Goulburn Report, Great Flood

The Sydney Morning Herald

1 July 1852

June 24. From the 20th instant to the present time there has been an almost constant rain; but yesterday evening it poured incessantly.

Great fears were entertained that we were going to have a flood; two or three months ago, there was a warning given by the conductors of this paper, to those residing in situations exposed to flood, to be aware and to remove as the winter was expected to be of such a nature as to put them in peril; the prediction has proved to be correct in this district, for all the inconvenience and danger arising from floods have been felt by those located in low situations.

Early this morning many of the townspeople were roused by the roaring of the river, and circumstances required them to consider what means could be devised to rescue two families living on low lying ground belonging to Captain Hovell, opposite the Scots' Kirk, the river having risen in course of the night to such an alarming height, caused them to take shelter in the slaughter house belonging to that gentleman, and it was well that they did so, as the Mulwarree Creek, on which the huts were built, rose considerably higher than it did in the great flood in 1812; on the present occasion the water was up to the eves of their huts, and they took refuge in the slaughter house, they had to [lost line of text] water.

The whole plains were covered for miles; Bradley's mill, brewery, huts, shearing shad, &c., &c., were so many objects standing in the water, and presented a most picturesque appearance.

The Rev. Wm. Ross, Mr. Chatfield, Mr. S. Davis, and several others, were amongst the first to make, an effort to rescue those in the Slaughter house, various means were devised, a raft was constructed, but it did not seem to answer, those engaged in navigating it had not command over it when it came into the current, and it was carried amongst the willow trees.

Mr. S. Davies bethought that a large square tub used for salting hides would be of service and, he had it brought down and launched into the river, four men got therein, and the tub seemed to answer the object in view.

In nearing the slaughter-house it had to pass by Mr, Hawkin's house, who with his family had retreated to the second floor, and who greeted the adventurers with "alls well."

The tub on passing Mr. Hawkin's was carried by the current running at the back of the Slaughter-house down amongst the trees, and those in it not being able to bring it up to the place required, they had no alternative but to drift with the current, which brought them the main stream again, ear Tompson's slaughter-house, and ultimately to the down side of the river, where Mr. Davis (of the Australian store) had his cart and reconveyed it considerably farther up the bank of the river.

When a consultation who should navigate the tub on the perilous enterprise, the Rev. Mr. Ross, (who seemed to be a bit of a sailor), Mr. Fitzpatrick, and others for a crew, got on board, and after considerable difficulty having to go over a fence, the top of which was visible, they made the slaughter-house, amidst the cheers of the bystanders, (nearly the whole town were looking on) the inmates were soon embarked on board the tub, viz: - two women, three children, the gardener, and another man.

The tub was admirably worked, and although not without the fearful anticipations of some on shore, she was brought over the shoals and fences in safety, and landed its living cargo at a bend of the river about a quarter of a mile below the Scots kirk, amidst the congratulations of all present, the perishing creatures having been exposed all night, the water rising on them till about 7 in the morning, were considered fit patients for the hospital, and Mr. Chatfield directed them to be taken there, where Mr. and Mrs. Tindale's attention soon brought them round. Part of Mr. Davis, the tanner's family, took refuge in Mr, Hawkins house.

A great number of those living in huts at the brick kilns had to leave them for higher ground; those who purchased and built upon the allotments put up by the government about two years ago had to vacate their dwellings.

It was observed at the time of the sale that the purchasers did not know that they were buying the bed of the river; they have found it to be so now: the government ought not to have tempted people to buy, by putting up these allotments.

The cattle in Bradley's paddock were brought down by the current; it was neither an amusing scene to see them in the water, one of the bullocks got on the top of the bark hut in Howell's paddock.

