When Chris Rogers returned to the NSW Central Coast after a stint living overseas, he was eager to embrace the quintessential Australian lifestyle — a home where his kids could swim in the ocean whenever they liked and he could walk along the beach he loves every day.
But more than a year after powerful swells battered Wamberal Beach, causing massive erosion beneath the waterfront properties, he’s been left fearing his home could be washed away in the next storm surge.
“We’ve worked our whole life, this is our family home, and to look at your kids and not be able to comfort them is scary,” Rogers says.
“It’s no different to someone sitting in a bushfire zone with a beautiful home. They love the bush and they love living there, and … the fire burns their home down. All we want to do is be able to protect our homes and our families.”
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.A year ago a massive storm caused severe coastal erosion at Wamberal Beach. (ABC Central Coast: Sofie Wainwright)
Rogers, 47, feels lucky compared with his neighbours: some were forced to evacuate when their homes partially collapsed in the storm. The home where Rogers has lived with his wife and two children since 2016 remains intact, but his backyard has “sunk” where sand from the beach was washed away.
“Every time there’s heavy rain, everyone is having more and more of their bank starting to collapse,” he says. “If there are … multiple east coast lows that hit this beach at the right tide, you could have as many as 10 homes going.”
Rogers was attracted to the area by the relaxed pace of coastal living. Thanks to a rise in remote working as a result of the pandemic, more people than ever are making a similar decision to leave large cities and work from regional locations.
But this pilgrimage is taking place against a backdrop of climate change, and many of its impacts are already being felt — not just in Wamberal, but all along Australia’s coast.
<h2 class="_3HiYf _2K_6X _1cBaI _2b-O4 _2…….