Floods and Droughts in Australia
From the very commencement of its existence, New South Wales has been subject to the two extremes of heavy floods and dreary periods of drought. The mountains are so near to the coast that the rivers had but short courses; and the descent was so steep that , during rainy seasons, the rush of waters deluged the plains near the sea, causing floods of fatal suddeness. At the same time, the waters were carried off so rapidly there were no supplies of moisture left to serve for those seasons in which but little rain falls.
The districts along the banks of the Hunter, Hawesbury and Shoalhaven rivers had been especially liable to destructive inundations ; and from time to time, the people of Sydney have been obliged to send up life boats for the pupose of releasing the unfortunate settlers from the roofs and chimneys of their houses, where they had been forced to seek refuge from the rising waters.
The Murrumbidgee also, at times, spreaded out into a great sea, carrying off houses, crops, cattle and often times, the people themselves. In 1852, a flood of this description completely destroyed the town of Gundagai and no less than 80 people perished, wither from drowning or from being exposed to the storm as they clung to the branches of trees.