Roma's Floods, Floodboats, Water Supply and Bridges

By Chronofus - 6/12/2001

This is only the start of this rather long document. More will be added as time permits

Floods and Flood Boats in Roma

The written history of the Maranoa district is relatively short and incomplete compared to general world history. Much history of early settlement is not available and records are very patchy and in some cases partly missing.

Natural disasters are very infrequent in the District, bushfires for the most part being isolated and small, earth tremors minor, and violent storms infrequent and fortunately so far fairly harmless. By far the more common and obvious natural phenomenon to impact on Roma is the rise in water level of Bungil Ck. Every five years or so in recent times it rises enough to scare the innocent and make a fair viewing spectacle. In larger floods portions of the town are still isolated due to flood water.

Roma as a town was first gazetted in 1862, its location being chosen after investigation by the 2 adjoining property owners and the Government surveyor. The town council was not formed until 1867. To this day the choice of the site in some ways is perplexing, but most likely based on the junction of the north-south and east-west roads running through the area. The exact location on the bend of the Bungil Ck was no doubt decided in some ways also by the location of the Fitzroy Hotel and a lack of experience of the climatic conditions and the needs for a future town. The land selected was noted as low lying scrub, swampy ground, and patches of sandy loam - a good indication of periodic inundation. As with most major undertakings the town has done through time, politics more than good thought is the most likely explanation for the way of things.

The first two permanent constructions were hotels, one on either side of Bungil Ck. To the east stood the "Fitzroy Hotel" built in 1862, just north of the present railway line on the Roma Downs/Two Mile Rd bend. The exact location of the structure is not known but the "lot" it was on is locatable. It was very close to the creek and on a broad flat. This would have given it a fair view of the water while still holding some semblance of security from water rising in the adjoining creek.

The second hotel was the "Bowen Hotel" built by Charles Ahrens, on the south west corner of Bungil & Gregory Sts. It was moved there from a location nearer the Mt Abundance homestead and completed once the town's location was fixed.

The gazettal for the prospective town appeared in September 1862 and the first pegs were driven in by McDowall on the 22nd of December. Buildings followed shortly after along the creek line, as you naturally would when starting a new town. I assume Ahren's hotel was built after the pegs were put in place.

Roma's long history of flooding began not long after in February 1864, with the majority of the town inundated. By historical comparison, this event was huge, the second biggest in recorded history as long as all accounts through time are reasonably accurate. Comparing it to today's situation, the flood gauge height would have been 7.55m, or 250mm higher than the 1997 flood. This puts it, on current calculations, at approximately a 1in100 year flood (which is what counter disaster planning is based on). The victims of the flood are not known, but the Fitzroy Hotel along Bungil Ck was being rebuilt in November 1864, so it was either damaged or in predicament serious enough to warrant abandonment and replaced in town. Unfortunately, the Hotels new location wasn't the answer to the problem, as it was to be partially flooded in 1890.

The reason for the Fitzroy Hotel moving is not specifically mentioned anywhere, but the 1864 flood is a tempting reason. The lot is shown cancelled on the first real property plan for Roma, but as it has been written on over a long period of time, so it need not have been the case that it was cancelled anytime between 1862 and 1864, and could well have been written after the hotel had relocated in 1864. A plan of 1867 does not show the lot as cancelled. Originally the town was cut into 16 major portions, with the hotel block un-numbered, though the cemetery was also un-numbered, so this does not necessarily mean the hotel lot was being abandoned as far back as the first plan in August 1862. The lot has a cancellation code of 71/889 so it is possible that it was cancelled in 1871 as a gazettal no 889.

Alas, the warning of future flooding was the first and most significant victim of the "Roma Coma".

A number of people came to the inescapable conclusion that the town was poorly sited, and wrote to the new State Government to that effect, asking that it be shifted to a more suitable location before the town grew any further. After the usual speculation of a new location, and the hot debate of the merits of such a venture between those who were yet to invest in town and those who already had holdings, the forming business community did what they have always done. They wrote to the Government asking that such a move not be contemplated, as there was much to be lost and that they should be spared any hardship.

Obviously the losses to further flooding were not considered great compared to the losses of having to relocate. For a town with a handful of permanent structures, it is amazing that no serious Government consideration was noted. As public infrastructure was not a great concern for the businessmen, and there was no town council, the prospect of draining the place was not yet an issue for them to wrestle within any form.

As it was, the government took a year to decide the issue of relocation, ending up conducting further subdivisional work along the west portion of town on the hillside. Perhaps they were secretly wishing people would take the hint and build higher up.

In 1871 a bridge was built across the Bungil, I am guessing at the location where the continuation of Bowen St would hit Bungil Ck, and where an old bridge had stood for many years prior to the construction of the new highway.

