Sunday, 27 October 2013

THE AFTERMATH

ABOVE. DAD'S LIST OF LOST AND DEAD HORSES/ BELOW. THE RIVER RUNNING NORMALLY.
 Source: Personal Collection.

Finally, the floodwaters were completely gone and Dad’s family were able to get into the place. His brothers, Uncles Dick and George, and his sister, Aunty Maud (who, along with her sister Lorna, was educated at an elite girls’ boarding school in Melbourne) were the first ones there. 
Aunty Maud, despite all her airs and graces, rolled up her sleeves, took off her pearls and helped sweep the mud out of the house.

Flood water isn’t really water. It’s a viscous kind of putrid mud that gets into every crevice of every- thing and sticks to it like glue. Every single bit of furniture, every cup and every plate that hadn’t floated out the door had to be scrubbed, washed, rewashed and washed again.  Most of the furniture was sent into Charters Towers for restoration.
 I still own a display cabinet that survived the flood and only recently had the high water mark removed when I had it recently repaired.

While all this was going on, Mum was still in hospital in Townsville. Meanwhile, my uncle Bill and his wife Margaret were sitting cosily in the homestead at Mount McConnell Station, telling everyone that Lornesleigh had sustained little damage.

 “They only lost a few doylies,” were Margaret’s exact words. When she heard, Mum said she would have been happy if Aunt Margaret had choked on that.

The real loss amounted to twenty good horses, five hundred head of cattle, and an awful lot of personal effects. Which were all uninsurable, because the homestead happened to be in a floodplain, like all homesteads were. 
  For the ease of the water supply.  Of course.

Part four coming soon.