LORNA. After the bridge was washed away (in the 1919 flood) they put a temporary thing across .. a little wooden thing like you'd put across a creek .
Like an army type?
GLORIA. No, planks.
LORNA. I had to stay up at Marty's and of a weekend they'd come up to get me and we had to come across this bridge. I was frightened to walk on it.
That would have been there for a while, then?

LORNA. It was such a narrow thing, that's what frightened me.
So what was the crossing like up on the Pericoe Road?
VERNER. It was fairly rocky.

LORNA. But that big bridge that was taken away, it was huge.
That's up at New Buildings, isn't it?
VERNER. Yes.
LORNA. I thought that bridge was washed down the river. A lot of the Towamba bridge ended up on your flats.('Model Farm')
VERNER. The bridge up at Rocky Hall now, that's the old Towamba Bridge.
LORNA. There wasn't a bridge left on the river.
Was that when the water went up to the counter of the shop?
VERNER. Yes I think so.
LORNA. It went up into the store, didn't it?
VERNER. Yes. There's a thing there... a high water mark on your side.
*** Excerpt from the interview with Clive and Verner Clements and Lorna Dwyer in 'The Forgotten Corner Interviews'.

The Towamba River carves a path from the foot of the steep escarpment, through rugged hills, flats and granite country, to empty into the ocean at the Kiah inlet. One of the fastest rising rivers in the state, it is joined by the Wog Wog River below Burragate, before it reaches the village of Towamba. The catchment areas of these two rivers is steep and the volume of water rushing from them after heavy rain floods the river flats, washing all before it.
Towamba's first bridge was built as a high level truss bridge and was opened in 1911. The 1919 flood washed all bridges from the entire length of the river leaving the river flats and low lying farms strewn with debris. It is local knowledge that the water reached half way up the counter in the Towamba village store. Debris banked up in front of the bridge causing it to break up, sweeping its timbers downstream where they were found when the level dropped. It was the biggest local flood in living memory.
There have been several devastating floods since. During the 1971 flood two people who were crossing the river on their tractor, were drowned at Rocky Hall.
Towamba's second bridge was not as high but gradually as each annual flood brought more sand downriver, it was continually covered and became impassable. It was replaced with the present one in 1961.

Footbridge across the river at Towamba after the 1919 flood swept away the first bridge.
The approaches to the bridge can be seen in the background on the right
.
.
Footbridge across the Towamba River after bridge was swept away in 1919. Remains of bridge on left.
Courtesy Dickie Family

March 11, 1863
'Freeman's Journal'

Floods.
- The floods have done considerable damage all over this district. On the Kiah River a poor widow named Power lost all her crop of potatoes, a mishap to be deplored, having very recently buried her husband, and having a large family to support. Others in the same neighbourhood are more or less sufferers. Towamba has also been visited---Messers Higgins, Parker, Murray, and others, being large sufferers.

'Pambula Voice' August 4, 1893
TOWAMBA
The river has been in a state of flood for some considerable time causing much inconvenience to those wishing to cross. A boat has been purchased for the use of the children attending the school which will be a great boon, it being impossible for the children to cross formerly thus causing the young people to remain away for some time during the year.

May 16, 1894
Floods

Our friends at Wyndham and Rocky Hall have been considerably put about by the flooded state of the Mataganah River, a bridge over which has been agitated for years without success.

Jan 31, 1896
Wyndham

We are pleased to note that green grass in Wyndham is the order of the day. The district has been favoured at last with good rains...

June 26, 1896
Burragate

...now the query is "when will it stop raining?" Owing to so much wet weather, work at Mr. J. H. Martin's silver mine has been temporarily suspended.

View from Pericoe Road, down river where Towamba bridge
was swept away in 1919 flood.

Photo courtesy Dickie family

'Pambula Voice' June 8, 1900
PERICOE
The rainfall recorded here for the month of April was 460 points and for May, 1360 points. Most of the rain in May fell between the 14th and 28th and caused a flood in creeks and rivers delaying the mails, tore up the roads and did various other damage. It is said the road from Pericoe to Yambulla is in a fearful state and traffic can only be carried on with the greatest difficulty. Again during the recent rains the urgent necessity for a culvert over Pericoe Creek has been fully demonstrated. It has a very bad crossing and should have been bridged long ago. We must try again for we are justified in asking in asking for it. Since the rain the weather has been mild for the time of year and the country looks more like spring than near mid winter. Of late we appear to be having a succession of wet winters and dry summers.