A second bridge was built across the Bungil in late 1878, where Lewis St would cross. It was only a small foot bridge, and built after a petition of rate payers pleaded their case. When this bridge was removed is not known, but there was definitely no trace of it in the 1937 air photo. It would later be replaced by the Victoria Bridge, which was in existence prior to 1937 and probably even 1928. The footbridge must have been fairly low, as later smaller floods seemed to have swamped it (in 1880 and 1884 at least). On the 3rd of March 1886 council requested that this bridge be extended to the far bank, which I assume indicated that it was fairly small.

No particular mention is made of flood waters again until a reference to a large flood in 1880. There are no records for it at the time, but in the 1894 flood reference is made to its water level. On today's measurements, it would equate to a flood marker height of 6.3m, which is fairly minor. A 1in6 year event, the sort of thing that still sends people into a blind panic for no good reason. However, they do look spectacular with the Long Drain full of water and a fair flow running under the Bungil St bridge.

Throughout this period the town's water supply was from the creek itself. Early air photos show a more open creek with less vegetation and a number of large waterholes, which have long gone. There was one specifically set aside for the gathering of water, which was brought to town by a number of water carriers. Its location is not clear, but may have been in the bend of the creek at the end of what is now Lovell St. There were also reserves set aside in Lewis St backing onto the creek, where Bowen St hits Bungil Ck, and also underneath where the army depot is in Edwardes St. Any of these could have been the water collecting place. The town persisted with creek water, which by its nature was of variable quality.

The water quality from the creek was an immediate concern from almost the start. In 1866 a town meeting was called to discuss the pollution of the drinking water by bathers, rubbish and even dead animals. Several resolutions were passed and one of the waterholes was fenced. It was reported as being nearest the town, so may have been the water reserve in Lewis St just north of the current Bungil St bridge. The situation with water supply did not seem to abate with the new resolutions. In 1871 the Town Clerk was instructed to keep an eye on it for possible contamination thought to come about due to the adjoining Chinese market gardens.

In 1872 the Town Clerk wrote to the Government requesting consideration for some form of works to be conducted at Roma to improve the water supply situation with the construction of a dam. This followed up an earlier request in 1868, which seems to have been ignored. Options were asked for, as well as costs. As with all previous attempts through history to secure a dam at Roma, the idea disappeared into obscurity for resurrection at a point in the future.

The Government appears to have seriously considered the dam option in 1868, for the blocks where the present Railway Dam stands were withdrawn from sale. In 1873 the local Member of Parliament changed to the right political colour and by late 1874 the original Railway Dam was almost completed. While the area of the dam was large, it was complained at the time that it was very shallow, and not upto the requirements for a town water supply. From the minutes of the 1885 council meetings it appears that the ring tank was a later construction, as the dam was referred to as old and the 'tank' as new. It was being fenced in March 1886 to keep the public out during the hours of darkness.

The creek water was finally augmented by a water bore in 1881 which stands on the small triangle of land in council's hands on the north west corner of Queen and McDowall St, where now stands part of the fine park of the Court House. The bore was shallow and not entirely successful. By all accounts it was abandoned without seeing much use.

For the time being, the creek was still the only source of water. However, it should be remembered that all sewerage and rubbish also flowed to the creek, which left the water down stream of the discharge in an unfit state for use. By the 1880's the water in the town dam (present Railway Dam) was drawn to an elevated tank which was built by Council, and distributed through portions of the town. It was not the best water supply, but better than any other option available. This elevated tower would eventually be superceded by water bores in the late 1890's.

On the 2nd of February 1884, the newspaper discussed what could be the first flood boat. It was most likely purchased or made after the 1880 flood and other minor rains had created some difficulties in crossing the creek, probably inundationg the Lewis St bridge, and judging by the text some previous mention of the craft must have been about town prior to this occasion. "The 'dug out' which does duty for a boat in Roma, and the ownership is vested in the Municipal Council as trustees for the inhabitants, was in considerable demand yesterday, and quite a large concourse of citizens congregated on the bank of the creek at dinner time to see the primitive craft navigated. We do not know whether our 'dug out' is registered A1 at Lloyd's or not, but if so the fame of Britain (and its dependencies) as a maritime power must be in decline. The registered tonnage of our local 'life boat' does not appear to be great, and she is not likely to be of much use to the residents on the China Town side of the Bungil in flood time. The council would do well to discard this primitive piece of naval architecture, and get a proper boat - one that would float if possible. A boat that would float is best. It is true that communication between different parts of the town is seldom intercepted by a flood, but a boat is sometimes required when the creek is flooded, and one of the modern style, that will easily hold eight or ten persons and float without being held up by four or five able bodied men, would be the most serviceable to the community in an emergency of this kind. The present town boat is not a model in any sense, and a better one should be procured."

Obviously Roma experienced a small flood on the 1st of February, which must have been unworthy of general notice except for the condition of the boat. As such, it was most likely a minor creek rise in the vacinity of a flood height of 4-5 metres, such that the creek cut any access, but did not make a spectacular view except for the follies of the boat. As the boat had experienced considerable teething problems, it may be surmised that the boat was of recent vintage and possibly untried. It sounded like a small boat, probably carrying no more than 4 or 5 people, and being described as a dugout, probably canoe like. As it is also described as not being very buoyant or stable, my guess is that it was also built locally, probably under council direction.

