Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Angus Shepherd - A Story from TROVE

Horse teams carting goods from  Nellingen to Braidwood, crossing Currajong Creek
 In my last blog I wrote about how I have found TROVE to be one of the most valuable research tools for Australian Family Tree Researchers. Today, I would like to share with you one of my most recent finds.  Angus John Shepherd  (1889-1971) was my Grandfather, Malcolm Michael Shepherd's (1892-1932)  brother.  Their family came from the Araluen, Braidwood district and had been carriers between this district and Nelligen for a couple of generations.

 This area has a long and colourful history, of life on the gold mines, bushrangers and rural settlement.  I was searching TROVE, using the names of towns to try and find more about the times and social conditions that my ancestors lived in when I came across this article.  You can only imagine my excitemen. I was actually reading an article written about my great uncle which so vividly describes he and his partner being caught in a very serious flood and being lucky to escape with their lives. The loss of his team and merchandise most probably had considerable effect on the lively hood of his family.



Reports from the district lying  between the top of Clyde Mountain and Nelligen show that much damaged was done by the rain. Roads have been washed out feet deep in a number pf places, while the bridges over Ryan's Creek, two culverts and a footbridge have been practically washed away. Fencing hasgone in all directions. In addition to which a number ot stock perished in tho flood. The rainfall was easily the heaviest in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. lt was estimated up to Friday that over 2C inches had fallen. There has been further rain since. 

Two carriers, John Rogers and Angus Shepherd, plying between Nelligen and Braidwood,had an exciting experience. They camped on their usual camping ground close to Ryan's Creek, with their teams. They occupied an old hut, and were awakened in the middle of the night by feeling water entering the bunks. The creek had completely overflowed its banks. The water was several feet deep in the house, and the men escaped through the window. The teams were also surrounded by water. To remove the horses was out of the question, and the men had to run for their lives. Three of Roger's horses were carried away by the flood waters and drowned; also one of Shepherd's. All the loading on the waggons was washed off, although it included some heavy articles of merchandise. It is estimated that over £300 worth of goods was on the waggons, including a lot of rum and other spirits for local publicans. The full extent of the loss is not yet known. The place is entirely cut off from communication.

J. E. Anderson and family had a narrow escape. Anderson has a sawmill at Currowan. The flood water rose with such rapidity that in a short space of time there was over two feet of water in their house, running strongly. Meanwhile the rain was pouring down in torrents. Anderson took his wife on his back and waded waist high to the side of the hill. A man named Backhouse, who happened to be in the house, carried Anderson's little daughter to some high ground. Where they had to remain until daylight.

In the Braidwood district comparatively little damage was done, beyond the destruction of fencing and roads. The latter were cut up in a frightful manner; also many culverts damaged. The shire council has decided to approach tho Government for a Special grant to assist in repairing the damage, the work being altogether beyond its financial capacity.

The flood at Araluen was the highest on record. 130 more points fell on Friday night, and close on an inch on Saturday morning. 

1914 'FLOODS.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 30 March, p. 10, viewed 17 June, 2012, 

Angus not only survived this incident, two years later he enlisted into the 33 Battalion (Service No. 2898) which fought in Belgium in WWI.  On his return he married and lived and worked in the Nelligen - Bateman Bay district for the rest of his life.

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