DESTRUCTION OF VICTORIA BRIDGE
FLOOD RELIEF FUND STARTED
WATERS STEADILY RECEDING. PROBABILITY OF IMPROVING WEATHER.
STATE OF AFFAIRS AT KANGAROO
NUMEROUS HOUSES SWEPT AWAY. HUNDREDS OF PERSONS HOMELESS.
The return of fine weather yesterday morn- ing was hailed with delight, but the earliest news of the day was of a most disastrous character. One half of the fine bridge, which united North and South Brisbane was swept away by the fury of the torrent, at the very time when the waters had begun to recede, and the loss and inconvenience which will thus be occasioned can scarcely be imagined. Yesterday the isolation was so com- plete that flag signals were made, though one or two adventurous persons crossed safely in boats, landing on this side far below the spot at which their voyage began. The news re- ceived from Kangaroo Point is of a most dis- tressing character, and it is evident that when communication by ferry is restored we shall hear of enormous losses of private property in every street of the lower portion of South
Until the flood subsides—and we are thank- ful to be able to state that there is a marked diminution in the volume of water now coming down the river—but little can be done towards relieving the distressed. It will be impossible to chronicle one tithe of the charitable actions which have been done during the flood; equally impossible is it to name those who did them ; but it has been one of the few consolations of this unhappy time to see so many Good Samaritans abroad helping their afflicted brethren. One of the first things which the mayor did was to throw open the Town Hall to those who were absolutely in distress, and there are now probably forty or fifty people assembled there. Many of them have lost their all, and their only consolation at the present time is that they have a dry roof over them and enough food to eat. Unhappily there is reason to fear that there are many others who have not even those things.
All day yesterday the waters slowly but steadily receded, and at midnight they had fallen eight or nine feet below the highest point reached, and Queen-street was clear from end
The number of people who thronged the streets all day was most remarkable. Here and there were to be seen those who bore traces of exposure and loss, but as a rule the people to be met were sight-seers. The omnibuses were crowded, and on some lines the returns were larger than they have been for many a day.
The waters still covered portions of Queen street to sufficient depth to prevent entrance to most of the establishments flooded, and it was a matter of impossibility to arrive at anything like a probable estimate of the losses sus- tained by merchants and others. Before the breakfast hour the entrance to the Courier Building was free of water, and although Queen-street, from Edward-street to past the Opera House was still submerged, the depth was not too great to prevent 'buses and other vehicles from making the journey over. In the course of the forenoon, however, a drain in the street collapsed, and further vehicular traffic was stopped. A corporation boat sub- sequently plied between the two points. At the submerged portion of the lower end of Queen-street boats were plying all day. As the waters receded in the principal streets the corporation employees at once began to sweep away the mud which was left behind. This work, aided by the thunder-shower of last night, will doubtless be followed up to-day. Much will remain to be done in washing out and thoroughly disinfecting the premises where the flood water has been, and it is hoped that the activity which accomplished so much after the 1890 flood will be surpassed in the far greater calamity which has now overtaken the city.
DESTRUCTION OF VICTORIA BRIDGE.
The worst fears which were entertained for the safety of the Victoria Bridge have been realised, as we have already briefly announced for it is our painful duty to record the fact that the structure has been completely wrecked. The disaster took place about 4 a.m. yester- day at which time there was a crowd gathered on the dry land at the bridge approaches. Gallantly as the structure had resisted the enormous weight of water rushing against it all day, when the first inroad was made it soon succumbed. The first portion to go was the second or third span, where the flood waters had probably been running the strongest. There was one loud crash, which shook the very earth, and made the surrounding buildings shake to their foundations; one con- vulsive heave, and the wrecked portion went down the river. Soon other pieces followed it, until before half an hour had elapsed fully one-half of the bridge had disappeared. The waters did their work completely. No dis- jointed masonry was left standing ; no twisted ironwork and broken woodwork marked the spot where the structure once stood. Of the northern half of the bridge not a vestige was left. The structure had broken off almost in the centre, as sharp and as clean as it could have been by workmen employed for the purpose. With the destruc- tion of the bridge the telegraph and the tele- phone wires went, so that communication will have to be carried on by means of boats.
Several hundreds of persons witnessed the destruction of the bridge. Amongst them were Messrs. S. Price, Bostrom, and Sneyd, who had occasion to leave Messrs. Stewart and Hem- mant's warehouse about half-past 8, and who went in the direction of Victoria Bridge. When they neared the bridge they found the railings piled high with débris, and shortly afterwards the bridge gave way in the middle. Seven distinct crashes were heard as span after span of the structure collapsed. The water was thrown to a great height as the bridge fell into
it, and the telegraph wires snapped with such force to shatter the insulators, and a small portion of the bank on the north and of the bridge fell in. The collapse is stated to have
occurred at ten minutes to 4 o'clock
The two punts already referred to as having been washed down the river on Sunday, and lodged against the bridge, disappeared and
the night. One of them, the largest, was
smashed up and swept under the bridge, and the other is reported to have shared a similar fate.
KANGAROO POINT AND SOUTH
FIRST COMMUNICATION WITH THE
CROSSING IN A SHIP'S BOAT. [BY OUR SPECIAL REPORTER.]