On the 4th of April 1884 it was reported in the newspaper that the council had made instructions for the purchase of a new flood boat. I don't find any records of councilors living on that side of the creek, which would be the usual reason for a purchase of this type, though one of councilor Saunders shop tenants did reside there. Perhaps the caustic language of the paper had moved them along. Obviously any flood boat purchased was to facilitate transport across Bungil Ck to the area which was known as Chinatown, and also to the fine orchards further up at the top end of what is now Short St. The transport of fruits and vegetables to the main shopping area was fairly important. The added excuse was probably to get children to school and ladies to church, but it could be just as likely the councilors were interested in a few ales on the non existent water chasing the non existent fish.

The boat was purchased for 20 pounds by the mayor (Hertzberg) while on a trip to Brisbane. The boat was 16 foot long and made of cedar. It either needed work or even construction, as the news paper article mentioned that it had yet to be completed before the council in general could inspect it. Mention was also made for the construction of a shed to house it. I believe that from the start it was housed in a shed in the back yard of the Bowen Hotel, a good spot where only a few yards away would be rushing any flood water.

In 1890, Roma had its biggest flood in recorded history. (Refer 1890 flood transcripts). The text describes only one council boat, and several hastily constructed punts. The boat shed, which was in the fence yard of the Bowen Hotel, completely disappeared under the flood water and was later found washed away. The boat itself does not appear to be overly large, as it is described in one place under the charge of only one police constable rescuing people, while later in the heavier current of the flood two men operate it, using a 'captive cask' system (no idea what it means). The second man was most likely operating it, while the other rowed. These were Michael Shanahan and Mr Maybury.

On the 2nd of March 1895, a new boat hit the paper again, with the inevitable problem of housing it. "The Mayor reported (at council meeting) that the foreman of works had informed him that the boat shed was not large enough for the two boats, except by one being placed above the other, and this was inconvenient and prevented the boats being properly attended two. It was suggested that the building be removed across the street to Mr Gatehouse's fence, where the boats could be brought into use and again stored without so much risk of damage. It was decided to consider the matter at a further meeting."

The need for a second boat was highlighted by the need in the 1890 flood of making several punts on the fly to transport people and goods about the water. Even for a council project, taking the 5 years from the 1890 flood to 1895 to purchase another boat seems to indicate some further creek rise in that time. It is most likely the great floods in Taroom, and general wet years of 1893 and 1894 also meant considerable rain in the Roma area. No mention of problems in Roma at this time have been found, but it is likely there was enough to cut the creek crossings and make the council think about boats again.

In 1898, the council flood boat (note only one) was lying idle in the town dam. Councilor Lawton moved that they consider leasing it out to make money, but no action was taken to that effect. As further reference is made to cleaning out the dam at that time and having the by-wash also cleaned, my assumption is that further work was being done there to clean it out, or remove debris in general, and that the boat was partly used in this process.

It is likely therefore that between 1895 and 1898, the cedar boat fell out of use. The need for 2 boats was apparent, so a good guess would be that the cedar boat had fallen into disrepair. It being only about 15 years old, it was either poorly maintained or of the wrong material.

It is likely that the current historic flood boat popularly known as the 'Minnie Palmer' was part of a crop of boats supplied to the western areas after the general floods of 1893. This may then mean this was the new boat mentioned in the papers in 1895, with the prior cedar boat being abandoned sometime later. Several of these iron boats still exist on the Adavale River. Michael Shanahan later became known as the Captain of the 'Minnie Palmer', so it is therefore likely that it was in existence in his time. He was operating in Roma 1890-1930 or so, so the boat was likely to have come into council's hands in this time. From photographs, the boat was in operation in the April 1928 flood.

My best guess is that the name of the boat is derived from the name of one of the residents of Chinatown. In 1876, George and Margaret Palmer moved to Roma and took up land across Bungil Ck at what is now 4-12 Tiffin St - the large vacant paddock opposite the Wattles Clubhouse and facing Bungil, Tiffin and George Sts. It appears that there was a dwelling there as early as 1876, but from the owners details and the rates notings the land was also a garden paddock. I suspect that they also owned land where the Flemings are now, covering the land in McPhie St on the south side, from Edwardes St to the creek. Both prime rescue areas in a flood.

The Palmer and Shanahan families have a connection which is not well known. The Shanahans lived across the road from the palmers, in the little bungalow which burnt down in 2001, at 9 Tiffin St. There is photographic evidence that the families mingled socially and my assumption is that relatives of George & Margaret may have been nannies or sitters for the Shanahans. To the best of my knowledge George & Margaret did not have children, but as there are a number of Palmers continuing on in the rates books, they must have had relations living with them. One of these was also called George, and I am tempted to call him a child of George & Margaret though there is NO record of this.

