my little prayer. I said, ‘Hope to see you soon mate,’ ” Mr Tomkin said.
The couple drove home and watched via the restaurant surveillance system as the water kept getting higher and higher. Eventually, the CCTV gave out.
They have been back to visit their restaurant a few times since that night. The first time, on Saturday morning, they were there for less than five minutes before they were evacuated again. The next time, all they could do was take some photos of the damage before turning around.
This morning, Mr Tomkin tried to go again but the floodwaters were too high.
Mr Tomkin hopes that by tomorrow they might be able to start thinking about cleaning up. They’ve had an outpouring of offers and support from their community, including a GoFundMe page which has raised $10,000 in 24 hours.
“A year ago, we were saying [COVID-19] wasn’t going to break us and we would come back stronger than ever. That’s exactly what the plan is now,” Ms Wilson said.