Jugiong Flood

The Sydney Morning Herald

3 August 1853

July - Scarcely had the ink dried on the paper which wrote the account of the flood of the 30th ultimo, when it is again called into requisition to record "one of the most terrific inundations of the Murrumbidgee that have ever been known to have taken place within the recollection of the oldest resident in this neighbourhood." From Saturday, the 9th instant, up to Monday, the 11th, the rain poured down in torrents, without intermission. On Monday night we were thrown into the greatest consternation, owing to the fearful rapidity with which the river rose, causing terror and despondency to seize on all our hearts, while endeavouring to save our lives and property from the merciless fury of the destructive element, and which, (thank God) we effected, though with considerable difficulty.

By the hour of midnight all had forsaken their homes, taking refuge on the brow of the range, as best they could, the rain still falling as if from a waterspout, which, together with the roaring of the river, was truly awful.

Mr. Sheahan's family had been removed from out of the dwelling into that of the school house, wherein they remained until daybreak of Tuesday morning, the 12th, when they were obliged to betake themselves to flight, the water making rapid strides towards it; and from which they had scarcely escaped before that it was entirely surrounded. The work of demolition was fairly begun. By 10 o'clock the inn, together with extensive outhouses, stables, &c., the property of Mr. Sheahan, were completely submerged, and continued so to be till four o'clock in the afternoon, when the whole became entirely hidden from view.

Great has been his loss, not only here but also at those stages situated by the banks of the river, where was deposited the fodder for the relay of horses to convey the mail from Yass to Albury, the whole of which has been swept away.

Of all those who may have suffered by this never to be forgotten flood, none there are that will feel it so severely as he will, because at this season of the year it is next to an impossibility to procure forage at any price; so that not only has his house been dismantled, the greater part of his premises carried away, but furthermore he may experience considerable difficulty in fulfilling his contract during the remainder of the year.

Miserable, indeed, is our situation, being fairly cut off from all postal communication, the frightful state of the roads (along this line) altogether, with the flooded state of the creeks, rendering it absolutely impossible for the mail, either by vehicle or otherwise, to travel. But a few days ago a horse was drowned in Bogalong Creek, its rider narrowly escaping with his life.

We are of opinion that the members for these counties have a right to represent our wants in the Legislative Council, by compelling the Government to expend a few hundreds in throwing bridges over this and the Bogalong Creeks, which have, and ever will, continue to be the great barriers to postal or other communications reaching us. Surely we are entitled to a little attention being paid us, especially at this time, when our houses have been demolished, and (worst of all) our agricultural labours utterly destroyed, all traces of cultivation having been washed from out of the ground.

Upon the whole our present condition is truly pitiable. The most singular incident connected with the flood was that of a horse belonging to Mr. Sheahan. Endeavouring to regain the stables, from which he had been driven prior to its been surrounded by the water, the current was running with great force, drifting down enormous logs: still the noble animal deemed determined to brave all dangers to gain his stable; but for the timely assistance afforded him by his owner, who with others hastened to extricate him, he must have been drowned, having been borne in the current a considerable distance from the place where he went in.

Since writing the above, our worthy townsman (Mr. Sheahan) has again been instrumental in saving the life of a fellow-creature, who had rashly attempted to ford the above creek. He was lifted from out of the saddle, and carried down the stream, out of which he was providentially rescued by Mr. S., who, as soon as informed of the accident, hastened to the scene of danger, and with his usual intrepidity of conduct (which has often been exerted in the cause of suffering humanity) succeeded in saving the life of the drowning man. The river is yet on the rise.