Sad indeed were the vigils of the people of Kangaroo Point on Saturday night. As the bells on the steamers tolled the hours anxiety increased, for with the departure of each hour the inroads of the river grew by feet. Appre- hensive, yet apparently unmindful of their own danger, families piled the last of their furn-
ture first on to tables and then raised them by degrees as the water level rose in the hope that with the receding tide in the early morning the flood would subside. But inch by inch the water grow upon them until at last they were forced to forsake their little all and take to the rescue boats which plied with difficulty for the current was strong and the piles of débris which came down and floated from the town reach across the narrow neck of land made it extremely dangerous to be about. Many re- fused either advice or assistance even when the water threatened to dislodge them from their roofs ; some, notwithstanding their pro- testations, were made to regard their own lives, and were forced into the boats. " The flood of '90 only came to the height of the table," they would remark, and nothing could persuade them that the disasters of the past could be eclipsed. Others when driven from their own houses sought refuge in the next higher, and so by degrees were driven to the high land, which commenced at the corner of the Kangaroo Point Hotel. In all the streets running at right angles with Main-street and opening on to the river a similar state of affairs existed, and in the majority the lowest houses were entirely covered. Indeed in Ferry-street and Prospect-street the water reached to within 100 yards of Main-street. By midnight rescue work was at its full,the police, aided by many of the youths, doing their utmost, and unmindful of danger to themselves went wherever cries summoned them. The scene was one that must live for ever in the memories of those who witnessed it. Women clad in the scantiest of raiment, and in many cases bearing children in their arms, were dragged out dripping wet from the boats and herded under the few verandas until some haven could be found for them. The wailings of women and children, the shouts of the spectators, and the cries of distressed animals rose above even the roar of the river, which ruthlessly swept away the savings of lifetimes and the little all of
A crash against the boats in the river told that a house had come into contact with the bows of the vessels, and for the moment all eyes strained to see if the ship had been parted from her moorings. The position of the ship's lights was all that indicated that the damage done in this direction was trifling, for though the vessel would shoot back a short distance the anchors evidently held, except in the case of the Konoowarra, which was driven over on the New Farm bank, where she remained until yesterday morning among the bushes.
A dozen or so lamps hung at various points shed a sickly light over the devastated area, and the heavy drenching rain made a fitting accom- paniment to the sad surroundings. Shops, houses, and the Immigration Barracks, them- selves surrounded by water, were thrown open, and by degrees the groups of sorrowing humanity were given shelter from the elements. The worthy town clerk (Mr. W. H. G. Marshall), the Harbour Master, (Captain Mackay), the police under Sergeant Kelly, the firemen, and volunteers did good work, for the most part adopting the rule of saving life and not pro- perty.
Some excitement was caused when the cry went up that the steamer Belle had broken away from her moorings. A crash was heard shortly after she had rounded the Point, and it was presumed she had struck one of the vessels lying in the New Farm reach and had sunk with her four hands. During Sunday, however, a report reached Kangaroo Point that she was lying safe at Eagle Farm, but the source of this statement could not be traced. Later in the night the Natone went down the river, but she steered clear of the steamers and now lies on Eagle Farm Flats.
Sunday morning in Brisbane never dawned, on so much desolation. It was only then that the full extent of the cruel waters' work could be gauged. Houses which when forsaken were but covered to the roof, had been lifted out of position, in many cases being deposited in the street. As the morning wore on the masses of débris shifted the buildings further until they toppled right over and passed away with others down the mighty stream. At about 11 o'clock a clump of bamboos torn up by the roots from the gardens drifted on to the Boko's bows, causing that vessel to part from her moorings, but no harm fortunately befel her. A similar accident happened the Lady Musgrave, but she too escaped injury.
Towards noon a portion of Peacock's Jam Factory went, and the large sheds on Gibbs, Bright's wharf partly collapsed. As if to keep company with its neighbours, a house owned by Sergeant Colclough also slipped away. Hundreds of people had by this time assembled at the water's edge in Main-street, but by far the larger number paraded or seated themselves on the many points of vantage to be found on River-terrace, there to watch the havoc of the flood. Many sat the whole day expecting to se the curator's residence in the gardens go but the structure settled down at the two ends, the middle part remaining intact, and nothing would shift it further.
About 4 o'clock the sound of many whistles told that something was wrong. Hundreds of eyes were immediately turned towards the river, and it was soon seen that the dredge plant had broken adrift. This included the large dredges Groper and Hydra, a clam- shell dredge, three steam-barges, and the pilot steamer Advance. For some reason steam had only been got up in two of the vessels, and as a consequence they drifted, down at a very smart pace. The Pippo, which had evidently been in readiness, immediately steamed away to give warning to the vessels moored in the river, and almost in a twinkling was lost to view by those standing on River-terrace. There was, of course, a general stam- pede to the Point, but only those mounted on horses reached this place in time to see them go round. In the mean- time the bunch of vessels had parted company. The Groper, which had with her one of the steam-barges, was the first round, a fact due apparently to the failure of the crew to get out a second anchor. It was plain from the shout- ing and the activity on board that this fouling of chains was giving some trouble, and the wonder is that with so little to steady her she passed the large steamers with safety. The Hydra, with the Advance and other boats, was quite five minutes longer in getting round, and steadied by three anchors, glided quite gracefully with the current. The
fact that only two of the steamboats in the group
had steam up was commented upon, but it was
afterwards explained that they had very little coal on board. These vessels yesterday after- noon were reported to be safely moored in Bulimba Reach. Scarcely had the excitement subsided when
the cry went up, " The baths have gone," and a moment later the large structure which in times of peace lay moored near the Edward-
street ferry was seen to crash into the veranda attached to the sheds on the Norman wharf, tearing away large portions of the awning. This collision diverted the course of the baths, and undoubtedly saved the large ship Penthesiles, lying at D. L. Brown's wharf. The steamer Mystery steamed down to give warning of this break away. Almost immediately after- wards two coal punts broke loose from the Garden Reach, and were preceded by the Midge, which also carried boats.
