The groom was shattered: One-in-100-year flood event ruins dream wedding

New South Wales, Australias flood crisis has left a bride and 28 guests stranded on her wedding day at a venue cut off by floodwaters.
James Farrawell and his fiance Anya Kerrigan were due to be married on Saturday at their wedding venue on the Manning River, upstream from Taree.

Rising floodwaters cut off Kerrigan from Farrawell, who had followed wedding tradition by staying away from his fianc on the night before their wedding, Farrawells brother Daniel said.

He is now trapped by the rising floodwaters of the Manning River and cannot get to the bride, he said.

DANIEL FARRAWELL/Sydney Morning Herald
Anya Kerrigan is making the best of her wedding day that wasnt.

Daniel said 28 guests were trapped at The Rotating House, including grandparents and family members staying in glamping tents and a farmhouse.

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The bride and both sides of the family had spent the night without electricity, he said. The groom and all the grooms men are still down river in the town of Taree, which is now cut off from both highway and the upriver wedding venue.

Daniel said the couple had been saving for their dream wedding for three years but are now separated by floodwater on their wedding day.

Waking up in the morning, the groom was shattered, Daniel said. His biggest fear was that the bride and our families were in danger. We quickly realised that the wedding was not going ahead and that we could be in some real trouble.

The bride was obviously devastated when morning light arrived to reveal that the wedding venue had become an isolated island in the hills and their hopes of a wedding were dashed. The worry turned to fear when they realised that they were trapped.

DANIEL FARRAWELL/Sydney Morning Herald
James Farrawell, (left) has been cut off from his wedding venue by rising floodwaters.

However, Daniel said he believed the bride and other family members were on high enough ground to ride out the flooding and, despite being trapped, are safe.

Our fears are for the safety of all the guests that have travelled from all across Australia to attend the wedding and we hope that everyone in the flood affected areas are safe, Daniel said.

I know we are lucky to be safe from the floodwaters, but my heart and my families hearts are breaking seeing my brother separated from his fianc on their wedding day.

At midday, Daniel said the groom and other family members were still trapped in Taree: Its strange, the sun is shining but there are houses and a shed floating past us in the floodwater of the Manning River.

Flooding at Telegraph Point, near Port Macquarie.

Daniel said the wedding party appeared to be safe and it was time to open a bottle of bubbles.

They have enough food and beverages to feed an entire wedding so despite their situation they have everything needed to hold a wedding, except the groom of course.

But he added: You cannot put your hopes and dreams into a wedding and not shed a tear when it falls apart in front of you.

This weekends extreme weather has been called a one-in-100-year flood event by the MidCoast Council, which advised on social media that the Manning River at Taree was expected to peak by 1.30pm on Saturday.

The NSW SES Taree City Unit said major flooding was occurring at Gloucester, Wingham and Taree, after an earlier Facebook post called for help filling sandbags.

Flooding damages the road at Foreshore Drive in Port Stephens.

SES evacuation orders have been issued for low-lying properties at Taree Estate, Dumaresq Island and Cundletown

The Manning River Times reported on Friday that the MidCoast Councils sewer network was inundated with stormwater, causing drainage issues with sinks, showers and toilets.

The councils general manager Adrian Panuccio asked residents in the Gloucester area to use water sparingly.

Panuccio said the floods appeared to be just as bad as flooding in 1978, describing the situation as pretty full-on.

Sydney Morning Herald

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