'The Wyalong Advocate and Mining, Agricultural and Pastoral Gazette'
19 July 1902

An hotel keeper named Moore, living at Rocky-hall, Bombala, narrowly escaped drowning whilst attempting to cross the Basin Creek near Rocky Hall. He was driving one horse in a hooded buggy. Immediately on entering the creek the horse was carried off its legs, and washed down 200 yards. The vehicle then capsized. Moore, who is a good swimmer, managed to land just before being swept into the Towamba River, which runs with a very swift current. The buggy was also washed upon the same side as Moore came out.


December 19, 1902
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
DAMAGE IN THE SOUTH COAST.
EDEN.

* Vehicular traffic between Pambula and Eden was blocked to-day by trees blown across the road. The Kiah River is in flood, and it is feared that serious loss has been occasioned to farmers in that locality. The crops on the low-lying lands have been swept away, and damage to the roads in various parts of the district is reported.

'The Sydney Morning Herald'
22 December 1902
TOWAMBA
,
The Yambulla mail coach from Eden on Wednesday was carried off the crossing at Nullica Creek. A quantity of provisions was lost. The mails were saved with difficulty. The Towamba River was not crossable yesterday.

July 6, 1909
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
FLOOD AT YAMBULLA.
FIELD COMPLETELY ISOLATED.

Yambulla is completely isolated owing to the flooded state of Towamba River. No mails have reached here since June 30. Foodstuffs are becoming scarce, and machinery for the mines cannot cross. After many requests, petitions, and deputations, Parliament voted 3000 to place a bridge over the Towamba River, and 450 for the Towamba-Yambulla road. The Imlay Shire Council practically decline to carry out the work. As these interruptions have occurred periodically over since the opening of the field, it is considered here that the Government should take the matter out of the hands of the shire and proceed with the work at once. As the rain still continues, it is doubtful when communication will be restored. Should an accident happen, or illness occur, there is no, possibility of getting medical aid.

April 11, 1912
'Mullumbimby Star'
A Terrific Storm
.
A terrific storm passed over a place called Towamba on the South Coast last week. At Towamba bridge a heavy engine placed in the bed of the river for repair work, was swept down about 100 yards by the rush of water. The rain fell in torrents and swept down hillsides and over roads in waves. At Pericoe a bullock was swept out of the yard and down the river for miles, where it lodged and hung dead in a tree eight feet from the ground, and another owner reports the drowning of 20 poddies. The centre of the storm hovered over a strip six by three miles, and it is estimated 11 inches fell in an hour. The damage to roads is estimated at within the vicinity of 1,000.

'Pambula Voice' April 21, 1911
TOWAMBA
* The corn is ripening very quickly this year, and crops will be on an average with last year.
* Most of the people are suffering with a mild from of influenza; mild as it may be, it is a most distressing complaint. A good many have had to lay up for two or three days with it.
* Mrs. T. Hill, who was doing business for Mr. Robinovitz, of Eden, has closed, owing to Mr. Robert Binnie purchasing Mr. Robinovitz''s business in Eden.

April 3, 1912
'The Bega Budget '
The Incidental Flooding at Towamba.

