It was supposed to be their wedding day, but now Sarah Soars and Joshua Edge will remember March 20 for all the wrong reasons.
As floodwaters surged through swathes of NSW, the couples’ home at Mondrook, near Taree on the Mid-North Coast, was swept from its foundations and down the Manning River.
Shocked neighbours filmed the three-bedroom cottage bobbing past paddocks as a murky brown torrent hauled it away.
The incident added an exclamation point to a day of wild weather in the state, where multiple areas, including parts of Greater Sydney, were evacuated.
The days-long deluge is expected to continue into next week and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is warning another 100mm of rain could fall on the Mid-North Coast today.
“I don’t think it’s really hit me that much yet … until I see my partner and we figure out where we are going,” Sarah told News Limited.
“Obviously he has got his mum and I’ve got my mum, and our other family around town, but from living just us two to living with someone, it’s hard.
“But I am grateful that I even have somewhere to go.”
An online fundraising page set up by Joshua’s brother Lyle surpassed its $30,000 target within a few hours.
They remain separated by floodwaters — Joshua is in Tinonee and Sarah is in Taree.
The couple were renting the home from Peter Bowie and Tracia Milton, who are new to the area and had 180 cattle displaced in the wild weather.
“The people of Taree are just so good, they band together, they call you from everywhere to say ‘We’ve found a cow here, we’ve found another calf here’, they were in peoples’ backyards,” Peter said.
“Even the groom and his father got a bull and three cows in Tinonee and put them in a pen in the primary school.”
Tracia described watching the house get swept away as “devastating” and said the couple that had been due to get married were “crushed” when they found out what had happened.
“I’ve spoken to Josh several times today and he’s doing the best he can,” Tracia said.
Josh and Sarah were not home at the time.
“Originally they were going to get married on the banks in front of the house,” Peter said.
“We’d mowed it nicely so they had a walkway down to the banks but they called that off a couple of days ago because it was just getting wetter and wetter.”
‘It went so fast’
Peter said he could not believe what he saw when the water surged through his property and picked up the home.
“It literally floated like a houseboat, the whole house, fully intact,” he said.
“It went so fast. It went nearly a kilometre all intact, 100 per cent.
“This house just lifted up and floated down the river.”
The State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to thousands of callouts around the state over the past 48 hours, and made hundreds of flood rescues as waters rise.
Authorities have told people in several areas, including Sydney, to monitor the latest information and today, the BOM is predicting 100mm of rain to fall at Port Macquarie, on the Mid-North Coast.
About 45mm is expected in Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday said her state was well prepared but lamented that it would be a “deep-seated, extreme weather event”.