Harbours, Bays and Floods -One hundred years ago – April, 1914
Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of this time in 1914, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:
OUR HARBOR – Mr. C. McInnes, formerly in charge of the training walls in the river and who has been raised to the position of Inspector of Harbor and Rivers, had a run down our local stream on his way through from Bega on Wednesday. Mr. McInnes informed an “Examiner” representative that the channel along the lower stretch of training wall had deepened and was now 15ft at ordinary tide. The bar had silted up considerably through the recent flood, but was daily deepening, owing to normal conditions having set in. The channel had somewhat silted up and altered, but to what extent could not be accurately ascertained until a thorough sounding had been taken.
Mr. McInnes is of our opinion that the Hillmeads should be taken off this trade as she draws considerably over the Bermagui, whose light draft enables her to easily cross the bar and negotiate the river at all reasonable seasons, which proves her to be the most desirable boat of the Illawarra fleet for this trade. Besides she is as steady as a rock which makes her a favourite with passengers and those who export or import live stock. 4/4/1914
BAY PUNT – After long years of agitation and weary waiting the Minister has informed the Bateman’s Bay Progress Association that he has approved of the acceptance of a tender for the construction of an oil driven punt. Our Federal Member passed over in the present slow conveyance during the inclement weather of last week, which, with an extra prick in the spinal chord from Capt. Millard no doubt, explains the Minister for Works’ hurry up. 4/4/1914
NELLIGEN (From our Correspondent) – At last the long dry spell is broken. From Thursday night till Tuesday we received 19 inches (1902 points) of rain, the heaviest being Sunday night, it registering 610 points. All the creeks and river were in flood, the creeks in some places being half a mile wide. The river had every appearance of visiting our local publican’s bar, as it had already started to climb the steps. Dent Bros. had between 150 and 200 sleepers packed on the wharf, and at 10 o’clock Monday night were seen waist deep in water securing them with wire to prevent them from being washed away. All the fences for miles around have been washed away, most of the growing crops spoilt, and sand 18 inches deep washed on to most of the cultivated paddocks. Hundreds of pounds of damage have been done in the district, one farmer alone is estimated to have £200 damage done.
Two teamsters, Rogers and Shepherd, were camped at Torpey’s, and had a very nasty experience which they won’t care to go through again. It appears that they camped in an old house and woke up to find the place half full of water and had to make their escape through a window, as one of them, I believe, couldn’t swim, were both lucky to escape alive, as the water rose within two feet of the top of the roof. The water came down with such force that it turned Mr. Roger’s wagon completely over and washed away all his load along with Mr. Shepherd’s and a large quantity of harness. Between £400 and £500 worth of damage have been done. To make matters worse four of Mr. Rogers valuable horses were drowned and three of them washed down as far as the Bay. A rescue party went out on Tuesday to see what they could pick up. Rugs, mats, jackets, and yards of material were picked up, cartridges, tea, sauce, vinegar, benzene and a cask of beer and other sundry items were rescued from the creek.
A cask of whisky was seen floating down the river followed by a crate of biscuits, then benzine….. The place is an absolute wreck and will be some months before things are in shipshape order again. 4/4/1914
Sixteen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1913 are available ($5 ea) from the society’s rooms. Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Pioneer Museum in Campbell St. Moruya (mdhs.org.au).