A disastrous tale of the recent rain at Towamba (where nineteen inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours) is related by a long time resident of that locality, who is already buying stock by which to replace that lost in the rapid rise of the river, by the torrential rain which fell on Thursday night and the following day. We thought, surely, (says our informant) that the world was about again to be destroyed by a general deluge of waters as in the historical days when Noah built the ark. The crash, the roar of thunder, and the brilliant flashes of lightning, illuminating the landscape, accompanied by the deafening tattoo of rain upon the iron roofs, all conjured up an incident of a storm picture we have seldom seen and never may again. Our boys and girls of the rising generation will be recounting the storm incident to their children's children when they (our boys and girls) are grandfathers and grandmothers. With the general din of the elements people could not communicate by speech, but had, perforce, to make signs, like to the deaf and dumb upon the fingers. The lowing cattle seeking shelter from the storm was pathetic in the extreme, whilst the squealing of pigs, and the crowing of fowls added to the general tumult of the scene of the night. As the night advanced the rising waters carried away everything animate, and inanimate, that happened to be within the zone of destruction. Our time we thought had come, and our 'thoughts were too deep for words.' The timber and stones were washed down from the hills to the watersheds, and the opossums in the habitations in the withered tree were washed out by the force of the falling rains. Pigs, cattle, and poultry were swept away, and horses, dogs, and sheep, in some cases, had difficulty in winning a safe land from the flooded river. Pumpkins, potatoes, and fodder were to be seen, like derelict wrecks, borne away for miles towards the sea. Floating trees, and general debris, in places, dammed the river, causing the backwater to inundate wide stretches of the country inland. Cats, dogs, and bears were promiscuously grouped on the floating material, and (neutral in their animal propensity of attacking their enemies) stoically awaited their fate, as unwilling companions in a common danger. The bright flashes of lightning illumed the scene of flooded river for a considerable distance, whilst the detonations of thunder were appalling. We got our quota of the rain fall in one comprehensive parcel, and which would have been ample for our needs, if doled out in the instalment system and distributed over a period of from three to four months.

March 14, 1914
'The Bega Budget'

* Mr. R. M. Brownlie, of Towamba, lost over 70 newly-shorn sheep as a result of the recent flood rains.

Friday 7 March, 1919
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
THE FLOODS
EDEN DISTRICT SUFFERS HEAVILY
A DISTRESSING TRAGEDY

The drought which for several months prevailed in the south-eastern corner of the State was broken by a rainfall which developed into a veritable deluge. It eclipsed all previous local records, and caused unprecedented damage and disaster throughout all parts of the district. Mail services and telephone and telegraphic communications between Eden and all other places were suspended. All other district centres were similarly isolated for several days.
Several of the most important bridges in the Imlay shire were swept away, including the bridge over the Kiah River, on the main southern road, Eden to Melbourne, and the costly high level bridge across the same river at Towamba. Both were constructed within the last., few years as national works. Many minor bridges and first-class culverts were similarly destroyed. The damage to the shire bridges, culverts, and roads may fairly, be described as colossal.
At Kiah the flood appeared with awful suddeness. The river on Wednesday afternoon was so low that horsemen rode down the river bed for some miles. An hour later a terrible roar announced the coming flood, and shortly after an immense wall of water came rushing down, overflowing the high river banks, and sweeping everything before it. The flood at Kiah attained a height of between 15 and 20 feet in excess of the previous highest known flood level.
At Towamba the river also rose with remarkable rapidity to a height of 15 feet higher than any former flood, and converted Towamba Valley into a gigantic sea.
A tragic event occurred. A man, whose name is not known, and who had apparently been washed down-stream, was observed clinging to a swaying telephone pole, the top of which projected a few feet above the seething waters. He climbed the pole, and grasping the wire on either side, remained thus supported nearly an hour, during which the onlookers were powerless to render the slightest assistance. Finally, a large tree floating down among the debris caught the wire and submerged the pole, and with it, the distressed man, who, engulfed in a torrent, was seen no more.
Many of the choicest riverside farms were completely ruined, the erstwhile valuable alluvial flats being denuded of their deep, rich, black soil, in place of which beds of shingle and worthless sand have been deposited. Other holdings were unexpectedly enriched by rich alluvial deposits, while on long stretches of the road, near Towamba, black soil three feet, deep has been left by the flood, rendering vehicular traffic impossible.
The rainfall at Eden amounted to 15.57ins, but on the western hills, constituting the watershed of the rivers, more than twice that quantity fell. The fall near Wyndham registered 33 inches. This is believed to have been greatly exceeded on the ranges west and south, and the great bulk appears to have fallen in the last 36 hours of the rainfall. The last previous record rainfall for the district was in February, 1898, when the drought was broken in a similar manner, but with far less disastrous results.
At Genoa River Mrs. McDonald, wife of Mr. John McDonald, formerly principal lighthouse keeper at Gabo Island, was accidentally drowned in the flood. Her husband narrowly escaped a similar fate.

