By Kimberley Nicoll
Caravan repairers have months of work ahead after heavy hail struck Sydney and the Illawarra, including a big caravan show near Wollongong.
Insurers expect a repair bill of close to $40m after the storms on Saturday February 18.
Exhibitors at the Illawarra Caravan, Camping, 4WD and Fish Show had nowhere to go as the storm clouds rolled across the Kembla Grange racecourse midway through Saturday afternoon.
There were around 150 caravans on display. Michelle Crawford from Wangaratta Caravans was one of those hit.
“We have five caravans and a car all ruined,” she says. “Luckily they’re covered by insurance though and can be repaired.”
Brian Hammond from the company ARV also suffered losses.
“Not all of our caravans were destroyed but there were about 12 that were,” he says. “Luckily they are all repairable.”
Camper trailer manufacturers appear to have come through the storm mostly unscathed, although several reported having their cars battered in the car park.
“My car was ruined. I’ve made a claim but I don’t know the outcome yet. There’s probably a good few thousand dollars damage there,” Jim Collins of Ivan Campers says.
Organiser Loretta Payne says the hail didn’t dampen people’s spirits and the show continued.
“We still operated on Sunday. There was a little hail damage from the storm but nothing compared to other areas.”