(from our own correspondent.) Wednesday, July 8.
The rain has fallen without interruption since my last report, so that little intelligence has reached me from the outlying neighborhood. The township is 41 in extremis" of despair and mud; no calico withstands the continued downpour, so that, with few exceptions, we are damp inside and out, and rejoice in ilegant bogs where the floors ought to be. The Arrow has risen to such an extent as not only to destroy the works on the river and beach claims, but to flood the adjacent oround on the flat, including in a general ruin Hogan's and the few other productive claims we could boast of. Nothing has transpired, up to thisdatc, as to the report of the surveyor on the drainage. Gordon and Co. will have their wheel at work this week, and some general benefit may accrue from that; but the miners are looking very glum on the subject, and many of those interested have given it up as a bad job and gone off altogether. Snow is now lying on the ranges, to the depth of three or four feet, and in the gullies and ravines to a few inches We shall, after the rain, in all probability have the flats covered, as it seems gradually creeping down towards us, when we catch a glimpse of the mountains now and again through the clouds and mist. Great dissatisfaction exists with respect to the arrangements for the Police and Warden's Courts. Again the whole duty of Queenstown and this place falls on a single magistrate, and it is more than all his energy can accomplish to carry it on properly. After nearly a week's adjournment, the Court was held on Monday, and on Tuesday forenoon was again adjourned to next Monday; in the meantime there is no resident warden or magistrate. Miners come in from a distance, and have just to trudge back again, or waste their time and money in loafing about the public-houses, while debtors ingeniously take advantage of their summonses not being returnable for a week, and walk off to Dunedin or Invercargill, leaving their creditors to pay expenses and catch them, if they can, after so good a start. The distance is too great for one man to be be left, even temporarily, in charge of these two districts; and the Government, it is thought, have acted with great precipitancy in removing Mr. Wood before Mr. Aylmer was gazetted.
Thursday Evening, July 9. The Arrow rose last night to a perfect flood, which is now rushing through the Gorge, having swept away everything in its course, with serious destruction of life and property. At 2 this morning, alarm was excited amongst the miners along the beaches by the sudden rise of the water, which invaded their dwellings; they had barely time to snatch their blankets and scramble up the rocks when the river, in one foaming torrent, filled the valley, carrying all before it, and bearing in its impetuous course large trees, uprooted, huge boulders, and the broken fragments of tents, huts,|and mining materials. Many parties reached the township in safety after an arduous climb over the ranges into the Twelve-mile track; but three men already are known to be missing—their hut was at a bend of the river some two miles up. Not a vestige of it remains, and it is much to be feared that these poor fellows perished in their beds, not taking warning in time. The terrace under the celebrated tunnel claims, on which the tents were pitched, being undermined, gave way and crumbled into the torrent, the men most providentially escaping just as they were, losing everything with the exception of one bag of 50 ozs. of gold which the presence of mind of one of them secured. At three a. m. the large dam of the Hit or Miss Co., which kept the river out of its old channel, gave way with a fearful crash and with but little warning. Several of the shareholders had their tents on the opposite bank, which was thus formed into a very precarious island. All the parties bnt one not many minutes before, had removed their tents and property to the safe side in case of accident. These three men obstinately refused to stir, saying they should be quite out of danger from the height of the bank. The obstruction to its fury removed, the'river dashed along its ancient bed as if exulting in its strength, over the weak handiwork of man. Very soon the position of the unhappy three on the island became alarming. The water rose to the level of the bank and beat roughly against the mound on which their tent was erected. For a time all seemed secure, through a huge log grounding two or three feet above—right across the current, thus acting as an efficient breakwater. Gradually the whole flat round was submerged except a few crumbling hillocks, and the small space protected; fortunately the water began at this juncture to fall slightly. At daylight assistance was attempted to be afforded by ropes, it being hoped that
the force of the current might have diminished sufficiently to admit of the men being dragged across in safety, but though three lines were successfully rigged and made fast to the chimney of the tent, neither party considered it safe to entrust life to them. The log seemed to hold its own, and the large crowd assembled were almost unanimously of opinion that it would stand the brunt to the end. Provisions and spirits—too much it appeared afterwards of the latter, were sent across and eagerly disposed of. Suddenly a cry arises from the crowd " The log is shifting" ; it moves slightly to one side, leaving one corner of the tent exposed, which it is soon evident cannot stand much longer. One of the men most unaccountably is seen just at this moment to put his head under the calico and draw himself in. Shouts are raised, warning him of the imminent danger; his two mates, half frantic, try to drag him out; the log sways quickly round, knocks down the chimney, catches the tent, and whirls away with it into the stream, dragging the unhappy wretch entangled in the folds. A miserable 6ight, in the face of day, and of so many eager men unable to lend a saving hand! The poor fellow's mates rushed about like madmen, and it seemed not unlikely would share the same fate. Happily, however, they were safely brought to shore on the opposite side by some brave fellows, who joined hands and stemmed the current in the new and more shallow channel.
Friday, July 10.
The Arrow has fallen considerably during the night, and the weather looks more promising. The terrace at the back of the township was rushed this morning, and by this time is nearly all pegged off. The prospect was obtained at the back of the Golden Age Hotel.
The three men reported missing came in last night. One man from up the river is known to be lost, and two miners have had their legs broken at the Upper Shotover
Permanent link to this item
THE ARROW., Lake Wakatip Mail, Volume I, Issue 21, 11 July 1863
THE ARROW. Lake Wakatip Mail, Volume I, Issue 21, 11 July 1863
Using This Item
Copyright undetermined – untraced rights owner. For advice on reproduction of material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.