South bank of the Towamba River at Towamba River crossing.
Hartneady's general store on right, church on left. c1920s.
Photo courtesy Elaine Delaney.

'Goulburn Evening Penny Post'
8 March 1919
DISASTROUS FLOODS
. Owing to floods residents of parts of Delegate have had to vacate their dwellings twice this week. Great damage has also been done in several parts of the district. At Eden an unprecedented flood has occurred, and on the hills above more than 33 inches of rain were registered. Many of the choicest riverside farms were completely ruined, the erstwhile valuable alluvial flats being denuded of their deep, rich, black soil, in place of which beds of shingle and worthless sand have been deposited. Other holdings were unexpectedly enriched by rich alluvial deposits, while on stretches of the road, near Towamba, black soil three feet deep has been left by the flood, rendering vehicular traffic impossible. A man clinging to a telegraph pole was seen at Towamba, where he had apparently taken refuge. A tree washed down by the flood swept him away, and he was never seen again. At Genoa River Mrs. McDonald wife of Mr. John McDonald, formerly principal light-house keeper at Gabo Island, was accidentally drowned in the flood. Her husband narrowly escaped a similar fate.

'The Sydney Morning Herald'
7 August 1922
KIAH BRIDGE.
CARRIED AWAY BY FLOOD
.
The Minister for Public Works (Mr. R. T. Ball) has received a report from the chief engineer for National and Local Government Works to the effect that 50ft of the approach to the bridge over the Towamba River at Kiah, on the road from Eden to the Victorian border, has been carried away by floods, and consequently traffic is completely blocked.
To meet the difficulty Mr. Ball has caused instructions to be issued for additional spans to be put in to bridge over the washaway. Meanwhile the shire has installed a punt to enable traffic to get through.

September 7 , 1923
'The Bombala Times'
News and Notes.

* Heavy rain fell throughout the south eastern portion of the State during the week. The records up to 9 o'clock this morning were: Bombala 468, Delegate 280 Nimmitabel 341, Cooma 173, Cathcart 757, Bega 641, Eden 567, Bemboka 816, Wyndham 745, Towamba 850. Rocky Hall was isolated yesterday, and the mails were neither able to get in nor out.

June 19, 1929
'The World's News'
A Motley Crew

* In a recent flood a haystack floated down the Towamba (N.S.W.) River towards the sea. On it were fowls, rabbits, hares, snakes, and a couple of cats all huddled together. As it passed down the river its crew was added to by other rabbits, etc., which were clinging desperately to partly submerged logs and trees.
Thousands of beetles and spiders of all descriptions were swarming everywhere over it, and though many of the animals on the haystack in normal times were deadly enemies, they made no attempt to attack each other.-Eureka.

January 27, 1933
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
HEAVY RAIN.
More Reports of Damage.

* Further heavy rain has fallen on the South Coast and in parts of the south-west.
Following the registration of six inches to Tuesday, Eden received eight inches in three hours on Wednesday. Eighteen inches had fallen by yesterday morning.
Telephone and telegraphic lines went down in every direction. On Tuesday the mall services were held up, and telegraphic communication with Sydney was suspended Discolouration of the waters of the bay, and debris on the beaches indicate that many riverside farms were heavily floodswept, but particulars of the losses are not yet obtainable.
The overdue mail from Towamba was brought in yesterday by the mailman fording on foot the Nullica River, which is still dangerously high, and in flood. Saltwater Creek bridge, on the Prince's Highway, nine miles from Eden, on the road to Pambula, was washed away on Wednesday. Two men had just ridden across, when, on looking back, they saw it break in two.

Towamba River in flood. Unknown location. c1925-32
Photo courtesy Browne family.
Towamba River in flood. Unknown location. c1925-32
Photo courtesy Browne family.

March 31, 1928
'The Sydney Morning Herald'
FLOODS.
Eden Isolated.
GREAT DAMAGE TO CROPS.
EDEN

* The heavy rain on Thursday caused the highest floods since 1918. The Kiah River rose 25 feet above the bridge level, and flooded the riverain flats, causing immense damage to crops and losses of pigs. It is too early to accurately assess the damage, but a reliable authority considers that the riverside farmers lost at least two-thirds of their maize crops. Damage to the shire roads was very considerable. Culverts and bridge, approaches on many roads were washed away, blocking the mall services and vehicular traffic generally. Telegraph and telephone lines were blown down, leaving the town isolated from Tuesday till Thursday night, when telephone communication with Bega was restored.

