Winds of change bring recovery to Burrum Heads

A YEAR ago today, the peaceful fishing village of Burrum Heads was woken by howling winds and pelting rain.

Roofs were ripped from houses, powerlines snaked through front gardens and rain flooded homes at 3am on January 27 as a mini tornado tore through.

But in typical Australian spirit, residents of the town just got on with it.

As soon as it was safe to do so, people with wheelbarrows and trucks rolled into town with resilience at the forefront of their minds.

When the road into Burrum Heads was reopened on January 28, Chronicle photographer Alistair Brightman went in and was confronted with scenes of devastation.

Two days ago he returned to capture the result of the mammoth rebuilding task.

The emotion is still raw in Burrum Heads resident Pat Dachs' voice.

She was woken by smashing windows and roaring winds as the tornado went through last year.

"We laid in the kitchen until daylight," she said.

"It was so scary, we couldn't do anything."

Memories are still fresh in her mind.

"Today's a bit scary because it's very windy," she said on Sunday.

Despite so many people losing so much in the devastating event, the community stood together to rebuild.

"Everyone was helping each other," she said.

"It's good that everyone can get together at a time like that to help each other."

Ann Roberts' home was smashed by the morning storm.

The side of her house fell off and everything inside was covered in debris and water.

"Just about the whole house was torn apart," she said.

"The corner of the roof lifted off the house."

The road to recovery has been long and slow for Ann and her neighbours.

She says there's still glass around her house but the rebuild is almost finished.

"We had to wait a few months to touch anything because of insurance," she said.

Before and after photos below

Topics:  burrum heads disaster floods recovery tornado

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