Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Floods a Part of Our Colourful History

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Floods a Part of Our Colourful History

Article excerpt


with Beryl Johnston

THE highest and most disastrous flood ever known occurred in the Brisbane River in February 1893 and on the 4th of that month waters rose to a height of 86ft 7ins at Lowood.

At the head of the river at Crohamhurst over 35 inches of rain fell in 24 hours on February 3; at Woodford 20ins. In four days nearly 77.5 inches fell at Crohamhurst and 41 inches at Woodford.

Such a volume of water caused wide spread destruction, with homes, cattle and crops etc being swept away, although Lowood township itself suffered very little.

About 11 o'clock on February 4, Mr Albert Baumann of Vernor arrived in Lowood after crawling through mountainous scrub between Vernor and Lowood to take news that on February 3, Captain Vernor and family in endeavouring to escape from their home in a boat, had struck a tree broadside on and capsized. Mr Baumann said they could see the Vernors in the tops of two gum trees but didn't know how many of the family were there.

A Mr W Russell was at the time in Lowood and volunteered to try and rescue the family. A decision was made to take two dinghies 13ft long x 3ft 6ins wide and 12ins in depth to rescue them. Others who volunteered to attempt the rescue were Major J F Flewell-Smith, his brother Malcolm and Arthur Nunn. When the boats arrived at their destination, the men could see eight of the Vernors, including an orphan boy clinging to the trees. They had been in that position for 24 hours. Mrs Vernor, as the water rose, tied the children to the branches with what clothing the adults could spare and Captain Vernor held one daughter, then another so that they might get some sleep. After dangerous manoeuvres during the rescue, the boats with six persons in each then had to cross a river full of whirlpools and debris to the side of a mountain where they landed at Vernor.

When the Vernors returned to their home four days later, they found that pictures, furniture and piano were "in a mess" and also in the rooms were a dead horse, four calves, a pig and fowls. …

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