Mintaro flood

The local correspondent of the Clare paper wrote on January 12:— “Yesterday a heavy thunderstorm lasted two or three hours. Such heavy rain in this locality has not been seen for upwards of 20 years. It was believed by most of the inhabitants that some terrible large waterspout had burst behind the town about Mount Horrocks. What gave rise to their supposition was that a breast of water came down suddenly, which they thought would not have been the case if it was rain alone. The scene was grand—the water running with such force that when it met with any obstruction it carried it away or leaped into the air foaming. The width of the water here could not have been less than 200 yards, and on the level ground in front of Mr. Lathlean’s store it was up over the middle of a tall man’s body. Great damage has been done to the roads. The approaches to our new bridge both on the north and south side have been carried away. This bridge was just completed two days previously, and every person was admiring the splendid road that we had, and which the Mintaraites (sic) were justly glad of. Again, out of the town, nearly in front of Mr. Giles’s residence, the force of the water cut clean through the road about16 feet wide and six feet deep. Other damage again was done between that and the township, so that it is for the present impossible for horses or vehicles to come in north or south. The damage done to private property is very great. Many houses had three feet of water in them, and the suddenness of the flood prevented things being shifted, no one for a moment expecting such a calamity, except a few of us who recollect a similar flood 22 years ago. No lives have been lost, but some very narrow escapes took place, and a few exciting incidents I cannot pass over. Mr. Rowe’s two daughters with several children went into a hut near the blacksmith’s shop, thinking to have a view of the creek rushing past, when suddenly the thatched roof fell on them. They received no injury, but were imprisoned in the place. Their shrieks attracted no one, as they could not be heard for the roaring of the water. Eventually the Misses Rowe came and succeeded in dragging out their brothers and sisters, but not until the small children were up to their necks in water. A few minutes later and five lives would have been lost. They then got on to a roof, and had to remain there for hours in the pelting rain. No one could render any assistance. Mr. Rowe I believe is the greatest sufferer, iron ploughs, ironwork, haystacks, fencing, outhouses, and other property being totally swept away and broken up or rendered useless in some manner. The inside of his house was a wreck, almost everything being destroyed. He is not aware of the amount of his loss at present. Mr Cain’s house was surrounded by water, and a rope was thrown across and a boy tied to it to be dragged across. When in the stream the knot slipped, and the boy would have been lost but for the presence of mind of a young man who dashed in at great peril and saved him. Great anxiety was felt for Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Turpin, who had been confined, only a day or two previous, their houses being surrounded by the flood to a depth of three feet. People, regardless of their Sunday habiliments, rushed through the seething mass of water to their aid, some of whom, were thrown down by the force of the torrent. One person was bringing a child through the flood to a place of safety, when he fell with it, but did not relinquish his hold, and eventually placed it in safety. Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Turpin were also removed to neighbours’ places, who were only too glad to shelter and tend them. Great damage has been done at Mr. Priest’s quarry; indeed it would be more difficult to find out where damage has not been done in the run of the flood than where it has. Losses to those who had but little is in my estimation as great to them as heavier losses to those who are wealthy.”