Ballarat flood 1860

From Hotels of Ballarat

The Ballarat flood of December 1860 particularly damaged the low lying areas of the town around Main Road.

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Many hotels were flooded on Sunday morning, December 9, following heavy rainfall:

On Sunday morning, between 10 and 11 o'clock, the Main road was visited with another disastrous flood, which has done an immensity of damage, not only to the footwalks and streets, but also to private property. About 8 o'clock on Saturday night the heavens were overcast with dark and ominous clouds, while vivid flashes of lightning shot forth incessantly, and illuminated objects to a considerable distance. Loud peals of thunder occasionally broke forth, and it was evident that a heavy fall of rain would ensue. Occasionally a few heavy drops heralded the approaching fall of rain, and us the day began to dawn it came down in torrents. About eight o'clock in the morning the rain fell heavily and continuously, and at that hour it was a matter of certainty that the Main road and the lower parts of the town would be deluged. From an early hour the residents in this part of the town had been preparing for the worst; many of them procured a sort of cement, with which they plastered up all the holes and splits and crevices in their stores, for the purpose of keeping out the invader; and we are happy to state that to a certain extent they were successful. Some of them on the previous night, anticipating a flood, had removed their property to a place of safety. The flood on the Main road readied its highest point about 10.30 a.m., and then the water was from 12in. to 14in over the footwalks from the Hermit's Cave Hotel as far as the Horse Bazaar. The waters rushed down the creek near the Alpaca Store, the rising ground behind the old Keyser Hotel, and swept through the shops and stores in that locality, and found its way into the street, forced the planks from the footwalks, that had only just been repaired, and carried them into the Yarrowee Creek, where they were swept away. The footwalks on either side of the street, from Wittkowski Brothers' down to the Golden Age Hotel, are torn up, and near the Duchess of Kent Hotel from three to four inches of the macadamised metal have been swept off the street. In the John o' Groat Hotel the cellars are full of water, and casks of ale and other liquors are floating about promiscuously. The Duchess of Kent Hotel has also suffered considerably, as well as the Hermit's Cave, but the Alpaca Store has not suffered as much as on former occasions. No less then 18 inches of water were running in through Mr Mumby's back door and out through the front into the street; and indeed every store on that side of the street and in the locality has suffered considerably. The vicinity of the Star Hotel, which hitherto suffered severely from such casualties, has been remarkably free this time from the visitation- a circumstance that may be attributed to the deepening of the channel and the rising of the bridge of the creek, which precluded the possibility of a flood doing any serious damage here. During the time that the Main road remained impassable a number of Buninyong cars plied for hire backwards and forwards. The torrent swept down Barkly street and at the rear of the houses near the Glasgow Arms, and found its way through several stores in the locality. At Drury and Wright's corner the street was also impassable, and the floor of Messrs Jones and Clemesha's coffee store was completely inundated. The waters that found their way into the street there came from the blind creek in Main street, and found an easy outlet through the timber yard of Wallis and Curwen. Higher up the floods came down to Sturt street like a roaring cataract, and choked up the channel bridge with sand and gravel and rubbish of every description. At the corner of Eyre and Armstrong streets, and at other places, east and west, where the gratings were too small, the streets were flooded with water. At the White Flat, where much damage was done on a former visitation, and where the waters converge from the rising ground all round, the torrent rushed with great force all day, and carried away the roadway on the Golden Point side of the bridge, leaving a chasm some four feet wide, which cut off all vehicular traffic with the township, and vice versa, by that quarter. The works of the Clydesdale Mining Company and the Glasgow Company have been flooded, and the engines were pumping out the water all day. Other mining companies in the low lying ground have also suffered, but not materially. We have not heard of the loss of any life, nor the bursting of any water dams. Judging from the quantity of rain that fell, the wheat and oat crops, where heavy, must have suffered severely. These had been injured by the late rains, and in many places had been laid; and the hay crop, which also had been injured, will not now be cut, but will be allowed to grow for an oat crop ; so that already persons are calculating on a scarcity of hay next season.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1860 'THE FLOODS AT BALLARAT.', Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), 12 December, p. 3. , viewed 16 Jun 2018,