News from the Interior, Gundagai
News from the Interior (From Our Various Correspondents) Gundagai
The Sydney Morning Herald
11 November 1844
November 6. -Since the date of my last communication, the weather has been an anomalous compound of storm and serenity, shower and sunshine.
We have had some frost, and a few heavy hail showers. The variation of the atmosphere has interfered very materially with our shearing, which is now very general.
Shearers are very scarce, and some parties have been compelled in consequence to advance upon intended rates.
The price per score varies, according to locality, from 2s to 2s 6d , with 20s. to 24s. per week for washing: in both cases the men ration themselves.
The wool is in first-rate condition generally, and heavy.
The river has fallen considerably, and parties can at length take advantage of its clear flowing waters for the operation of sheep wishing.
The body of Mr. C.Thomson's servant (whom I reported to you as drowned) has been found, and interred.
The corpse of the aborigine has also been recovered from its sedgy resting place, and consigned to the earth. An inquest was held upon the remains before Mr Commissioner Bingham.
Mrs. Thorne's for whom fears were entertained, are all safe, also Mr. O'Brian's.
The latter however, lost considerably by the flood, having had a number of calves drowned; dairy produce washed away, and hay and wheat stacks partially destroyed. T
he stack which I mentioned as having been by report, seen "floatin down the river near Gundagai," was not O'Bien's, as assumed.
It is rumoured here that great loss has been sustained from the flood by one or two parties down the river.
Almost everyone has suffered in some way; but the loss of human life has been, under Providence, less than was anticipated.
As a proof to you what description of current exerted its devastating effect upon us, I will mention, that on the opposite side of the river at Gundagai a blacksmiths shop was washed away, the post in which his anvil was fixed, and which was three feet six inches in the ground, was torn up and the anvil itself carried considerable distance!
The river has now subsided to within three or four feet (in depth) of its ordinary summer level and our attention being frequently attracted to the weeds and rubbish left by the late floods it so great an elevation on the trees, we have noticed what would perhaps otherwise have escaped our observation.
The vestiges of a former inundation, which must have been eighteen inches above that from which we have lately suffered, are now evident in limbs of trees which have been wished into the forks of others, and which the growing wood it the point of contact has completely enfolded, thus proving a lapse of many years between the intervals of the floods.
The aboriginals do not appear to consider the flood at all extraordinary. I remember distinctly that on my first visit to the Murrumbidgee, and whilst engaged in the erection of my father's head station, the blacks assured us that the hill on which we erected the hut, and where it now stands, had been two winters before surrounded by water, and that great numbers of kangaroo had been taken from it by them.
We disbelieved this at the time, but its truth is apparent now.
The hill was surrounded by the late flood as they described it previously to have been, and which, if their calculation of time be collect as to the period before I visited the river must have been in 1830 - thus giving fourteen years betwixt this flood and the list.
The generally received opinion here is, that the inundation was caused by the sudden thawing of the snow on the Maneroo Alps, at the head of the Murrumbidgee.
I can scarcely deem it possible that the immensity of snow which would be required to produce such an awful flood, could thaw with sufficient rapidity by the simple action of the Atmosphere.
It is however certain, that the Snowy Mountains, visible from our hills, were quite bare immediatly after the flood, whilst two or three days previously I hid been admiring their "snow capp'd summits" gleaming with silvery lustre under sunbeams in the "far south."
Accounts from Manneroo also state that such fall of snow as there took place towards the close of the present winter, has not been known before by the oldest European resident.
This circumstance would appear to bear out the general opinion.
The winter was also uncommonly cold, as many of us here can feelingly testify.
It was anticipated that great loss would be sustained by the farmer, and that wheat would be scarce and dear.
This does not now appear to be probable; much of the growing crop has rallied again and the result generaly will be a larger yield than would have been had the flood not touched it: for the deposit left at the roots all over the fields to the depth of from two to four inches has "hilled" every stem most effectually, and added to the richness of the soil as well as the quantity thereof.
There is nothing interesting occuring here; the sensation produced by the flood is fast subsiding, and we are again settling down into that monotonous tedium of a bush life which so soon renders even its admirers anxious to shuffle off its coil, and none could endure but for the occasional bustle (such as shearing for instance) which marks it, and from its importance reconciles us to our loneliness; reminding us, that though shut out from the world, the bushman does not live in vain.
The weather is serene and sunny, and summer, though protracted, will doubtless be very oppressive this year.
Food for all descriptions of stock is abundant, and the "boilers" will doubtless be in requisition to an immense extent after the clip is taken off.
Most large proprietors will, however, render down then own stock I imagine, as an immense saving of expense and increase of profit is ensured thereby.
Any grazier at all sceptical on this point, may, as the onus probandi is in his own hands, convince himself without expense.
The bushrangers who recently escaped from Mr. Beckham's police have again robbed Mr. Chisholm's store near Yass, and the police, though immediately acquainted of if, have failed in capturing them.