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Storm damage forces early holidays for Melbourne students

Students at a number of Catholic schools including Marcellin College Bulleen were turned away from school yesterday, with some being told not to come back until next year.

Tuesday night's storm unleashed up to 120mm of rain in under two hours just after midnight, leaving a huge mop-up of the city's inner north and northeastern suburbs. Insurance companies and the state Government were still toting up the cost, but early estimates put the damage at more than $10 million.

Marcellin was the most seriously damaged of the schools. Principal Mark Merry said he was shocked by the scene confronting him yesterday morning.

"I knew we were in strife here, but when I arrived the damage was quite breathtaking," Mr Merry said.

Wind had lifted roofs off school buildings, allowing rain and hail to enter and causing ceilings to collapse.

"When I arrived there was still water pouring out of stairwells," Mr Merry said. "Our arts centre and science centre are completely flooded, a number of other classrooms and offices and our function room are also flooded, and our sports grounds are still waist-deep."

He told the school community in yesterday's edition of the principal's newsletter published on the school's website: "This morning I was deeply impressed by our staff who enacted our evacuation procedures, our students who co-operated so well and our parents who responded so swiftly to telephone calls informing them of the early finish."

The 600 Year 9-10 students who arrived for school were quickly ferried from the drenched grounds by parents and shuttle bus services.

"Our main fear was electrical wires in flooded areas, and also fear of further ceiling collapses," Mr Merry said.

The damage bill is expected to run to the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

School was also out for students at St Martin of Tours Primary School in Rosanna.

Damage forces early holidays for students (Herald-Sun 4/12/03)

A once-in-a-lifetime deluge (The Australian 4/12/03)
Damage forces students home (The Age 4/12/03)
Huge storm leaves trail of damage (The Age 4/12/03)
Marcellin College, Bulleen | From the Principal

4 Dec 2003