Flood at Gundagai

The Sydney Morning Herald

5 July 1852

One of the most fearful catastrophes which it has ever been our lot to record will be found reported in another column.

The village of Gundagai has been almost entirely destroyed, and it is supposed that at least seventy lives have been lost. Gundagai is, or we may more truly say, was, situated on the north bank of the Murrumbidgee. Most of the allotments were on a tongue of land between the river and a creek which separated it from the high land. When the creek and river rose together, as has generally happened, the unfortunate people were cut off from any means of escape. This appears to have been the case in the present instance.

When the residents were convinced there was danger, and saw the raging river rise to their very doors, the creek prevented them from getting to the high lands, and they were compelled to remain until the floods attained sufficient height and strength to wash away their dwellings, and launch them into eternity.

Many of the unfortunate individuals who have gone to their long account, are much to blame for building in a place which they must have known was liable to be flooded; but the government officers who laid out a township in such a position have a most serious responsibility in this matter.

After the township was laid out, application, on the ground of its being exposed to floods, was made to the Government to shift the site, and allow those who had purchased allotments to change them, but they were sternly refused.

We need do no more than call the attention of our readers to the simple narrative of our correspondent, to enlist their sympathies for the survivors. Many who before this awful visitation were in easy circumstances, are now destitute. There can never be a more legitimate call upon the affluent for assistance than the present.

Whatever is done should be done quickly, and we would suggest that at the usual assemblage at the Exchange at 1 o'clock to-day, two or three gentlemen should undertake to receive subscriptions, and expend them for the relief of the sufferers. A supply of warm clothing and blankets is most urgently required.