“It was like a mini-tornado,” says Tidbinbilla Station owner

Michael Weaver 22 September 2020 1
Damage at Tidbinbilla Station

Damage to a shed at Tidbinbilla Station. Photo: Michael Shanahan.

While yesterday’s first storm of the season caused only minor damage in the Canberra region, the owner of Tidbinbilla Station west of Canberra has described damage there as “like a mini-tornado went through”.

The storm lasted less than 30 minutes when it struck after 5:00 pm yesterday (21 September), with the Bureau of Meteorology’s warning of damaging winds and potentially large hail sending many into panic mode to get their vehicles under cover.

However, Tidbinbilla Station owner Michael Shanahan said the storm cut a swathe through the property. Roofs were torn off, walls were smashed and a large fridge was picked up and blown 10 metres.

Tractor shed

The remains of the tractor shed. Photo: Michael Shanahan

One of many large trees uprooted by the storm. Photo: Michael Shanahan

“At least a dozen buildings were damaged here in the space of half an hour,” Michael told Region Media.

“It’s torn the front off a big machinery shed and folded the metal back on itself. It’s damaged the shearing shed, it blew the wall in on our shearing quarters when the wind picked up a small pump shed and blew it into the side of the shearers’ quarters and smashed the walls. There are about four roofs missing.

“It’s weird because the trail of damage is literally only 100 metres wide but unfortunately it went straight through the middle of all these buildings. I just can’t believe the damage,” he said.

“We have a massive fridge in the shearers’ quarters that was sitting up against a wall under a verandah. The winds have picked that fridge up and thrown it about 10 metres where it smashed a verandah post.

“I’d describe it as a mini-tornado that went through the place.”

Damage inside the homestead

Damage inside the homestead at Tidbinbilla Station. Photo: Michael Shanahan.

He said power lines are still down among chairs and other equipment strewn around the property.

He said one of the workers there was caught in the middle of the storm.

“One of the station hands was driving and he said the wind was so strong it stopped his car on the road and he couldn’t see a thing because the rain was white and was coming through horizontally,” Michael said.


MORE PHOTOS: Hail fail as first thunderstorm of season hits Canberra region


Around the region, the storm saw hundreds of people turn their gaze to the sky as the storm passed over Canberra and Queanbeyan.

“Luckily most of the cell passed through the rural parts of the Queanbeyan area and only caused trees to fall,” the Queanbeyan SES said on Facebook. “No one was injured but many large trees needed to be cut by our volunteers to restore access to several properties in Royalla.”

On The Canberra Page, many were quick to post photos, including a golden double rainbow after the storm passed. Have a look at our gallery below.


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One Response to “It was like a mini-tornado,” says Tidbinbilla Station owner
Shelby Canterford Shelby Canterford 12:17 pm 24 Sep 20

100m wide is not mini. Call it what it is, a tornado!

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