A MT Pleasant man was just minutes away from serious injury or worse when a large tree branch crashed through his front fence yesterday.
Strong winds caused a 20 metre gum tree to drop a large limb over Henry Hayes’ fence and onto his beloved 1962 EJ Holden wagon, parked in his driveway.
Mr Hayes said he had spent more than 20 years and thousands of dollars painstakingly restoring the vehicle back to its former glory.
He had only just finished the restoration when yesterday’s wind gust came through.
“It was pretty much immaculate,” he said of his beloved vehicle.
“It was my only car – a lot of people around Ballarat would know it.”
Mr Hayes said he had pulled up in his driveway minutes before the tree branch came down.
“I had just gone through the house ... then I heard a strange noise (when the tree fell),” he said.
“The damage isn’t too bad, there’s a dent in the roof, a dent in the door and a few scratches. I’m just thankful nobody was hurt.”
Mr Hayes said he had got out of the vehicle just minutes before the branch came down.
The tree, which grew out of a nature strip at the front of Mr Hayes’ property, was seeping sap for some time.
Mr Hayes said he called the City of Ballarat about an arborist inspection of the tree two years ago, but received no response.
“It has looked dodgy for ages,” he said.
“The house is 150 years old – who knows how old the tree is.”
SES crews responded to 17 calls for assistance as the wintry weather set in yesterday morning and continued well into the evening.
Strong wind gusts were the main concern for crews, who responded to calls all over Ballarat.
SES spokeswoman Catherine Ogata said there were several pergolas, marquees and other small buildings that sustained damage due to “taking off”.