Nothing farther of importance happened among the shipping, but the greatest appre- hension was felt for the safety of the large vessels lying in the New Farm Reach as well as for the steamer Maranoa, which was berthed at the Kangaroo Point workshops' wharf of the A. U. S.N. Company. On the latter were either one or two families, and since she, had no steam to assist her in stemming the current, it was feared she must go. Additional lines were put out at intervals, and, as it fortunately proved, she stood the test. The others kept steaming slowly ahead, and thus eased their anchor lines. Their greatest danger lay in the drifting obstacles.
Thanks to the energy of Mr. W. H. G. Marshall and the hands engaged at the ferries all the ferry plant was saved, a fact of some importance now that the bridge has collapsed. During the evening a report gained currency that the foundations of the Immigration Depot were unsound, and something like a panic ensuing it was decided to remove all those who had sought refuge there to terra firma, which was done without mishap.
When day closed on the scene rain poured in torrents. There was, however, none of the bustle or excitement of the previous night. All was quiet except for the roar of the torrent and the conversation of the little crowd who elected to remain at the water's edge and discuss the probabilities of the issue while watching the receding flood. The sight of masses of house timber, and the vacant spaces along the street alignment as marked by the remaining tenements had been the day picture ; the slumbering families in the churches, schools, and shops furnished another phase. When visited at night many had already rolled themselves in blankets, in the majority of cases furnished by the Immigration authorities, and sought sleep on the hard floor- ing boards ; others were partaking of food supplied by the residents and under the authority of the Town Clerk. Fortunately there was no scarcity of provisions. A pleas- ing feature of the visit was the fact that in a large number of cases the homeless people when questioned forgot their own trouble to eulogise the conduct of their benefactors. Many of the residents threw their houses open, and not a single instance is recorded where shelter was refused when asked for. Certain reports were circulated which reflected unfavourably upon two custodians of public property, but the statements were of so contradictory a nature as to lead one to suppose that some one had either made a mis- take or was prejudiced. The fact that no lives were lost furnishes good evidence to the efficiency of the police, and a source of gratifi- cation to all. It was, of course, impossible up to the time our reporter left the scene—2 p.m. —to ascertain details of loss, but it was generally believed that the heaviest losers will be Messrs. Sutton and Co., Evans, Anderson, and Phelan, Messrs. George Bond, James
Edwards, Newman-Wilson, and A. Daveney. Among the houses swept away were several built of brick, and on the best authority it is stated that not one resident flooded out had removed any furniture. This statement is strengthened by the fact that in no place was removed goods to be seen. Thus while in amount the losses may be disproportionate, in effect they will be just as heavily felt by the
one as the other.
Several reports were circulated concerning loss of life. One person stated he had seen a house go down with three women and two children clinging to the roof and crying for help ; another saw a man float down stream on a log, and when opposite Garden Point threw up his arms and disappear; while another declared that he had seen a man go down on a horse. Similar sensational statements were made by others, but nothing corroborative could be obtained. Some at least of the ghastly stones circulated are known to be
SOUTH BRISBANE AND WEST END.
ONE LONG STRETCH OF DESTRUCTION AND RUIN.
Bad as Kangaroo Point undoubtedly is, South Brisbane is worse. To walk along the em- bankment which carries the Melbourne-street line and view the work of demolition that has taken place during the past few days, makes one's heart ache. No need to go further than the terminus of the line to see how completely wrecked has been the miniature city which fringes the river from the Dry Docks right round to the western slopes of Highgate Hill. As far as the eye could reach yesterday nothing but disaster and misery was apparent. Hundreds of houses carried by the mad rush of the waters have undoubtedly found their way seaward; quite as many now lie in ruins and piled on each other form striking monuments of the greatest disaster that has ever befallen Brisbane. Some had been carried from West End into Stanley-street, there to partially block the progress of the boats that plied on the waters. Indeed, it was asserted yesterday that only twenty-five houses remained intact in that locality. Stanley-street itself is virtually in ruins ; certainly one-half the buildings which lined the thoroughfare have either disappeared or have been forced into such positions as to render their tenancy doubtful. Great damage has been done at the
Dry Docks, where nearly the whole of the buildings have been washed away, and it is to be feared that little remains to mark the spot where McGhie, Luya's Saw-mill stood. Here and there sheets of iron removed from tenements still standing show how the dwellers had been driven to the roof before they were rescued from the flood. The high railway embank- ment prevented dozens of houses from floating away, but judging from their appearance yes- terday not one will be of other use than for firewood. The arches were similarly blocked. Among the débris was every conceivable article of household furniture and merchandise. All along the line were odds and ends picked up by the gangs of young wreckers who, moving about on improvised rafts, infested the
locality. The railway station and the muni- cipal chambers had been converted into re- lief depots, and everything possible was being done by the authorities. One of the most active of South Brisbane aldermen was Mr. William Stephens, who, if not pulling in a boat, was carrying round provisions. The police and harbour authorities had boats out, and served supplies to isolated people through second and third story windows. It was feared there had been a great loss of life on the South side, but up to 1 p.m. no bodies had been recovered, nor are they likely to be until the waters have sub-
As showing the extent of the flood waters, it may be mentioned that Stanley-street was inundated to within a few yards of the old Railway Station gates, and that waggons filled with coal standing at the platform were almost
CITY AND SUBURBS.
