Home' The Leader Newspaper : The Leader - January 13th 2016 Contents “The Leader”, Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 7
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By Adam Robinson
The noise of a crack within the floorboards of the
Stewart’s-Finch’s Nuriootpa home was the start of
the family’s worst nightmare. A gaping hole from
termite damage had appeared from underneath.
During early March of last year, Ms Niki Stewart
and Mr Shaun Finch, joint homeowners contacted a
recommended termite inspector from the city, who
treated the affected area by sprinkling a dust over
the floorboards as an initial treatment.
He then injected poisons around the exterior of
the property and gave the premises a full inspection.
The inspector then supplied the family with a
It was only from Niki and Shaun undertaking
renovations to their home in October that they
unexpectedly discovered an infestation of termites
within the walls of their home.
Gyprock that once concealed the unknown
termites, had been removed to reveal the
“White ants were everywhere,” remarked
“We phoned the termite inspector and was
instructed to spray the termites with a household
“The inspector then arrived days later to apply
further treatments to the home.”
Ms Stewart only recently became aware that
when termites are treated through the method as
suggested they scatter and when separated from
the queen, can create new colonies.
At learning on how bad the termite damage
was, the couple never saw or heard of the termite
“He no-longer returned any phone calls or
text messages,” Ms Stewart said.
“The termite inspector has no insurance and our
house insurance doesn’t cover the damage.”
Several struts and steel frames now secure the
roof above from collapsing while live power cords
dangle from the ceiling. Safety fears prevent the
Stewarts-Finch’s from knowing whether the roofing
panels have definitely not been affected.
An unknown amount of damage is still covered
behind many of the standing walls, though if
revealed this will further comprise the structure
of the home.
The damage bill is estimated to be in the
hundreds of thousands.
Six builders inspected the property and advised
the family that it will be cost effective to demolish
the home and rebuild given the unknown amount
of damage yet to be exposed.
The family of five moved to a relative’s property
in Tarlee due to safety concerns.
“I would have hated to think what would have
happened if the roof gave way,” Ms Stewart said.
“There’s an unknown amount of white ants
still eating in the walls of the home.”
Last year’s Christmas wasn’t a pleasant festive
season for the family.
“Christmas is hugely important to us, but
this year it didn’t feel like Christmas,” a tearful
Ms Stewart explained.
“We didn’t put up a Christmas tree, or any
As the house continues to open up and more
cracks begin to widen and appear, the family’s home
continues to deteriorate.
“The house has become significantly worse since
the last builder came out six weeks ago,” Ms Stewart
“We’re working with the Credit Union in the hope
of borrowing money to demolish the existing home
and replace it with an all-steel framed transportable
home to have a fresh start.
“This may not be possible and we will need a
builder to attempt to help repair the extensive
Ms Stewart wants to urge homeowners to
arrange regular termite inspections by a reputable
“Don’t wait if you find any termites,” Ms Stewart
“Question everything and get more than one
opinion. We’ve lost money, our home, our livelihood
and a fair amount of dignity. The house is
“We now have a mortgage to pay for a property
that no longer has a liveable house.”
“I say it’s a nightmare... but it really is.”
Callum, Niki and Charli Stewart hold one of the many struts that secure their home’s
ceiling from collapsing.
Ms Niki Stewart is distressed from the amount of damage that
the termites did to her home.
The Stewart’s-Finch’s family home has been completely infested
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