The first big flood in January 1917 -

The Home Hill district experienced much wanted rain in January 1917 after prolonged dry seasons. Everywhere was flooded with local waters, and the roads were almost impassable. The lagoons all over the district were full and fish were fairly plentiful all round. The Burdekin River was reaching alarming levels and the manager at the Inkerman Mill was very anxious as some sugar was still on the floor which is lower than the bank of the river, and could have been lost.

Some of the lower river farmers had to leave their premises, having from one up to five feet (30cm to 1.5m) of water therein, and consequently some foodstuffs were damaged. However, most people had taken precautions by packing things away as high as possible. Constable Kidby deserved credit for his unremitting attention to flood waters everywhere, and publicising any possible danger; he checked the river heights during both day and night. The rising river broke its banks at a point 12 miles (20km) up and this water crossed the road between RW Warren’s farm and WB Mann's, a rush taking trees and fences with it. This break eased the pressure on places lower down. The low level bridge over the Burdekin at Carstairs did not withstand the pressure of the first big flood, and eventually about 40 spans were destroyed.

All aboard for Ayr and don't rock the boat.
Although the Council boat was moored on the north side of the Burdekin River bank, it was removed to Plantation Creek, leaving Home Hill without means of rescue. The Bowen people were very prompt in affording assistance and through the energies of Bowen’s Sergeant O’Donohue, a special train was dispatched and five boats were sent along. Two men voluntarily come from Bowen to assist with the boats, and other boating men round the district offered their service.

While the boats were here, Mr Hinkson, local carrier, suggested using them to have rowing and swimming races on the lagoons to raise money for those who tended the boats and also to inaugurate a fund to purchase a local boat. Mr Foxlee promoted the event, and Messrs Hayes and Poulsen drafted a programme. Permission was obtained to use the boats, refreshments arranged and the boats carted over to Gardiner’s Lagoon. A fine afternoon regatta was the result, about 200 attending. Mr Watson, who supplied the refreshments, gave half his profits, and other donations and collections raised a substantial amount. Mr Thompson, winner of the single sculls handicap, refunded his prize, also half the amount given him for services in taking people across the river. Mr Hinkson, and others who received payment for services, returned their fee to the fund, so a boat belonging to the town for rescue work was expected.

This is part of the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce History Website.


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