Fire and flood devastate Australians in the bush

"Yeah, well if it wasn't for bad luck I'd probably have none at all. Yeah, I don't know whether it's just someone testing me or what, but it is what it is I guess, you get through it."

Australian cattle farmer Robert Costigan thought the worst was behind him when he saved two family properties from raging bushfires in 2019.

But in a cruel twist of fate, this year they floated away.

His and his and father-in-law's homes were swept off their foundations earlier this month when heavy rains caused rivers to reach their highest levels in half a century, submerging bridges and buildings.

Walking through and around the family home, the insurance company has declared the property a write-off with everything needing to be rebuilt.

Costigan, his wife Bianca, father-in-law Brian, and children Eva and Drae are now staying with neighbors. Their cattle and much-loved family pets were spared.

"Just disbelief, heartbreaking to drive across the causeway and see your house gone. Yeah, just heartbreaking, I guess."

"I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains' reads the beloved 'Our Country' by Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar.

And for the Pappinbarra community on the Mid North Coast hinterland, it couldn't be more true.

After years of drought, devastated crops and livestock across New South Wales, farmers battled through the country's worst bushfires in a generation in the summer of 2019 to 2020, only to face flooding amid a La Nina wet weather event this year.

The same river system Costigan pumped water from to save his house from the bushfires has returned to destroy it with flood. But he's not giving up.

"We'll rebuild, I've worked too hard to just walk away from it. We've got a brilliant community, brilliant friends, like the help that everyone's offered us is amazing.''