There was also a P Palmer and an AW Palmer. The family relationships of these people are currently unknown.

Knowing the tie of the Shanahans, and that Margaret Palmer lived in flood prone areas up until her death in 1901, it is my assumption the boat is named after her, especially as Minnie is a common corruption of the name Margaret (amongst other names). This, therefore, most likely places the purchase of the current steel boat to be between the 1890 flood and within 6 months of her death in 1901, or else the name would not have become attached to it.

Look up :
When Railway Dam changed to council hands
When the chinese settled china town
When the Lewis St footbridge disappeared
When the victoria, arthur & charles St bridges were constructed
When any highway bridges were built.
Where the minute books are for pre 1885
Where are the improvement committee reports and Officer of Nuisances reports
Hope Spencer's book
Fitzroy Hotel block cancellation code 71/889
Do pictures of oil & gas at hospital hill show the elevated tank at the railway dam?

 

Additional Bridge Notes

Additional bridge notes

Western Star 1/3/1890
We understand that the Municipal Council will meet in committee on Monday next to investigate the charges made repeating [regarding? But definitely looks like repeating or repecting] the repairs recently effected to the bridge over Bungil creek.


The fortnightly meeting of the Roma Municipal Council was held on Wednesday afternoon. Present - The Mayor (Fred Bourne), Aldermen Spencer, King, Morrison, Lavin, Kennedy, Enright, and the Town Clerk (E.A. Rees).
The minutes of the preceding meeting were read and confirmed.
The town clerk announced that in compliance with a request form the Colonial Secretary's office he had intimated that the Mayor, not being a publican or holding a wine or spirit license, was eligible to sit on the licensing board. Also, that the cheque for £100 had been received from the Works Department towards cost of repairs to Bungil Bridge.
Several complaints were read as to the condition of Alfred, Arthur, McDowall and Bungil streets, which were referred to the Improvement Committee.
The report of the Finance Committee was read and adopted, and accounts passed amounting to £26 17s 10d were authorised to be paid.
The report of the foreman of works relating to work done, was received. The report recommended that the water channel in Bowen street, below Wyndham St, should be cleaned out and made deeper to facilitate the escape of storm water coming from the by wash.
Alderman King stated that during the recent rains he had seen the water overflow from the watercourse in Bowen street, come down Wyndham street at Mrs Skehan's corner, leaving a small flood opposite Mr Shelswell's butchers shop, then go back to Bowen street by way of Charles street. Anything that would alter that disgraceful state of affairs should be done.
The mayor considered the cost of extending the embankment of the old dam should be defrayed out of the £80 referred to. If they did not attend to the embankment they would soon have another bywash to make.
Eventually the report was referred to the Improvement Committee.
Five applications were opened for the situation of town inspector. They were as follows: - £23 a year, £40, £25, £26 and one for 10s per week. John Cregan was appointed at £23, he being the lowest tenderer.
For dray and buggy hire there were four tenders. That of Adam Battefeldt at 7s 6d a day for dray hire and two horses, and 2s 6d an hour for the buggy, was accepted. This tender was accepted also because it was the lowest.
Application for the care of pumps were authorised to be invited, the applicants to state the amount they are willing to pay for their use.
Alderman King called the attention of the council to the fact that in consequence of certain reports having got abroad in reference to repairs to the bridge several members of the council had gone to inspect the repairs recently carried out. Two bolts, or what they supposed were to be bolts, had been raised with a bar. Alderman King explained the nature of the fixing of the bolts, and said the Town Clerk said those bolts were not inside the contract. If the bolts were not in the contract, the council had nothing to do with them, but if they were in the contract, and he believed they were, they would have something to call the contractor to account for. He considered there should be an inquiry into the matter. It was true the money for the work had been paid, and nothing could be got out of the contractor if anything had gone wrong, but the inquiry might lead to greater caution being exercised in case of tenders from the same contractor being again received. No honest tradesman would tender against a man who from the start intended to do the work imperfectly.
Alderman Spencer said he was quite sure the contract had not been carried out according to the specifications. An inquiry ought to be held, although the money had been paid.
Alderman King was under the impression that the contractor was liable for the work for a period of three or six months after the council had taken it over.
The mayor said he had gone with other alderman to the bridge, and he certainly did not believe the work had been properly carried out.
After further discussion it was resolved to hold an inquiry as to the manner in which the repairs to the bridge had been carried out, Messrs Sermon [contractor], Gleeson [carpenter], and Roberts [contractor] to be requested to attend. [These people were locals, Sermon & Roberts running a contracting business]
This concluded the business.