'Magnet' January 28, 1933
FLOOD RAINS
* 8 inches fell in 3 hours, total 18 inches. 13 inches fell in 12 hours.
* The flood at Narrabarba was 3 feet higher than the 1919 flood. Saltwater Creek bridge was washed away. (Yowaka bridge) Towamba had 5 inches.

'The Argus' June 27, 1934
Further Falls in New South Wales

* Further rain has fallen over a wide area of the State and on the South Coast. The falls were so heavy that floods are threatened. The Princes Highway was blocked, and near Eden the Kiah River had overflown its banks. In the Riverina and western districts the falls were only moderate but over the slopes and tablelands the rain was heavier.


'Magnet' July, 1934
* The area suffered five floods in seven months

'Magnet' January 20, 1934
* Mr. R. M. Brownlie lost 70 plus sheep due to the flood.

'Magnet' May 26, 1934
* Request by Council that a 35 ft. span be added at each end of Towamba bridge as approaches are washed away each flood. -- approaches are the responsibility of Council - the bridge is the responsibility of Public Works Dept.

Towamba's first bridge opening ceremony, 1911. Swept away in 1919.

'Magnet' January 13, 1934
FLOOD RAINS - WIDESPREAD DAMAGE
The abnormally wet spring and early summer season succeeded by fine year-end holiday weather, was followed by torrential rains and a strong easterly gale which caused extensive damage throughout the New South Wales South Coast and tableland districts and in eastern Gippsland.
Commencing on the night of Friday the 5th instant the gale continued without intermission until the early hours of Monday morning. Conditions at sea were so severe that six trawlers operating off the coast came into Twofold Bay for shelter and remained at anchor until the gale subsided. The rainfall at Eden, about 8 inches, was light in comparison with the fall in the western part of the district where from 14 to 18 inches were registered. On the mountain ranges the downpour was mainly responsible for the resultant floods was probably much heavier still.
Telephone lines went down in all directions and for a couple of days telegraphic communication with Sydney was cut off. Finally a circuitous connection with Cooma and Tumut was established and press and other long delayed messages began to filter through. Telegraphists worked overtime and at full speed but it was a long time before the congestion of the accumulated matter for dispatch was relieved. As has almost invariably been the case in former heavy gales, telephonic communications with Gabo Island were cut off and were not restored for several days.
The Kiah River (at Kiah, the Towamba River is commonly called the Kiah River) was heavily in flood. For some time it was hoped that there would be no great overflow above the fairly high banks of the river but the torrential downpour associated with the night long thunder storm with which inordinately heavy rain culminated, caused a further big rise in the river forcing the flood to a level second only to that of the phenomenal flood of 1919. As a natural consequence the losses sustained by the riverside farmers were great.
Maize crops, as yet in an immature stage, were on the lower lands completely ruined and potato crops similarly situated were entirely destroyed. Rich pastures and magnificent crops of lucerne were buried beneath deep deposits of silt. Valuable dairy herds were left with diminished supplies of feed and owners with insufficient reserves of fodder are under the necessity of transferring their stock to pastures in other parts of the district and of awaiting the regrowth of feed on their flood swept farms.
At Lower Towamba a good deal of crop damage was sustained by local farmers, some of whom say that the flood attained a height only ten feet below that of the record flood of 1919 and was almost as severe in its effects.
Particulars of damage to farms at Towamba and further up the river have not reached us but it is believed that big losses have been experienced on all the riverside holdings, particularly on the cultivated lands. The damage to roads in Imlay Shire is extensive. On the Princes' Highway the approach to the temporary bridge over Saltwater Creek on the Eden-Pambula Road was washed away, the mishap rendering necessary a diversion of traffic to the Nethercote Road which though somewhat damaged provided a serviceable deviation for through traffic.
On the Mount Darragh Road several landslides occurred with the various deviations made enabled traffic to find its way through.
At Stoney Creek on the Wyndham-Towamba Road the newly constructed concrete crossing sustained but little damage but both the uncompleted approaches were washed away.
Nullica River causeway was reported as being more or less potholed but repairs have been effected to enable traffic to be maintained. Tantawanglo Mountain Road was damaged and several culverts were washed away rendering the road untrafficable. Landslides on the Brown Mountain presented an obstruction to traffic which it was expected would not be resumed till some days later. Numerous tourists were marooned at Eden and until late on Tuesday, so discouraging was the prospect of their being able to proceed by car for many miles in any direction that they were seriously considering the idea of requisitioning a steamer to convey them from Eden to Sydney or Melbourne. More hopeful reports were received later and on Wednesday morning there was a general exodus of beleaguered visitors.