The Botanic Gardens yesterday presented a deplorable sight, and the magnitude of the destruction will become more apparent as the waters subside. The flood waters in places reached the path leading from the George street entrance, and completely covered the whole of the lower portion and perhaps three fourths of the ground. The water extended in one sheet from the bank above the fountain, near the George-street entrance, to the river. The upper part of the gardens evidently experienced the full force of the current. Here large holes have been torn in some parts of the ground, while in others banks of sand have accumulated. The propagating-house has withstood the flood, being comparatively out of the track of the current, though unfortunately the plants cannot but be almost totally destroyed. Towards Garden Point a great amount of devastation has been done. The water rose to some height on the kiosk, and must have surrounded the bottom of the aviary near at hand. The upper portion of the bushhouse escaped, but the lower por- tion is considerably damaged. A brick building containing a large number of valuable pot-plants has been partially shifted, and the plants and pots swept to the ground, so that a large proportion, if not all, are now useless. The house lately built for the curator of the gardens, Mr. McMahon, has been completely wrecked. The house was washed off some of the stumps, and a portion of it has given way. The windows, railings, and other parts are smashed, and it seems impossible to restore it to its former position without rebuilding. The stables, kitchen, and other outhouses are all destroyed. Fortunately, Mr. McMahon was not residing in the place when the flood reached it.
The flood waters at New Farm, as else- where, have been gradually decreasing all day, and the water is now not within some feet of its depth of yesterday. The residences on the old racecourse, which were on Sunday com- pletely submerged, can be seen just above the water, as also can numerous kinds of vehicles which were overtaken by the waters. As before stated, most of the residents had prepared for the flood, and consequently not so much de- vastation has been wrought here as in other districts. The Sugar Refinery Company's un- finished building is apparently intact, but though they are on the highest part of the old racecourse the whole of the building was surrounded to a depth of some 7ft. or 8ft. Most of the residences in the higher-portions of the district which were threatened with an invasion are now apparently out of all danger unless the river rises again, which is not thought likely. The way in which the neigh- bours helped one another cannot be too highly praised, as it was with great difficulty that some of the residents could be prevailed upon to forsake their homes. Fortunately they yielded to the solicitations, as otherwise there would have been a great loss of life, but no deaths have been reported up to the present.
FORTITUDE VALLEY AND NEWSTEAD.
The flood waters which had accumulated in the Fortitude Valley and Newstead districts have been gradually receding all day. Portions of nearly all the houses throughout the districts can be seen, but notwithstanding there is a vast amount of water there still, to a great depth in some places. The officers of the Booroo- dabin Divisional Board and the Salvation Army have been the means of saving a great amount of loss, both to life and property, and the heart- felt thanks of the whole of the districts are due to them. From James-street a person can now go right round the Breakfast Creek, the Albion and Swan Hill districts without any fear of touching solid ground. No lives are reported to have been lost in either of these districts ; but the loss of property has been terrible.
BREAKFAST CREEK AND THE ALBION.
The water in the Breakfast Creek, and Albion districts has considerably diminished since our
report of yesterday, and in the direction of the latter place most of the tops of the submerged houses are now visible. The water is still gradually decreasing, but is nevertheless of a great depth in places, and boats of all sizes and descriptions have been rowing about all day. The current which was running so strongly in Breakfast Creek on Sunday has ceased, and the waters are quite calm. The centre of the Creek Bridge was about 1ft. above the water last evening, although both ends of it were under water. The destitution which has been caused is terrible to contemplate. Many families are living in boats with the sail for a covering, while others loss fortunate are living under large pieces of timber which have been collected and stacked together so as to afford a covering of some sort. A great loss of life has been occasioned to live stock and poultry, and there is a horrible stench throughout the whole of the districts. Numerous crafts, steamers, punts, &c, are anchored in the creek for shelter. The Breakfast Creek Sports Ground has suffered severely. The switchback railway was completely destroyed, and the electric light wires all round the ground have been severed. A large quan- tity of débris is floating in every direction, and notwithstanding the loss occasioned by the flood the whole place is swarming with persons of all ages, seeking what they can find, and not troubling themselves as to the ownership of property. Fortunately those districts have a very able officer in charge in the person of Senior-constable Fay ; he and his men are doing all they can to cope with the delinquents, and a very valuable lot of property of every description has been recovered. It is now stored in the Toombul Divisional Board offices and private residences. Senior constable Fay is very anxious that any persons who have lost their property will find some means of communicating with him as to its identification. Fortunately no casualties have been reported in these districts.
The flood in Milton was particularly severe, and on Sunday night it was discovered that but fifteen houses on the south of the railway line remained out of water, these being on the hill near Dr. Bell's residence. Mr. Cribb's house, in Cribb-street, although standing on the rise of the hill, did not escape, the water covering the flooring. The Salvation Army Rescue Home, Park-road, being in a pretty high position, was used as a receiving house for all persons who were flooded out, and on Sunday sixty availed themselves of the shelter. Major Peart's house close by con- tained about sixty refugees. As the day wore on, however, and the waters continued to rise, it was deemed advisable to empty the home, and the women were sent to the home in Paddington, while the others were given shelter at Bishopsbourne. Enormous damage has been done to the furniture and goods of the residents. During Sunday police boats were plying to and fro, also a boat belonging to Mr. Simmonds, who with his brother did yeoman service in rescuing many people and their belongings.