Western Star 29/3/1890
FLOOD RELIEF FUND
PUBLIC MEETING
A public meeting convened by his worship the mayor, in compliance with a request made by several townspeople, was held on Wednesday morning in the town hall to take steps to relieve the stress occasioned by the recent disastrous floods. There was a very large attendance.
The mayor took the chair and explained that the object the meeting had in view was to take steps to relieve persons in distress, of whom there were many who had suffered seriously by the disastrous floods they had experienced during the last few days. It was unnecessary for him to say much on the subject as they all knew the losses sustained were very great and if the meeting could find means of relief, which he was sure would be done, and was urgently needed, their action would be a great service. He was certain the townspeople would respond to any call made upon them.
Mr. L. Jackson thought some practical course to relieve distress ought to be taken at once. He thought a secretary should be appointed and then a general committee. There was no doubt the distress was very great. The first consideration of the meeting would be to raise funds to relieve destitute persons without any delay. He explained that on Monday morning the mayor had been interviewed by certain residents in town who had formed themselves into a sort of emergency committee and by their authority some little shelter and food had being provided. Certain outlay had thus been incurred and it was the duty of the committee to be appointed to meet that outlay from subscriptions to be raised as well as to provide for much further relief. He concluded by moving a motion embodying the above and nominating the committee.
Mr. T. A. Spencer seconded the motion although he thought a working committee might be of fewer number then those proposed
Mr. O'Brien considered the motion proposed to do too much at a time. He thought a small committee should be formed to collect subscriptions, obtain information, and give relief where required. It would be well to form a general committee and hold that committee responsible for any action they might take.
Mr. Hunter suggested that the members of the municipal council with the ministers of religion in town form the first committee.
Mr. Carter moved that an emergency committee be formed to collect subscriptions and give relief, to consist of the Mayor (Mr F Bourne), Aldermen Spencer and King, and Messrs Warren and Shanahan. Seconded by Mr Dyball.
It transpired that in the opinion of many present Mr Shanahan would be unable to attend to the duties of committeeman, as he had to see to his own household, who had been compelled to remove, and the names of Messrs Saunders and Jackson were substituted. The motion thus amended was carried after much discussion.
Mr EA Rees, Town Clerk, was appointed honourary secretary. Mr Ebb Smith (Weribone) said that the committee should go to work without delay. Funds by subscription would be sure to be provided. The committee could go to work in 10 minutes.
Subscription papers were then put on the table, and Mr Faithful, manager of the local branch of the Queensland National Bank, was appointed honourary treasurer.
A discussion arose as to the manner of dealing with any surplus that might be left. Mr. Robinson moving that the committee be empowered to send it to the central fund in Brisbane. It was stated there would be no surplus and the motion fell to the ground
The secretary announced that some subscriptions had already been received, namely £5 from Mr C Carrington, and £8 10s from the police station at Roma, namely £2 pound from inspector Fitzgerald, £1 from sergeant Kidney and ten shillings each from members of the police force.
The question next raised was as to the boundaries of the district where relief should be afforded. One suggested the municipality, other's the divisional board, then the electoral district of the Maranoa. Mr Ebb Smith considered that Yeulba, which had suffered so much according to reports, should certainly be included. Eventually a motion proposed by Mr.Searle, that the committee be empowered to give relief where ever required was carried.
The Rev Mr Watkins referred to a motion made by Mr Robinson, but not seconded, referring to the dealing with any balance that might be left. He said it was well known that there was a balance of £200 left from subscriptions to the London dock strike fund, about which legal opinion had been obtained. It had been proposed to transfer that balance to a flood relief fund but the legal opinion was that it could not be properly devoted to any other purpose than that for which the money was subscribed. It was necessary to give the committee power to deal with any possible balance in order to keep control of it.
Mr Warren (interrupting): there will be no balance, the committee will expand all the money raised. This assertion appeared to meet with the full approval of those present, and the Rev Mr Watkins resumed his seat. The meeting closed, those present putting down their names for various sums on the lists prepared. Over £50 was thus subscribed in the room.
A committee meeting was held directly afterwards when canvassers were appointed, who at once started out to raise subscriptions. Before sundown £100 had been subscribed.
The meeting of the municipal council, which should have been held on Wednesday was postponed until Monday next.
There is probably little inclination to think of other matters than floods just now, but persons interested are reminded that the quarterly registration and revision court for many of the various electoral districts will be held on Tuesday next.
In a number: will be fan the race programs issued by the Western Queens land racing club for the meeting to be held at Roma in the show week. The full program will appear in due course.
Members of the local pastoral and agricultural associations are reminded that annual subscriptions should be paid with as little delay as possible. Not only is the money required to meet expenses incurred, but it is desirable to obtain the government subsidy.
As an indication of the complete saturation of the ground all about Roma, it may be mentioned that after the thunderstorms at noon on Thursday, the Creek rose seven inches in five minutes.
By sundown the water in the Creek had risen sufficiently high to cover the bridge near the town clerk's residence, and men were told off to watch and report any further rise during the night.