At Bega the rainfall was 13 inches and at Bemboka 14 inches were registered. Bega River rose as higher than the great flood of 1919. Tourists and swag men encamped by Bega River had an exciting time. Warned by the roar of the flood, they awoke to find themselves surrounded by surging waters. Wading their way out with the assistance of the police and other volunteers they managed to escape but several cars could not be removed and were left chained to trees. One was lost. Maize, bean and potato crops on the Bega River flats were submerged and big losses are feared. The bridge over the river at Moran's Crossing which was in course of repair has gone completely and the approaches have been washed away. Candelo's rainfall was 1,030 points and Pambula's 935 points. Mr. William Cole of South Pambula lost all but one acre of 22 acres of beans. He says the flood was the highest he had known there. Inevitably the losses of crops on Pambula's far-famed flats are great. News received in the last instance by wireless stated that two main sections of the bridge over the Snowy River at Orbost have been carried away, that traffic with Melbourne had been entirely cut off. The bridge at Cathcart was damaged by the flood and motor cars had to be towed across the stream by horses. On Monday many people visited Asling's beach to view the incoming rollers in all their wild magnificence. The foam cast up on the beach was in some places, six feet deep and glittering in the fitful gleams of sunlight presented a very fine sight. On Monday and Tuesday Imlay Shire's engineer Mr. Hinley made an inspection of the shire roads and made all possible arrangements for their restoration to trafficable conditions. Between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday Bateman's Bay had 18 inches of rain. Yankee Creek bridge, Nethercote, withstood the rush of water splendidly and was practically unharmed. Burtons Creek further on lost some hand railing and a little earth filling on the Pambula side. Back Creek bridge in towards Lochiel was piled high with debris and the shire men had a busy time clearing it. Damage to farms along the Kiah, bad as it was, would have been much worse had not the river burst out through the sand bank at Moutries allowing a more rapid getaway of the water. The mouth of the river was altered a good deal. Mr. W. Franks on the lower reaches of the river lost a quantity of maize and potatoes but we understand that his son-in-law, Mr. Jack Perron, on the opposite side was less badly hit. The flood occurred a fortnight earlier than that of January in last year. Bemboka district which had 14 inches of rain faired badly with its roads and bridges. Green's Crossing and Moran's Crossing bridges were swept away as also were the approaches to all others. The Brown Mountain Road was blocked by landslides but is now clear again.
Mountainous seas raged along the coast at the weekend and six vessels sought shelter in East Boyd Bay.
The crossing at Longhurst Creek Pambula-Wolumla Road was badly cut up by the flood.
At least two men were drowned on the South Coast during the recent flood.
Splendid photos of floods on the South Coast were in Tuesday's 'Telegraph'.
Mr. Ted Boot of Bega lost his launch, washed from the river out to sea. The Shire punt at the mouth of the river also broke its moorings but was washed up high and dry. Bateman's Bay ferry which was disabled has been put into commission again. The passengers, mails and cream cans crossed the Brogo River on a hastily built flying fox. Only one span of Brogo bridge remains, the piers snapped off near the bottom. Though extensive damage was done to low lying lands in places we are pleased to learn that some farms will ultimately benefit considerably from heavy deposits of rich soil. Floods seem to have been general. New South Wales, Las Angeles USA and South Africa participating.
Towamba had over 13 inches of rain and the second largest flood on record. The water was twenty feet above the bridge which being a low level structure fortunately stood where its high level predecessor had given way. Wyndham had over 14 inches. Old hands in Bombala say that never to their knowledge has there been such a flood locally as the present one. Flood waters were two feet above the bridge and the main street was awash. Bombala Talkie Theatre was flooded to a depth of four feet and there were 18 inches of water in the power house. Some residents were without light for a time. Mr. Lot Stafford an ex-Edenite who has a brick works on Tathra Road sustained a severe loss having 67,000 bricks all ready for burning destroyed by the rain. Mr. J. W. Birkett, an assistant at Orbost Post Office motored through the flooded area in search of an office from which he could get our an SOS, finally reached Bombala over 100 miles away where he got a trunk line call through. It will be at least a month before Orbost bridge is repaired. The washing away of the two centre spans having left a gap of 100 feet wide but pontoons loaded by the defence department to the CRB are on their way from Melbourne. These will be floated across the river and a bridge to carry light traffic will be built across them in a few days it is hoped. Mr. J. B. Eurell received advice on Thursday afternoon from the station master at Orbost that the railway would be able to resume on Monday next but he was uncertain when it would practicable for motor cars to be transported across the Snowy River. Word received from Genoa states that the flood waters of the Genoa River on Monday reached the floor of Mr. A. W. Millard's bakery opposite the Genoa Hotel. The flood was the biggest in Gippsland's history and losses on Orbost district alone are estimated at 500,000. One man's loss is said to be 10,000. Trees, haystacks, stock and buildings were swept down the Snowy which was three miles wide above Orbost. There are many thrilling rescues of people. The only horse stall left standing on Bega racecourse was No. 13 says the 'News'. The new 14,000 bridge on the Gelantypy Road on the upper reaches of the Snowy is gone. It was to have been opened next week. Travellers from Eden to Sydney via the coastal route are advised to proceed from Bega via Tanja, Bermagui and Cuttagee. Michael Skehan, a Moruya farmer, fell out of a police flood boat in attempting to rescue a rowlock and was drowned.