On the south or Oxley side of the river from Indooroopilly the principal sufferers from the flood so far have been Mr. J. P. Wilson and Mr. Whitehouse. At about 11 p.m. on Satur- day Mr. Whitehouse saw his house and furniture carried away downstream, and a few hours later Mr. Wilson's very pretty residence also floated away and was sucked under the bridge. At 6 p.m. on Saturday the house of the ferry- man, Mr. Dalrymple, lurched sideways two or three times and floated downstream. The
furniture had been removed early in the day and put upon the ferry punt ; but during the night the punt broke from her moorings and dashed against the bridge, and was hopelessly wrecked. These cases are, however, only a few in which people have lost every stick of fur- niture and every garment except those they were wearing.
THE VOYAGE OF THE MIDGE.
RELIEF FOR THE OXLEY DISTRICT.
The position of the residents in that portion of the Oxley district fringing the river has during the past two days been a matter of
much anxiety, hemmed in as they were by the waters. It was feared that many of those who had been compelled to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere must be in urgent want of both food and clothing. Tho Colonial Secre- tary, acting with that promptitude which has invariably characterised his actions as a Minister of the Crown, despatched the picket boat Midge to Indooroopilly with blankets and provisions. Mr. Tozer communicated with Mr. H. J. Gauld, of the Colonial Stores Depart- ment, a gentleman who has shown much
activity in forwarding the aims of the Colonial Secretary in alleviating the distress in the city and Mr. Gould at once put himself into com- munication with Captain Drake, who was in charge of H.M.S. Gayundah, lying in midstream at the Garden Reach. Mr. Gould obtained from the Harbour-master a whaleboat with two boatmen, and this he loaded with 200 pairs blankets, 400 loaves bread, 500lb. preserved meat, 4 chests tea, and a quantity of sugar. In response to signals Captain Drake and two bluejackets came across in the Midge to the north shore, and took the whaleboat in tow. The Midge then proceeded to the submarine mining wharf, and there the barge was trans- ferred from the whaleboat to the picket-boat. About 1 o'clock all was in readiness for the voyage up the river. Those on board were Captain Drake, Mr. Gauld, Mr. Allan Wylie, Mr. Moxon, the two blue jackets, and two others. The river was running very fast, so that the voyage was attended with much danger. Captain Drake was, however, confident that the trip up to Indooroopilly, a distance of a dozen miles, could be made with safety; and by his skilful seamanship he succeeded in making the journey without accident. With the whaleboat in tow, the Midge first made for the southern end of Victoria Bridge ; and there fifty blankets and 200 loaves for destitute people in South Brisbane were placed in care of Police-sergeant J. Russell and Mr. Deverell, borough engineer.
The voyage up the river was full of interest, and the swiftness of the current, the floating debris to be avoided, and the probable danger of running against some invisible object in the water gave it a spice of danger, which seemed to be rather agreeable than otherwise to those on board. Necessarily the progress made was slow. The picket boat is very fast under ordinary circumstances, capable of steaming nineteen knots an hour. The force of the cur- rent may be therefore imagined from the fact that her record yesterday, in going up the Bris- bane, was little more than three miles an hour. Indooroopilly Bridge was reached at 5 o'clock, and the remainder of the blankets and provi- sions were landed at the residence of Mr. Foxton, M.L.A., just on the city side of the ruined structure, Mr. Will. Robertson, secretary to the Civil Service Board, undertaking the task of seeing to their proper distribution. The pressing wants of those in need of assistance in the Indooroopilly, Chelmer, Graceville, and Oxley districts have thus been met. The time occupied in the voyage back to town was only seventeen minutes. The admirable manner in which Captain Drake navigated the little vessel was subject of comment on the part of
those on board.
RELIEF FOR THE SUFFERERS.
PUBLIC MEETING OF CITIZENS.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FORMED.
A public meeting of the citizens, convened by the Mayors of North and South Brisbane, was held in the Town Hall at noon yesterday. There was a good attendance, although the gathering, owing to the absence of communica- tion with the south side of the river and many parts of the suburbs, could scarcely be called a representative one. In the absence of the mayor (Alderman Watson) Alderman McMaster ocoupied the chair. Among those present were the Hons. H. Tozer (Colonial Secretary), T. Unmack (Postmaster-General), W. O. Hodgkinson (Minister for Mines), and A. S. Cowley (Minister for Lands), the Hon. Mr. Wallup (private secretary to his Excellency the Governor), Aldermen Clark and McLean, Archbishop Dunne, the Rev. Fathers Fouhy and Belton, and the Rev. Messrs. McSwaine, Webb, Manley Power, Stone-Wigg, Robinson, Macpherson, Stewart, Watts, Messrs. Mathieson , and Gray (railway com- missioners), Flower and Drury (Hart, Flower, and Drury), Fife (Brabant and Co.), and other business men. The various labour organisa- tions were well represented.