It is only necessary for anyone with a heart in his body to look around, or talk to a neighbor who has looked around, to realize that at the present moment help is required to relieve immediate and pressing want. The disastrous flood of the present week will be ever memorable in Roma. The waters have caused widespread devastation and reduced many industrious families to the verge of poverty. The settlers here of all classes have been accustomed to contend with drought; with floods rarely, and certainly never with a flood such as that which we hope has now passed away. The cry of distress appeals to every man who has compassion on his fellows. So far as is now known, the calamity is widespread it may be even greater than anything of which we have conception. Certain it is that the whole effort of those who have escaped the misfortune can not replace the losses sustained; all we can do at present is to relieve distress, and that is all that is asked for. The meeting on Wednesday showed that no certain method of relief had been arranged. It was hoped that no very serious misfortune had occurred except to a few individuals. Inquiry shows that the misfortune is general and deplorable and that more than ordinary generosity is necessary to help those who have not the power to help themselves. All the [line missing] meet the emergency, and so far the residents of Roma have done fairly well. A few days of course will tell but it is to be been that much more assistants will be needed than that already and necessarily somewhat hastily given. No doubt other's than the farmers have suffered severely but of that no information can be obtainable for the present. These farmers are however that very important class in this community. Upon the development of agriculture the future progress of this town to a great extent depends. And it is a vital importance to the people of Roma that the persons engaged in agriculture should receive all the assistance and encouragement the townspeople can extend to them. The prosperity of a town, the town itself, is very considerably what the people in it make it. We all depend very much on each other and when an important section of the community meets with a misfortune, that misfortune must extend to others about them. These farmers have met with a great misfortune in any of those who are not farmers can soften the adversity by little present sacrifice it is right and prudent for that sacrifice to be made. The present is, we fear, an occasion which requires much sacrifice and we therefore hope and believe that the appeal now heard will be responded to in a liberal manner. The information to hand indicates that the devastation caused by the floods is great it is to be feared that its extent is not realized. It is probable that all the help the people of Roma can afford will be more than required to alleviate the suffering.
The death sentence passed on Elizabeth Rebecca Hyde for poisoning husband at Bundamba, has been commuted to imprisonment for life.
Only one case has come before the local police court since last issue. It was that of a woman charged with drunkenness and she was discharged with a caution.
Members of the Hibernian sports committee are again reminded that the final meeting which was postponed through the wet weather will take place (D.V.) [????] On Monday night next in the Court House Hotel at 8 p.m.
up to the present writing no news from Brisbane other than that issued in our extraordinary of Wednesday has come to hand. If it was their stated that fears of another flood were entertained. We learned that the rainfall in Brisbane is 8.57 inches since Tuesday morning and no doubt the river and drinks are high but it is hoped that there has been no flood approaching that of a couple of weeks since. It is stated that another flood has occurred at Laidley and for the damage done to the line at that place which will necessitate further delay in railway communication. These heavy rains appear to prevail all along the Eastern Seaboard. The Fitzroy is in high flood and serious damage has occurred at and about Rockhampton.
Incidents of the flood are numerous. One of the most instructive comes from Blythedale. On Sunday night the flood waters surrounded the house fo Mr O'Sullivan, at the wool scouring establishment. As the waters continued to rise, Mr O'Sullivan, it I said, took a door off the hinges. On this he placed a table upside down, nailing the two firmly together. He then tied ropes around the table legs, and in this enclosure placed his two children. He then fixed a rope to the raft, and towed the little ones to a place of safety, struggling through the current near the creek for an hour and a half, resting occasionally in the shallow patches. Two men helped to steady the raft on which the children were placed, one of whom became exhausted, and was left on a shallow patch, whence he was afterwards rescued. The fear was of getting out into the current of the creek, and this danger was successfully avoided.
In our columns we gave a list of paid subscriptions to the flood relief fund, and we believe that it is the intention of the committee to publish in each issue of the Star the names of all paid subscriptions upto 4PM on the previous day to the day of issue. With regard to the investigations if the committee, they find that very heavy losses in very many instances have been sustained, more especially towards the Northern Road, where the whole of the fencing and the soil of the farms are washed away. It is the intention of the committee, so soon as the weather takes up, to thoroughly examine the losses sustained through out the immediate district, and to receive any applications from the places outside, and deal with all applications as they consider most advisable. Although the list published today only shows the actual amount collected there is over £40 represented by good names on the list, which we are sure, will be paid in before next issue. The total amount on the list at present reaches £100.
Visitors to Brisbane should visit Thompson's bookshop, George Street, (opposite Land's office). Large and varied assortment of all kinds of Literature, Stationary &c. Thirty standard novels forwarded post free for one pound. - (ADVT)
The Inspector of Police (Mr Fitzgerald) has taken an active part in the rescue of persons endangered by the floods here, and on Thursday he gave instructions to Mr Lister to construct a galvanised iron boat to be used in any emergency. The flood is not over yet., and a further rise of the waters is sure to follow on any considerable rain, which it is feared may come, as the clouds remain unbroken. Last night the sunset gave promises of a "fine to-morrow," which promise it is hoped will be verified. In mentioning the name of men who had been exceptionally zealous in the work of rescue, we omitted to name Constable Clair. Constable Clair, we are assured, did excellent service, and he was one of the constables who very materially helped to rescue families from their flooded dwellings in the eastern suburb and took them to shelter in the old brewery [Lewis St]
Last night we learned that it is not improbable that a train will leave Roma for the eastward today, but may be delayed at Yeulba, where there is a break, and mails and passengers will therefore have to be carried across. The train may be able to pass on to Miles, and perhaps to Toowoomba on Sunday. But nothing is certain yet. The train which started for Charleville on Thursday was stopped about six miles this sideof Mitchell, where the flood covered about half a mile of th eline. The train therefore returned to Muckadilla, and stopped there all night. Further damage being reported it was considered advisable to bring the train back to Roma. It started from Muckadilla at 7AM yesterday, and was again blocked between Bungeworgorai bridge and cattle creek. On being advised of this damage, the stationmaster at Roma (Mr Llyod) took a train out with men to repair the damage and tranship passengers and mails; this train with passengers returned to Roma at 12.30 and the Charleville train got back at 5.30PM. The line is reported as impassable at two places between Amby and Mitchell, also about one mile out of Morven and ten miles on the other side. Ballast trains will get out there as soon as possible. Mr Lloyd is also advised that all traffic between Toowoomba and Brisbane is again stopped.

