THE FLOODS AT MERCER.
A WIDE WASTE OF WATERS.
ROADS, RAILWAY, AND LAND COVERED.
A correspondent, who made the trip by boat from Pokeno to Morcer, sends us the following interesting account of the flooded state of the country : —
; The large swamp between Pokeno and Mercer is turned into a lake, and a somewhat rough one, too, the strong westerly : wind blowing the- waves high enough to dash into our boat. The railway bridge over the Maungatawhiri Creek is just above the water, but the line, which is on a raised causeway over the swamp, is quite covered, and its direction can only be known by the young willows, planted on either side, the tops of which are just above the water. We saw the coal train struggling through, the water splashed around ; if it had been a little higher it would have put the engine fire out. It was a wild sight, the wide waste of waters, with the tops of trees showing above here and there, the cloudy, stormy sky, with the winter sun gleaming faintly, and the train making its slow way through the water. There seemed a good many passengers in the one carriage, some of thorn ladies, who had come in the steamer from up the Waikato. We crossed tho line behind the train, the keel of the boat just grazing the rails, but in some places it was probably much deeper. Rowing over the road, instead of as usual having to go to the mouth of the Maungatawhiri and up the Waikato to Mercer, we went straight up beside the line, over what is generally dry land, the line is mostly just above the flood, but tho water constantly splashing beside it is washing away the earth and scoria on which the rails are laid, and so doing an immense amount of damage which will require large sums of money and a great deal of time to repair. Men are employed clearing rubbish off, and laying fascines along the edges to protect the "way," but, of course, in many cases, these are in their turn washed away.
The road is quite covered, the fence beside it nearly so. We crossed several fences, and passed houses deep in water. One had its front door open, and a canoe moored in the passage, while from the verandah hung a crate turned into a cage, containing, not a canary, but a pig ! while fowls and cats congregated on the roof. Gates floated past us, a wheelbarrow was caught among some willows. When we rounded the point and caught the wind it became very rough, the waves splashing over the boat. We met a boat going towards Pokeno, to bring the mails which had come up by the midday train, and were to be sent in a cart to the landing. Rowing over the street, we landed beside the station, and crossed lower down on planks laid zigzag in the driest places. A canoe is in front of a shop, the hotel yard two or three feet deep in water, carta and boats side by side. The water comes right up to the backs of the houses, and in some cases into them, while those which stand beside the river are all deserted, being quite uninhabitable, and the flax-mill is ovidently tumbling down into the water.
The ground beside the river, which last regatta day was about six inches deep in dust is now deeply flooded. The wharf is quite out of sight. In dry weather, one can stand under it, with the floor high above one's head. The Garrick Hall can only be reached by boat, which must be convenient for concert? and other entertainments ! The island is quite covered. A German lives there, and last Fridiy the water flowed into his house and he was compelled to remove his wife and children, among them a baby one week old. Fortunately they had warning. The flood came gradually, not in one overwhelming rush, and ho said " the people are very kind ; some have taken the wife and baby, others the two boys," but he is much to be pitied, for all his hard work will be undone, his cultivation, and indeed all his farm, being deep under water. The river is within one foot of the great flood of 1875, and is certainly not going down ; somo think it is still rising. The wind blows the water back, so though it may dry the roads it does not help to reduce the flood, but rather the other way. There is no bread at Mercer, the baker's shop being under water. We walked along the line to the Whangamarino bridge, "no man forbidding us," for the road is impassable. The waves are splashing over the bridge, while road and line and farms beyond are one lake. The flaxmill and house are unfortunately just in, instead of just out of, this lake. From the hills above a good view can be obtained, and far as Wairangi it appears one vast sheet of water.
Pokeno, Tuesday morning. The water is still rising slowly, and is within a few inches of the flood of 1875. Communication is suspended between Pokeno and Huntly both by road and rail. The railway is three feet under water in some places between Pokeno and Mercer. The Waikato mails are transferred by road from Pokcuo to Maungatawhiri, from whence they are conveyed on to Huntly by Messrs. Hodson and Coge's steam launch. The rain has ceased, and it is not expected that tho flood will rise much higher.
Permanent link to this item
THE FLOODS AT MERCER., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 9274, 9 August 1893
THE FLOODS AT MERCER. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 9274, 9 August 1893
Using This Item
NZME is the copyright owner for the New Zealand Herald. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence . This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of NZME. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.
This newspaper was digitised in partnership with Auckland Libraries and NZME.