The CHAIRMAN explained that the mayor had
asked to be excused from attendance at the meeting, as he had been kept busy during the past two days and nights ; and now that the
flood had shown signs of receding he had gone home to get a much-needed rest. The Mayor of South Brisbane could not of course be present, as he had for two days been on the South side of the river. When the mayors of the two municipalities convened the meeting they were of opinion, as most people two days ago were, that even if the flood mark of 1800 were attained it would not be ex- ceeded. A national calamity had overtaken the colony. It was heartbreaking to think of the number of people who had been rendered homeless, to stand on the bank of the river and hear the crashing of what had been only a short time before comfortable homes against the Victoria Bridge. He was therefore glad to see such a large gathering in response to the invitation of the mayors, and he hoped some practical scheme would be adopted to render aid without delay. The members of the Govern- ment in town had acted nobly in coming to the assistance of the destitute with food and clothing, and one of their employees, Mr Gauld, had risked his life in crossing Victoria Bridge the previous night in order to convey some message or some food to those on the South side of the river. The Government provided blankets for the women who were accommodated in the Town Hall, and Archbishop Dunne and the officers of the Salvation Army had offered buildings in which the homeless could lodge in the meantime. He was of opinion that the principal business of the meeting was to open a subscription list and also to appoint a com- mittee to administer the fund, the committee to embrace the whole of Brisbane, South Bris- bane, and the surrounding districts.
Mr. UNMACK said that all must regret the sad calamity which had overtaken the colony, and must recognise the need of something being done at once to render assistance to those in want of it. Whatever was to be done must be done quickly, as there were probably hundreds of our fellow-colonists in need of food and clothing. He was one of those who were called upon only three years ago to assist in the dis- tribution of relief to the sufferers by the flood of 1890 ; and he was therefore in a position to offer a few suggestions as to the administration of the fund about to be raised. The fund should be a central fund, and not one the operations of which should be confined to Bris- bane and its immediate surroundings. He remembered with gratitude the bountiful assistance tendered in 1890 by the people in other parts of the colony—in Gympie, Mary- borough, &c. Unfortunately our fellow-colonists in the Wide Bay districts were suffering quite as much, if not more, on account of the flood than the people of Brisbane and district. The first step to be taken was to form a Central Committee, to afford relief to those in distress, no matter in what part of the colony they resided. They should aim at having a committee who would really be of service—not a large number of people who would merely be numbers of the committee in name, and not attend to the duties expected of them—but a committee composed of good practical men, who would heartily undertake the sad duties falling to their lot, investigate the cases coming before them, and afford relief in the best manner possible that the information to their hand will allow them. (Cheers.) In 1890 they established sub-committees in the different dis- tricts, who acted under the guidance of the local bodies, the latter being probably the best judges of when and where help was required. (Cheers.) He was quite aware that the com- mittees would meet with designing people who would impose on them to a great extent. That was so in 1890, but he hoped that some of the things which were done then by people would not again be repeated. It should be the special duty of the sub- committees to investigate the cases brought under their notice, and thereby find out the really needful cases. The clergymen and schoolmasters in the different districts would be able to give useful information and to assist in the administration of relief. The surplus from the relief fund of 1890—about £300, ho thought—should be at the disposal of the committee about to be appointed. The money was at the time placed at fixed deposit in one of the banks. The Colonial Secretary, Mr. Tozer, had, as he always did in similar cases, acted with the greatest promptitude, and he was deserving of every credit for what he had done. (Cheers.) He hoped the appeal made for subscriptions in aid of the sufferers would be such as to do credit to the citizens of Brisbane and the people of Queensland. (Cheers.)
Mr. TOZER said that his Excellency the Governor was at present absent from Brisbane, and was unaware of what had taken place. He was quite sure that Sir Henry Norman would have been pleased to attend the meeting had
he not been absent from town. The Chief Secretary was also away, and was of course not aware of the disastrous flood which had visited the colony. The formation of a committee to take steps to administer relief to those who had been rendered homeless or who had otherwise suffered was what was required. In his official capacity he had done all he possibly could to alleviate the sufferings of those in distress, and that day he had made arrangements for a steamer to proceed up the river to the Indooroopilly district, to convoy provisions, &c., to the inhabitants there. The officers of the Government were at the disposal of the Relief Committee if they could be of any assistance in reducing the suffering from the present calamity. The committee could, as its first work, render what assistance they could to the distressed in the city and district surrounding, and could enlarge their operations as required. The calamity was a national one, and he had no doubt that so soon as it became widely known subscriptions would flow in from Great Britain and other parts of the world, who had in years past been assisted in times of disaster by the people of Queens-
land and the other colonies.
The Rev. Mr. WHALE intimated that the church buildings above high water mark were at the disposal of the mayor if they could be of ser- vice to shelter the homeless. The organisations connected with the various churches would doubtless, as soon as they could be brought
together, set to work to provide clothing for the destitute. In the meantime the Central and Sub-committees to be appointed could set to work, search out the most pressing cases, and administer the help which was so much
Archbishop DUNNE did not consider it would be necessary to go outside the colony for assistance. The people of Queensland could pull Brisbane and the other portions of the colony through a worse calamity than had now overtaken it. (Cheers.)
The Rev. Mr. STONE-WIGG apologised for the unavoidable absence of Bishop Webber. The purpose of the fund to be raised should not be compensation for loss, but relief for destitution. Officers of the Government would be, he con- sidered, the best parties to administer relief, just as they had done in connection with the Labour Bureau and the Immigration Depot.