Western Star 29/3/1890 (Probably)
Amount of paid subscriptions to 4PM 28th March.
Ebb Smith (Weribone) £3/3/0
W Palmer £3/3/0
James Saunders £5/5/0
L Jackson £5/5/0
Joseph Carter £1/1/0
Rev. G Tatham £3/3/0
George Taylor Jnr £1/1/0
Robert King £2
S O'Brien £2
Joseph Warren £1/1/0
George martin £1/1/0
- Forrest £1/1/0
Rev P Capra £3/3/0
Rev M Cosgrove £1/1/0
Mrs Catherine Hartley £1/1/0
Thomas Enright £1/1/0
Yung Ben Sue £1/1/0
JP McLeish & Co £2/2/0
A Mitchell £2/2/0
T McEwen £1
D Brisen £1
George Ward £2/2/0
R Conlan £1/1/0
Alfred Robinson £1
John Wieneke 10s
Thomas Clair 10s
Thomas Concanron [?] 10s
William Horan 10s
J Mayfield 10s
Mrs J Williams 10s
Miss Hogan 10s
RH Macfarlane 10s 6d
RB Kessen 10s
CA Baker 10s6d
James [?] McNeil 10s
James benne 10s
Norah Roach 5s
Frank Eaton 5s
Emma Richardson 5s
Lizzie Shenton 5s
Jane Cregan 5s
Ellen Walsh 5s
Joseph Smith 5s
James Shanley 5s
M Peeney 5s
ME Johnson 5s
George Roach 5s
James Stevenson 5s
Mrs HO Catling 5s
William Stuart 3s
James Spikins 5s
J Philips 5s
H Warneck 5s
A Heme 5s
Marry A Smith 2s6d
George Bradley 2s6d
D Hallahan 2s6d
D Campbell 2s6d
John Simmonds 2s6d
R Owens 2s6d
A Flack 2s6d
Mrs J Watson 1s
Richard Middleton 6d
Mrs Kelley 5s
FG Mackay £1/1/0
C Gayler 10s
- Goodwin 10s
J Symes 10s
J Walduck 2s6d
WH Sparks £1/1/0
W Lalor 5s
[Following are suspected to all be police]
Inspector Fitzgerald £2/2/0
Sergeant Kidney £1
David Johnson £1
Thomas Walsh 10s
DL Williams 10s
Joseph Ball 10s
Thomas Brett 10s
Thomas Hayden 10s
A Simpson 10s
[End of suspected Police]
D Ross £1
Donald McLean (Redford) £3/3/0
RH Dyball £1/1/0
P Browne 10s
Ms Price 10s6d
TA Spencer £3/3/0
J Miles £1/1/0
LC Johnson 10s
Doctor GS L'Estrange £5/5/0
M Lavin (Special donation of clothing)
All subscriptions…[Following text undecipherable]