Such a flood could scarcely happen without considerable apprehension us to the loss of life, but the only instance we have heard of is that of an old man in the employ of Mr. Heywood, shoe maker, who, contrary to Mr, Heywoods, advice, left his place to go to his huts at the foot of the Rev. Mr. Sowerby's garden; wether he ever got to his hut or after he got there and was returning we cannot state, but about five o'clock this morning Mr. Heywood heard some person making a noise as if in distress and requiring help, he got up, went across the bridge at the Argyle mill and into Mr. Sowerby's garden towards where the cry preceeded from, and in going had to wade up to his arm-pit before he found the deceased, who was clinging to the fence, and which he had taken such hold of that Haywood in taking him off brought some of the palings with him.

Mr. Sowerby's servants were roused, and the man brought to the parsonage, but he expired a few minutes after he was brought in.

There was an inquest held this afternoon, and a verdict of died from exposure to the inclemency of the weather. The urgent necessity of having a boat in case of accidents, or circumstances arrising which requires the use of one, has again been demonstrated; it is only a short time ago that one was required to search for the dead, and to-day one was required for the living; several of those gentlemen who witnessed the peril attending the effort to bring relief to those who required it, set a subscription on foot for the purpose of obtaining one.

We believe the subscription was none the worse of' finding its way into the hands of Mr. Fawcett, who is at present on a business visit to the southern capital. It is to be hoped that everyone both in town and country will contribute to so desirable an object.

Quarter Sessions, - This day was that appointed for holding the Court of Quarter Sessions; but on account of the floods no mail arrived last night, neither Chairman, nor Crown Prosecutor, and consequently there was no court held; two magistrates adjourned the court till to-morrow at 10 o'clock,

June 25. Effects Of The Flood.

Mr. Bradley has suffered considerably in the loss of fencing; that round the garden on the banks of the river and considerable portions of that round the paddock has been swept away.

The ledging of the bridge, at Lansdown, has also gone. The water came into the mill floor, and the cellar of the brewery has filled, and a quantity of ale is destroyed.

The water was from two to three feet deep in the huts; one man, a gardener, on perceiving how the water came into his house, broke a hole in the ceiling and put his wife and family in the ratters, where they remained for most of the next day. Mr. Chatlfeid has also suffered considerably at his wool washing establishment, 200 will barely cover his loss. Mr, Thompson, the butcher, has also suffered considerably, at his new establishment, on the banks of the Wollondilly. Considerable damage has been done at Mr. Haiwkins' tannery, and also at Captain Hovell's and Mr. Stewart's gardens; at the latter, the water was nearly over the house.

Two loads of perishable property, belonging to Mr. Richardson, Braidwood, is under water.

Several tons of hay have been washed away from Thomas Chamberlain's, at the Lime Kilns. Mr. D, H. Thorne had to vacate his house at Brisbane Grove, and betake himself to the house at the top of the hill.

A great number of others have been very much distressed, especially those having families; one man, whose wife was recently confined, had to carry her some distance.

There is a report in town that one of the troopers belonging to the mounted police, at Braidwood, has been drowned near where the two men were recently drowned, that in, near the crossing place at Bradley's fence. It is said that his horse had come to Lansdown and that the man's hat had been found.

We hear that the mail has been brought on in a spring cart, and is this evening is at Lansdown, but cannot come into Goulburn before morning. It has not come in since Tuesday evening. The Quarter Sessions were again adjourned till tomorrow, on account of the non arrival of the Chairman and Crown Prosecutor.

June 20. Arrival Or The Chairman Of Quarter Sessions And Crown Prosecutor.

This morning, about eleven o'clock, the gold escort arrived at Mandleson's Hotel, A. Cheeke Esq., Chairman of Quarter Sessions, and Callaghan, Crown Prosecutor, were passengers.

On account of the flood and state of the roads, the former had to leave his own conveyance at Berrima, and betake himself to the above.

These gentlemen should have arrived here in time to hold the court of Quarter Sessions on the 24th, but were unable to do so till this forenoon; and but for the exertions of that not-to-be-surpassed whip, "Broomey,' we do not know when they would have arrived.

The pole was broke in coming up, but that was nothing to Broomey; on he came through thick and thin, quagmires and sloughs were got over till he came to Wingello Paddocks, when coach and horses to boot sunk, the former to the axle, and the latter to the shoulders.

