WASH OUT: Martin Pilling surveys the damage to his house at Mountain Creek. His backyard and foundations washed away when a nearby bridge gave way and a torrent of water pushed straight through to the lake behind his house. The damage was later repaired.
WASH OUT: Martin Pilling surveys the damage to his house at Mountain Creek. His backyard and foundations washed away when a nearby bridge gave way and a torrent of water pushed straight through to the lake behind his house. The damage was later repaired. Nicholas Falconer

Water washed home out from beneath

HOURS before floodwaters gouged out the foundations of his Mountain Creek home, Martin Pilling was joking about his unexpected waterfront views.

Friends had arrived for dinner at Mr Pilling's house as the lake at the back of house swelled with the day's rain.

"I was mucking about, saying you could fish from the front door, you could fish from the back door, and upon looking, I realised it was going to be too dangerous to stay there,” he said.

Mr Pilling said a reinforced bridge over water on the road in front of his home had acted like a dam wall, and water running into the basin built up behind it, eventually, forcing it to give way.

"I reckon it was about 20 feet high at the back of the bridge and the water had to go somewhere and swept it away,” he said.

"I watched it up until the point where the bridge nearly broke. I was videoing it. I thought, 'I've got to put the camera down now, it's getting too dangerous,” he said.

"I drove out on to the road and the car was under water. The lights went out and then they came back on back up the road.”

Mr Pilling believes debris from the the broken bridge created swirls of current in the floodwaters which ate out the foundations under his home.

But worse was to come when his insurance company declared the event "an act of God” and refused to pay.

"There was about $150,000 of damage and that was mostly what the house had cost me,” he said.

Businessman Des Scanlan, who was involved in a nearby development, later stumped up the cost of repairs to the home and yard.

The house had been on the market at the time of the floods and it was another seven years before Mr Pilling and his family could move on.