Mr. HODGKINSON also made a few remarks.
On the motion of Alderman CLARK, seconded by Mr. HORWITZ, the following resolution was unanimously agreed to :—" That an Executive Committee, consisting of the mayors and alder- men of North and South Brisbane, the minis- ters of religion of the city and suburbs, with power to add to their number, be appointed an Executive Committee to administer relief to those who have suffered by the flood of 1893."
It was agreed that the mayor and Aldermen McMaster and Clark should recognise any order signed by a member of the committee for the relief of destitute people in the suburbs as well, as in the city, and that where such people could not be reached by rail vans would be employed to cart the goods to them. Some of the women who had been afforded shelter in
the Town Hall have been given accommoda- tion in the Leichhardt-street Catholic School.
[Contributions to the Central Flood Relief Fund will be received and acknowledged either by the hon, secretaries, Messrs. E. Griffith and J. Gilligan, or by the editor of this journal.]
Subscriptions to the amount of £500 were promised in the room.
MEETING OF COMMITTEE.
AID TO GYMPIE AND MARYBOROUGH.
At the conclusion of the general meeting, on the invitation of the chairman, the members of the committee present adjourned to the Council Chamber to arrange preliminary business.
Alderman McMaster presided, and the following are the principal items dealt with. All those present were appointed an Executive Com- mittee pro tem.—that is, until a full meeting of representatives from the surrounding districts can be held. This is called for 10 a.m. to- morrow (Wednesday), when it is hoped there will be a good attendance, and that members will come prepared with all available informa- tion respecting the state of their respective localities, so that prompt measures may be taken to deal with the distress. Messrs. Edward Griffith and J. Gilligan were appointed joint hon, secretaries pro tem., and the mayor fills the position of treasurer, also temporarily. The Hon. T. Unmack attended for the special purpose of reading a telegram just received from Gympie, giving a harrowing account of the results of the flood there, and suggested that one of the first acts of the com- mittee should be to forward relief to that district, especially as Gympie and its neigh- bourhood had responded so liberally to the Relief Fund of 1890. A resolution was at once passed authorising £100 to be sent by wire to the Mayor of Gympie, and a like amount to the Mayor of Maryborough, towards relieving the distress. It was stated that Dr. R. Thompson had volunteered his services should they be required by unfortunate sufferers ; and the CHAIRMAN explained that Dr. Tilston had visited the Town Hall late the previous night with the same object, but only one case of slight accident needed attention. Pending the meeting to-morrow morning, the Mayors of Brisbane and South Brisbane, and Aldermen Clark and McMaster were authorised to transact all business on behalf of the committee, and individual members thereof were empowered to deal with all cases demanding immediate relief which came under their notice, it being understood that they take every precaution to prevent imposition. Resolutions were adopted asking the public to forward donations of cloth-
ing of every description to the Town Hall as speedily, as possible, and that the Railway Commissioners be requested to forward goods intended for relief free of charge by rail. A
cordial vote of thanks to the chairman closed the meeting.
OFFICIAL WEATHER REPORTS.
The Weather Bureau yesterday morning re- ported that the rainfall in Brisbane for the twenty-four hours ended 9 a.m. to-day was 2·68in., making a total of 19·42in. since the commencement of the rain, as against 9·19in. recorded during the flood of 1890.
SPECIAL WEATHER FORECAST.
CHIEF WEATHER BUREAU, Brisbane.
The following special advice was issued from the Chief Weather Bureau at 2.30 p.m. yester- day :—
Latest local observations indicate that the centre of the great tropical or monsoonal dis- turbance which has produced the present disastrous flood is now in the neighbourhood of the Riverina district of New South Wales. Hence Brisbane, with south-eastern Queensland generally, is experiencing the improving weather on the north-north-eastern side of the dis- turbance. Judging by the usual course of these storms matters are expected to continue to improve around Brisbane, and the flood waters will probably steadily subside South- eastern and Southern districts of New South Wales will be likely to fall under the influence of the bad weather half before the disturbance finally fills up or passes away over the ocean. It must be distinctly understood that this advice is issued at some disadvantage owing to the absence of the usual data. There is some tendency to electric disturbance. The rain- fall at Capemba Observatory for the week end- ing 9 a.m. this day reached, the total of 14·125in., representing a fall of 1427 tons per acre over the districts of Indooroopilly, Taringa, and Toowong.
CLEMENT L. WRAGGE,
INCIDENTS OF THE FLOOD.
The road bridge over the North Pine River has been carried away.
A man named John Power lost his life near the Palace Hotel, South Brisbane, during the flood. He was a resident of Spring Hill. The body was recovered.
The water invaded the Queen's warehouse, under the Custom-house, to a depth of 8ft. A large quantity of the goods stored there were
destroyed. All the more important books and
papers in the Custom-house strongroom and cellar were placed in safety before the waters rose, so that Custom-house business will not in any way be retarded.
The business premises of the Commercial Union Insurance Company contained 2½ft. of water at the highest point of the flood. Mr. C. Trundle and assistants were, however, successful in securing the books and documents of the company from damage by flood.
The premises of the Mutual Insurance Com- pany were being pumped yesterday afternoon by one of the engines of the Central Fire Brigade, but without much success, owing to the water not having descended below the level of a drain underneath the cellar. It is esti-
mated that the water rose to 19ft. over D. L. Brown and Co.'s Eagle-street wharf.