Broomy was not to be left in the lurch; got himself dug out, and came on with his vehicle, and seven besides himself, to Shelly's Flats, and but for the detention at Wingello, he could have been in here last night.

Anticipating that the crossing place at the new line would not be passable, he came round by the old road and into Goulburn by Bradleys' mill; the road over the bridge there, we are happy to be able to say, is good, notwithstanding the heavy flood which submerged it for three days past, and carried away its edging.

Great praise is due to Broomey for his indefatigable exertions in bringing on so many with the road in such a state as they are.

Arrival, Of The Mail From Sydney. The mail which left Sydney last Tuesday afternoon, come into Goulburn early this morning in a spring cart drawn by one horse

We believe the cart came on from Picton with two horses till it came to Marulan, from which place it came with one horse only.

As it was well known that it had come to Mr. Phillips' last night (but could not get over the bridge on account of the height of water) it was expected that as the day was fine, and the roads getting better every hour, and as there had been no despatch since Tuesday, that there would have been a mail despatched to-day; and also because if not despatched to-day, that there would be none till Monday morning; but for some cause or another there was no despatch, to the great annoyance of those interested.

We, in common with others, think that if the gold escort can find its way along with seven besides the driver, that the mail should be able to do so too.

No doubt the roads are bad, but they are as bad for one as for the other.

Meeting of Subscribers to the Boat. There was a meeting held this 'day in the Commercial Hotel of subscribers to the boat about to be provided in case of accidents or other causes in the neighbourhood of Goulburn, W. Chatfield, Esq., presided. On the motion of the Rev. W. Sowerby, seconded by Mr. C. H. Walsh, it was agreed that the funds raised should be handed over to the Hospital Committee, and, measures to be taken by them to procure the boat. Captain Hovell, the President of the Hospital Committee, being in Sydney, and being a nautical gentleman, it was thought he could further the object of the subscribers with his practical knowledge. John O'Sullivan Esq., Mr. Walsh, and R. Craig, were requested to solicit subscriptions in furtherance of the object in view.

Man Drowned. We stated in our last communication (and which we believe is still lying at the Post Office here) that it was reported that a man was drowned near the old crossing place, at Bradley's fence, about a mile from this; the report, although the body has not been found, turns out to be too true; his name is William Fitzpatrick, formerly chief constable at Moreton Bay, where his family at present resides. He came, up to join the mounted police stationed at Braidwood, about two months ago, and had come to Goulburn with prisoners for the present Quarter Sessions, and yesterday (Friday) morning left the barracks, at the old township, and passed through Goulburn on his way to Braidwood; he being a man somewhat up in years, no one supposed he would ever attempt to cross the creek in its swollen state; but he seems to have done so, and perished in the attempt.

His horse (with all his accoutrements, pistols, sward, and carbine) came out on the opposite side of the river, and made for Mr. Phillips', at Lansdowne; it is considered useless to make any effort to recover the body till the creek falls.

It was reported that there were three men drowned at Paddy's River, but from enquiries we have made, we do not believe that there is any truth in the report; several others have been going round, but we forbear taking any notice of them till authenticated.

Electoral List - The electoral list has just been made out by our chief constable, Mr. McAllister, and we find there are qualified persons in the town to the number of 114; in the district, 17 ; in that part of Georgiana, in the district of Goulburn, 28. Total, 314.

Casualty Of The Late Flood. An entire stack of hay has been floated from some farm on the banks of the Wollondilly, and landed in that state Considerably further down than where it originally stood.

It is supposed to be that of Thomas Chamberlain who had a stack between forty and fifty tons carried away.

We have heard that about 40 huts have been washed away along the banks of the Wollondilly, vis., at Kippelan, Mummell, &c., but as far as we can learn the inmates have all been spared.

Quarter Sessions. This court was opened for the despatch of business about one o'clock this day; only three cases were gone through, when the court closed this evening. The calendar is rather heavy, and is expected to last till Tuesday evening.

P.S. - The rivers are considerably down, but they are still bank high.