Unparalleled Flood

The Sydney Morning Herald

5 July 1852

Goulburn. Seventy-Seven Lives Lost [at Gundagai].

June 30. - Many are of opinion that there will be a second flood before long.

The Mulwarree continued to go down till this morning, when the rain, which fell during last night, caused it to rise, but not so much as to prevent persons crossing at some places. The Shoal haven was so much up that the Braidwood mail, which should have arrived last Wednesday, did not come in till yesterday evening; the contractor (and driver), Robert Elliott, made a raft, and endeavoured to cross, but seeing the impracticability and danger of doing so, had a line passed to him, and he was brought back again to the same side he had left.

It is proper that the utmost efforts should be made to bring on mails, but the public are not unreasonable - they do not wish contractors to endanger their lives in the discharge of their duty.

There are some men on the roads who could be ill spared; Elliot is one of them - his exertions when on the Sydney road to bring in the mail in all weathers are well known, and now that he is acting on his own account we should be sorry if anything should happen to him.

The gold escort which arrived last Saturday from Sydney is still here, that from Braidwood not having come to hand.

The Wednesday and Thursday mail from Sydney arrived about eleven o'clock on Sunday last. Friday's mail arrived about half past seven on Monday evening, being two days behind its time. There are three mails due this evening, Saturday's, Monday's, and Tuesday's.

The roads were bad before the late heavy rains, but now they are nearly impassable. We are glad that our representative has taken up the state of the Great Southern Floods with so much spirit; we hope his efforts will be crowned with such a measure, of success as will put them in such a state of repair as will render them capable of being passed over. It is truly surprising how few accidents occur with our highways in such a deplorable state.

From time to time we hear of prisoners sentenced to be worked on the roads or other public works of the colony, and sometimes to hard labour in our gaol, but the latter is all a farce, for the present state of the labour market it is imperative that all the men sentenced as above should be put on the roads. There are no doubt evils connected with such a procedure, but necessity has no law. Desperate cases require desperate measures to overtake the effects of the late flood.

From day today intelligence reaches us of the devastation made by the late floods. A gentleman stated to us to-day that the house of Dr. Adye, situ ate on the Murrumbidgee has been almost swept away; he lost all his furniture, &c. He and his family had to take to the bush, where they were exposed for two days to the inclement weather, Considerable damage has been done at Yass.

Mr. Watson is the principal sufferer, a number of outhouses, including his country house, with his books of account, have been swept away. It is said he has sustained damage to between 4 and 5000.

In our own immediate locality, wherever we turn our eyes, the most desolating effects present themselves to our view. Those who had ploughed their fields and put in seed have had both soil and seed washed away. The fences of all the farm and gardens situate on the banks of the Wollondilly and Mulwarra Rivers have suffered considerably.

A stack of hay has been carried down from Mummell and lodged in one of the paddocks at Rossiville, a distance of seven or eight miles.

At the latter place a complete opening has been made through a lot of willow trees situate on the banks of the river, the whole body of them seems to have been removed at once, carried to some distance, and laid down with their roots turned up.

We regret to say that the body of William Fitzpatrick, of the mounted police (formerly chief constable at Moreton Bay), whom we noticed as being drowned in this neighbourhood on the 25th instant, has not been found. The police were out yesterday, but no truces of the body were to be seen.

P.S.-Since writing the foregoing it is reported that the Mulwarra has risen considerably.

9pm The Yass mail arrived a little ago with the most melancholy tidings of 77 lives being lost at Gundagai. The whole town was swept away but three houses.

This is the news from this side of the river (Murrumbidgee); what has occurred on the other side could not be known. It is supposed to be equally appalling.

We hear that a lady and gentleman at Queanbeyan had to take to the bush and get on a tree, where they were two days and nights without sustenance. No one could get near to give relief; all the furniture, including the piano, is gone.

we also hear that the flood was so great at Yass that a horse was drowned in the street.