1847 Flood on the Glenelg River
Glenelg & Wannon Region, South West Victoria, Australia
  • McKINLAY's Inn Flooded.
    The Mount Gambier and Glenelg Districts.--The Glenelg throughout its whole course, but more especially below the junction of the Wannon, has been higher this winter than it has been previously known since its settlement. The floods have been chiefly occasioned by the heavy snow storms upon the Grampians and Victoria mountains. Mr. M'Kinlay's inn, erected at the ford, on the old road to Adelaide, has been flooded several feet deep. The flats on both sides have been covered, and communication with the opposite bank was for a time suspended. Below the junction of the Wannon River with the Glenelg, the country immediately adjacent to the latter is, with the exception of a very few patches of grassy land, never exceeding in extent three hundred and twenty acres together, and rarely so much entirely barren. Heath, sandy deserts, gum-tree scrubs, dense masses of tee-tree, rushy swamps, and stunted forests of stringy-bark, alternately fill up the whole space within three or four miles of the river, from a few miles below the junction of the Wannon to the estuary of the much-boasted Glenelg. The adsurdity of the clause in the new Land Orders, reserving a breadth of two miles of frontage on both sides of the Glenelg, from the junction of the Wannon downwards, within the settled districts, excites the wonder and ridicule of all knowing the locality in question. From the Wannon to the junction of the Crawford or Smokey River, a distance of about twenty miles in a straight line, but fully double that distance by following the windings of the stream, the Glenelg in summer presents the usual appearance of our western rivers--namely, a chain of water holes filled with dead and decaying trees, connected together hy a small stream trickling, almost imperceptibly, through the sand. The banks are low, covered with tea tree and reeds. The tide affects the water slightly below the junction of the Crawford. The banks are precipitous, lofty, and often overhanging, and there is not a single place below the Smokey River where a dray could be brought down to the margin of the water on either side, and very few where any four-footed animal could descend to drink, if the water were sufficiently fresh to induce them. The splendid country spoken of by Dr. Lang, M.C., existing between Portland and the Glenelg, admirably suited for the location of a vast agricultural, and especially flax-growing population, is non est inventus by any practical explorer. The magnificent country on and near the Wannon and Grange Burn is, however, all that could be desired for agricultural purposes. A rumour has prevailed that a special survey was about to be applied for by the, agents of an extensive landed proprietor in Scotland, for a tract of country, comprising some of the richest land in the latter district, on which is the celebrated lower fall of the Wannon, where the river precipitates itself over a clear fall of about one hundred and thirty feet, and affords an almost unrivalled situation for the erection of mills, or manufactories requiring unlimited water-power. The locality is in the midst of a district unrivalled for richness of soil and pasturage, save by a few of the more choice localities on the Lower Barwon and Colac country--but second to none in point of beauty of scenery. The fore-grounds consists of rich, open, grassy downs, lightly timbered with wattle and blackwood, shelving towards the various streams which so abundantly irrigate the district. The background consisting of the bold mountains of the Grampian Range, the saw-teeth like ridges of the Victorias, and many lesser hills around, comprising Mounts Rouse and Napier, the Dundas Range, and many others.-"Correspondent of Port Phillip Gazette."
    Source : "The Moreton Bay Courier" (Brisbane, Qld.) Saturday, 16th October 1847.

  • Henry Miller, Esq. lost about fourteen hundred ewes and lambs
    THE NEW COUNTRY.--During the late immense flood in the Glenelg, a flock of sheep belonging to Henry Miller, Esq., consisting of about fourteen hundred ewes and lambs were swept away by a sudden rise of the river whilst depasturing upon its banks. It appears that the flock were upon a grassy flat within a bend of the river, behind which was a chain of lagoons, and between these the sheep had been driven. The shepherd had left the flock to visit a relative on a neighbouring out-station, On his return he found the rise in the river had caused a strong creek to rush between the lagoons. The flock were thus on an island. Assistance was immediately obtained from the head station, but when it arrived the whole flat was one waste of water, and the current was so strong as to prevent any attempt to save the poor animals, which were observed to clustered together upon the highest ground they could reach, vainly endeavouring to retain their footing and keep their heads above water, and meanwhile bleating out most piteously. They were one after another swept down with the current. Not one escaped to the margin of the stream on either side. The floods in the Glenelg and Wannon have been higher this year than ever previously known by Europeans. Some of the settlers were completely floated out of their huts, and great quantities of fencing have been swept away.--"Port Phillip Gazette."
    Source : "The Sydney Morning Herald" (NSW) Saturday, 30th October 1847.

    NOTE : Henry MILLER 1809-1888, squatter & businessman held the lease to the "Pieracle" Pastoral Run on the Glenelg river west of Digby at this time. See Map

Daryl Povey

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Casterton & District Historical Society