The Castlemaine Brewery at Milton has not been affected by the water, and about eighty families have been afforded refuge there by Messrs. Quinlan, Gray, and Co. It is stated that the body of a woman has been found floating in the back yard of Mr. Blundell's
residence at Milton.
Fears have been entertained that the meat supply for the city would run short, but one firm of butchers in Brisbane express themselves as confident that they will be able to supply the required quantity of beef from their Kedron Brook yards, and anticipate no difficulty in supplementing the supply from stations as
required. They do not, however, express them- selves so hopefully regarding the supply of mutton, more particularly in view of the destruction of Victoria Bridge.
Twenty-four persons were arrested during
Saturday and Sunday for drunkenness in the city. Mr. Pinnock discharged them at the City Police Court yesterday morning. Wm. Whybrow was fined £1 or twenty-four hours in the cells for using obscene language. Lizzie Warner was fined 5s., in default six hours' in the cells, for disorderly conduct. Many other cases were remanded.
The fears which were entertained yesterday as to the safety of the steamer Gabo at Messrs. Howard Smith and Sons' wharf have now been dispelled. The steamer, of course, is still high above the goods-sheds, but she is fastened in such a manner that she cannot drift on to the sheds, and as the waters subside she will drift on with it into her proper place—the river.
The body of the man found at Bowen Bridge yesterday morning has been identified as that of
David Gray, of Warry-street, Springhill, who left his home on Thursday last.
A boy about 6 years of age, stepson of Mr. Rankin, Hale-street, was drowned in the Paddington district yesterday. He was wading in the waters at the end of Caxton-street, and stepped into a hole and sank. The body was recovered shortly afterwards. Medical aid was obtained, but life was extinct.
Telegraphic communication with other than the following stations is interrupted :—Toom- bul Junction, Bald Hills, North Pine, Cabool- ture Railway, Landsborough, Yandina, Cooroy, Cooran, Monkland, Gympie Railway, Kilkivan Junction, Mayne, Albion, Eagle Junction, Nundah, Nudgee, Gympie, Redcliffe, Sandgate, and Caboolture.
Yesterday Mr. H. Tonks, of Beak and Tonks, electricians, connected a telephone with the telegraph wire at Chelmer, and con- veyed news to Indooroopilly of the safety of people on Oxley Point, and obtained replies as to friends on this side. He reported all safe at Chelmer.
During the last forty-eight hours (writes our Sandgate correspondont under yesterday's date) we have had spells of heavy rain, and thick weather with light mists. The sea wall is very much damaged in several places, but otherwise we have suffered no damage to speak of. Great anxiety exists here, caused by reports of alarm- ing damage done in Brisbane. Of course, our railway service is very irregular, and we are thankful we have any. From daylight num- bers of people have been out on the beach gathering planks, battens, &c., which have been swept in here by wind and tide. On the shore are to be seen whole sides, ends, &c., of cottages, and floating in the Bay are many more, telling their own silent but sad tale.
THE FLOOD AT MARYBOROUGH AND
GYMPIE. ENORMOUS DESTRUCTION OF
FIRST REPORTS FROM MARYBOROUGH.
ANTIGUA BRIDGE WASHED AWAY.
LOSSES AT TEWANTIN AND COOTHA-
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.]
GYMPIE, February 7.
The flood rose to 11ft. 6in. above the 1870 flood, the highest previous one. The water began to fall early on Saturday morning, and Mary-street is now almost passable. Early on Sunday labourers commenced to clear the debris from the streets, and the main roads are now fit for vehicular traffic. The stench, however,
About twenty houses in Mary-street were washed down. The Theatre Royal and other public buildings were removed from their
The One-mile and Monkland is a scene of desolation. The main streets were all covered. Cullinane's store was moved into the road, also the shop of Mr. Wilcox, chemist. Near the Great Eastern battery twelve houses were swept entirely away, and quantities of house- hold goods were lost.
All the mines at the Monkland were flooded. Considerable damage was sustained by the Glanmire and Monkland, No. 1 North- Eastern, No. 1 north Glanmire, Columbia, Smithfield, and Nos. 2 and 3 Smithfield.
Hundreds of miners have been thrown out of work in consequene of the flooding of the mines, and it will take at least three months to get the water out.
On the south side of the river Messrs. Ramsey, Power, Darcy, Stumm, and numerous others have lost all their crops, which were ready for harvesting.
At Two-mile the vineyards were submerged, and Mr. Flay's damage amounts to £200.
The total damage on the field is estimated at £200,000, including the loss through the non-working of the mines.
News has been received that the Antigua Bridge, on the Maryborough Railway, has been washed away, the ironwork destroyed; also the road bridge over the Mary River swept
Half Maryborough is reported to be under
The water there is beginning to subside. It
rose 14ft. above the 1890 flood.
Mr. Hyne's mill was washed away, and a portion of Walkers' foundry was also de-
The owner of Manumbah station, who has just arrived, states that Barambah Creek rose 40ft., and destroyed the cultivation and stock yards.
Tewantin reports a phenomenal rainfall and flood. Mr. Goodchap had to remove, having 2ft. of water in his house. The residents are short of flour.
Cootharaba has been washed away, including McGhie, Luya's telephone buildings. No lives were lost.
The rainfall at Gympie since Tuesday was 22in. Fine weather now prevails.
Have just heard of several families homeless and shelterless, living on the high ground, with scanty provisions. The distress is great.