Bondi beach swallowed by tide waters and other Sydney beaches flooded over

Huge swells have lashed Sydney, swallowing beaches under tide waters and ripping boats from their moorings inside the harbour.

Bondi and Clovelly beaches were flooded over and waves battered the walls of the beachside Coogee Surf Club on Saturday morning.

Inside the harbour near the Manly ferry wharf, boats were ripped from their moorings, with some vessels washed up on the nearby beach.

A sailing vessel was spotted capsized at Bronte beach with emergency services launching a search for potentially missing crew. But the search was cancelled after the boat’s owner came forward to say it had been ripped from its dock south at Gordons Bay due to the heavy seas.

The Bureau of Meteorology had a hazardous surf warning in place for the NSW coast after a night of huge gusts in Sydney, including one at 74 km/h inside Sydney Harbour.

Across NSW, State Emergency Service crews performed six flood rescues in the 24 hours up to 5am Saturday, with the agency also receiving 468 calls for help over that period.

Elsewhere in the state, flood victims were picking up the pieces for the second time in little over a month.

Byron Shire’s deputy mayor said locals had little warning about the damaging conditions that flooded the region for the second time in a month earlier this week.

Strong waves at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.
Strong waves at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Sarah Ndiayae praised the support offered so far by the state and federal governments but criticised Canberra’s cuts to publicly funded agencies such as the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology.

“They [the bureau] removed the flood warning from Mullumbimby and said that the weather had cleared so a lot of our community were caught out,” Ndiayae said.

“That was really a shock to people. It was really hard to take after everything we’ve gone through and there’s been so many conversations about where the system failed us in the first place.”

She said the community was exhausted by the double floods and buoyed by the cooperative spirit between people.

The Mullumbimby high school teacher said the area desperately needed short-term to long-term housing fixes as the Easter holidays approached and flood refugees would be forced out of short-term stays.

Her school would remain open but there were others across the region that would be forced to shut, adding even more disruption to the lives of young students who had already endured two years of the Covid pandemic.

“I’m really worried about my community and how we’re going to fare over the next little while,” Ndiayae said.

Windy weather and high tides were forecast for NSW over the first weekend of April after record rainfall last month, but conditions were expected to ease as the weather system moves south.