Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Storms batter Nathalia Primary School

Powerful storms have damaged play equipment and ripped shadesails free at Nathalia Primary School.

CHLOE WARBURTON March 3, 2014 4:52am

Nathalia Primary School principal Vicki McManus with some of the school's damaged play equipment.

Students and staff from Nathalia Primary School have been left wondering what’s next after two powerful storms caused more than $30000 in damage to the school playground.

Principal Vicki McManus said five shadesails that covered the junior area, the sandpit and the lunch area were ripped free in two separate storms — the first on February 19 and the second on February 26.

Several tree branches also came down, damaging pieces of play equipment and fences at the school.

‘‘We had the flood in 2012, our families have been impacted by the recent fires and there’s been a major water main leak too recently,’’ Ms McManus.

‘‘It’s like, oh my God, what else can happen? The challenge we have now is to see if we can figure out a way to repair all of this.’’

Department of Education insurance covers school buildings, but not external items such as playground equipment, so the school is unable to claim insurance for the damaged shadesails. Much of the money to purchase the shadesails was grant money.

‘‘We’ve got no choice but to take it down — we can’t ask the community to fundraise that much money,’’ Ms McManus said.

‘‘It’s one of those things — it’s sad, it’s horrible, but it won’t affect our education. I don’t know what we do — if anyone has any ideas, we’re very open to them.’’

Several trees in the school area have also been sectioned off and students are not allowed to go near them for fear of falling limbs.

Ms McManus said the storms, particularly the one on Tuesday, caught the school unaware.

‘‘I didn’t know the storm on Tuesday was coming until I was standing in a classroom and looked out the window and saw a gumtree branch go flying across the yard. I thought ‘oh, this isn’t good’.’’

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