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13 December 1870 Murray Floods

13 December 1870     Murray Floods

On 13 December 1870 Mounted Police Sergeant J.R. Ewens, officer in charge of the Blanchetown police station, wrote in his diary: ‘River higher than ever’. His record of the worst flood in the settled history of South Australia began as early as April that year when the sergeant wrote that the river was rising and steamers were moving again down the Darling with wool. After an extremely wet winter the river continued to rise until all the flat country along its banks was flooded drowning thousands of sheep and cattle. The Moorundie Police Station was destroyed and in Mannum rowboats could be taken in and out of the windows of the Bogan Hotel (now Mannum) and it was possible to step from the deck of the steamer Ariel on to the balcony of the hotel. The peak marked on a door at Walker’s Mill showed the waters to be roughly fifteen feet above normal and barges could sail up the main street to load flour at the mill. The river gradually fell in 1871 until by June it was apparently back to normal. Of course in 1870 there were no locks on the river and it was before the irrigation settlements of Renmark and Berri. 

News, 10 July 1956.

Tags: , Moorundie, River Murray