Hawkesbury District Independent June 2017 #85 - Page 46

out & about Events and Exhibition mark 150th anniversary of 1867 flood On Saturday 22 June 1867, the Windsor correspondent telegraphed to the Sydney Morning Herald: “White men never saw a bigger deluge in the Hawkesbury. Women and children may be seen walking about, some of them half naked, cold and hungry. The town is divided into islands, which are gradually and terribly diminishing. The greater portion of the town is now inundated. The water has risen about 63 feet.” (19.2m, Windsor Bridge is 22.64 feet/ 6.9m).  The correspondent was describing the Hawkesbury’s highest-ever recorded flood, the one by which all others are measured. The devastation and loss, as well as the lessons learned, will be remembered on the weekend of 23-25 June, with talks at Hawkesbury Regional Museum in Windsor, a guided tour of the award- winning Flood! exhibition, and tours of the neighbourhood with Stephen Yeo, Flood Risk Management Officer for the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Flood Directorate, Infrastructure NSW (bookings for all through Eventbrite). At the museum’s Howe House, fronting Thompson Square, floodwater filled the basement and came halfway up the walls of the ground floor. According to contemporary reports, gun shots could be heard signalling those who needed to be rescued, as others clung to hay stacks, roofs, trees - anything that would float and keep them from the swirling water. It’s hard for us to imagine these days how such an onslaught affected the population, and stretched the resources of the small community. Additional evacuation boats were sent from Sydney via a special train, but the train was then stuck at Windsor Station when flood water covered the viaduct on South Creek. Due to the heroic efforts of volunteers, many people were rescued, but livestock were not so lucky. Trees, waves and other debris including furniture smashed into homes, causing some to be knocked off their foundations. The height and ferociousness of the water also caused irreparable damage to the river environment. Some properties just slipped into the river and were carried away. Though flooding has continued to be part of life on the Hawkesbury, we have learnt a lot about how to mitigate the risk. One good thing to come out of 1867 was the formation of the first volunteer water brigade in Windsor, in 1869. In due course this led to the development of the SES, a fascinating story that will be shared by David King in his talk, Boatmen to the Rescue (free entry – book through Eventbrite). Community History Librarian, Michelle Nichols, studied the floods of that era for her book, Disastrous Decade. Michelle will give a talk at 10am on Wednesday 14 June (Hawkesbury Central Library, all welcome, no need to book). At the library from 1 June to 31 August you can also see the special display, Implications For The Present by Infrastructure New South Wales (free – during Library opening hours). Museum Curator, Rebecca Turnbull with historian and museum volunteer, Carol Carruthers prepare for the award-winning Flood! Exhibition. Hawkesbury Remembers The Great Flood PO Box 146 WINDSOR NSW 2756 150th Anniversary of the flood of 1867 - highest ever recorded flood in the Hawkesbury LIBRARY museum 300 George Street, Windsor Open Monday-Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-1pm, Sunday 2-5pm 8 Baker Street, Windsor Open Wednesday – Monday 10am-4pm. Closed Tuesdays The Museum will be open 10am-9pm on Friday 23 June during the special ‘Evening in the Square’ event where music, food and activities will commemorate the anniversary. To book phone us on 02 4560 4655 or go to http://hawkesburymuseum.eventbrite.com (02) 4560 4460 HAWKESBURY’S GREAT FLOOD 1867 Wednesday 14 June 10-11.30am Hawkesbury Family History Group meeting 150 years ago massive floods had a disastrous impact on the area. With Michelle Nichols, author of Disastrous Decade. Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor FREE – no need to book. All welcome. FLOOD - IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PRESENT (display) From 1 June – 31 August A display from Infrastructure NSW that highlights the modern flood strategy, as well as information about the historic 1867 flood. FREE – during Library opening hours. 46 ISSUE 85 // JUNE 2017 (02) 4560 4655 FLOOD! exhibition This award-winning exhibition looks at the history of flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean, and how it has shaped our communities. It includes artefacts and archival photography and film. FREE – during Museum opening hours. FLOOD WALKING TOURS Friday, 23 June 11am and 2pm Saturday 11am Join Dr Stephen Yeo, flood specialist with Infrastructure NSW, who has a special interest in the 1867 flood. Join this walking tour of Windsor to see some of the flood landmarks and hear stories of the people and places involved in floods. FREE – bookings essential through Eventbrite. THE FLOOD BOATS Friday, 23 June 5-9pm Saturday, 24 June 10am-4pm The Richmond Flood Boat, built in 1864, and the Freemans Reach Flood Boat, one of the last rescue boats in service, will be on public display in the Museum grounds. Hear stories about their history and restoration. FREE 1867 flood (engraving) Illustrated Sydney News July 1867 FLOOD! CURATOR TOUR Saturday 24 June 1pm Join curator Rebecca Turnbull on this special tour of the exhibition Flood! - remembering the destructive effects of the 1867 flood and how it changed a community. FREE – bookings essential through Eventbrite. BOATMEN TO THE RESCUE Saturday 24 June 2pm After the devastating flood of 1867 the first Water Brigade was formed in Windsor in 1872 and since then thousands of rescues have been carried out. David King talks about the history of flood rescue in the Hawkesbury. FREE – bookings essential through Eventbrite. www.hdinews.com.au THE hawkesbury INDEPENDENT