Aerial view of Towamba River looking westward.
'Model Farm' centre to right.
Photo courtesy C. and G. Clements.


LOCAL RAINFALL
Mr. H. Myers, post master at Eden, advises us that the local rainfall registered at Eden for the last four years was as follows.
1930 3,277 points
1931 2,825 points
1932 4,193 points
1933 4,549 points
The average for the four years mentioned was thus: 37.11 inches. The last year's registration is, says Mr. Myers, a record far exceeding any registration on a record at Eden Post Office.

April 26, 1952
'The Argus'
FLOOD WATERS MAROONED 17 ON ROAD

Trawler sails 11 miles inland to save bus travellers.
* A trawler sailed 11 miles inland to rescue 27 passengers from a flood-bound tourist bus near Eden today.
The trawler sailed up the flooded Kiah River to reach the bus, which was travelling from Melbourne to Sydney.
The flooded Kiah River and Timbillica Creek marooned the bus on the Princes' Highway last night.
The passengers slept in the bus, expecting to continue their journey this morning. But by dawn the flood waters were flowing over the road at a depth of several feet. They where rapidly approaching the bus, which was parked on high ground.
Eden police asked Mr. Fred Woods and his two man crew to sail his 45ft. trawler to Kiah Bridge, near the spot where the bus was stranded. Mr. Woods did the job, and the passengers were transferred from the bus to the trawler in a rowing boat. They spent tonight in an Eden hotel.
Eden police said tonight that the flood waters appeared to be receding. They expected the bus travellers to continue their journey tomorrow.

Towamba River in flood. 1950-57
Beryl Shannon and son James,Terry Goward, Jim and Jenny Shannon
Photo courtesy Don Mills


1971 Flood aftermath.
Photo courtesy Margret Keller
1971 Flood. Taken from veranda of Towamba Store.
Photo courtesy Margret Keller
Combined photo of 1971 flood looking across the river and to the west from the verandah of Towamba Store.
Courtesy Margret Keller
1971 flood looking east from front of Towamba Store.
Courtesy Margret Keller



The Towamba River is reported to be the fastest rising river in New South Wales. In March, 2011 the river level reached approximately 10 meters above the Towamba Bridge.

The bus shelter at the corner of Towamba Street and Pericoe Road
From Towamba Street across to old wine saloon Corner of Towamba Street and Pericoe Road
The Towamba Bridge is under here The next day the bridge looks like it may still be there.