Western Star 4/10/1893
The bridge over the Bungeworgorai Creek at Schormann's has been completed by the contractor, Mr R Clelland, to the order of the Bungil Divisional Board. The bridge is 67ft long by 17ft wide between the kerbing and has a clearway from the bed of the creek to the girders of 13ft. The bridge spans the midstream, and is built of ironbark decked with pine, supported by four sets of piles. The approaches have been designed with great care, and are easy for traffic. The cuttings, which have been somewhat heavy owing to the nature of the banks of the creek are protected with aprons of very good stone. The roadway has been heavily graveled, and probably the bridge will be opened to the public today. It has every appearance of solidity, and will be a useful piece of public work, enabling the selectors on the west side of the creek to reach town with their produce, the want of a bridge at this place having hitherto been seriously felt during the grape season, while an inducement will be offered to the selection of large areas of land across the creek which is now available. The bridge and approaches cost about £380, the work being designed by Mr D Ross, the boards foreman of works.

Western Star 6/6/1896
A beginning has just been made for the erection of the Bridge over Bungil Ck in Major St to that part of Roma variously known as Chinatown or the Eastern suburb. The contractor, Mr Gray, has sent forward the first party of men, together with some of the heavier plant, consisting of a monkey for driving the piles, ploughs, and scoops. There is a heap of pile shoes lying ready at the smith works of Mr Rogers, and so soon as the long beams of timber arrive everything will be put in position for a start. The bridge will be a great convenience to the residents in the Eastern Suburb, and to the settlers away to the north west, and it will enable them to avoid the tug up and down the sandy bed of banks and bed of the creek.

Western Star 6/6/1896
The contractor for the bridge over the Bungil (Mr J.R.Gray) may be said to have fairly begun work. Some of the timber is on the bank of the creek. This timber consists of light and heavy balks for piles and beams. Some of these are fine thick logs of ironbark, brought up from Miles, and give promise of the new bridge being a substantial structure. A slight excavation has been made on the south bank of the creek, and preparations are in progress for the staging. It will take some weeks yet before any of the piles are placed in position, as there is a considerable amount of axe dressing to be got through before the work of pile driving can be commenced.

Western Star 16/4/1904
The initial stage in the construction of the new bridge over the Bungil creek, on the main road from Roma to Wallumbilla and other centres of population, was entered upon on Wednesday afternoon, when the architects (Mr Robert Bryant), accompanied by several of the aldermen, visited the the site and "set out" the work for the contractor (Mr Charles Kolb). There will be five sets of piles in the structure, which will be quite as high as the old bridge, and approaches will only have to be constructed at one end - the eastern end. No doubt the progress of the work will be watched with interest by many.

Western Star 31/8/1904
The New Bridge
It is not generally the practice for an important structure to be made available for general use without some kind of demonstration being made to mark the event. In Roma several mild celebrations have taken place over less important public events than the opening for public traffic of the new bridge over Bungil Ck on the main road from Brisbane to the Western interior, but an important public work like the one under notice was allowed to be completed and be made available for general use without any demonstration whatever. Probably the absorbing interest taken in the political crisis had something to do with the omission.
The new bridge takes the place of the old wooden structure erected some forty years ago [in 1871], which "had stood many a storm and flood," and had become dilapidated to such an extent that although costly repairs had in recent times been undertaken it was so unsafe that it could no longer be relied upon to carry the heavy traffic which occasionally goes along the road. The old bridge was built by the Government in the old days when the[re] was [a] Roads and Bridges Department, and strange stories are yet current amongst old residents of questionable transactions connected therewith. One legend is to the effect that a fine residence was erected of timber ostensibly consigned for bridge building purposes for which the department paid. Since then the Local Authorities have been created, and these useful bodies keep a vigilant eye on practices of that nature. [Roma Council was incorporated in 1867, 4 years before the bridge construction, and the writers romantic notion of council vigilance is amusing. They were more likely complicit than anything else] The work of the new bridge was carried out by them. Some time since the old bridge was closed for traffic, and since then drays, livestock, and vehicles have crossed the creek as best they could at any convenient place that could be found. The Roma Town Council, the Bungil shire Council, and the Government - the bridge being on a main road - contributed equally to the cost, some £700. The result is a structure of as durable a kind as the materials are capable of, and is a very great convenience to the residents of Roma and particularly to the large number of settlers eastward of Roma. Since the new bridge was completed, the "drive" along the Blythedale Road for a few miles has become quite a favourable holiday trip.
The position of the bridge is within 100 feet of the old bridge on the western side and one[on] the eastern side adjoins the old structure; thus the bridge spans the creek at right angles. It is 140 feet long by 19 feet wide, the approaches being extra. The bridge is built in six spans, the centre span and piers are specially built, having five piles to each pier, strongly and securely braced, and bolted together. Double corbels are used to as to minimise the length of bearing. The piles were driven on an average of 15 feet below the surface of the ground in th ebed of the creek, where a splendid foundation was found. The whole of the timber used for piles, corbels, headstocks, and girders is of narrow leaf ironbark, which was procured in the neighbourhood of Miles, and is a timber that cannot be excelled for soundness and straightness in the whole of Queensland. The decking and handrail posts etc are of blue and spotted gum, which came from the neighbourhood of Killarney, near Warwick, and is also of best quality. The whole of the work was carried out by Mr Charles Kold, contractor, of Brisbane under the supervision of Mr Robert Bryant of this town. Every satisfaction was given to the Town Council, the members expressing themselves as being agreeably surprised at the expeditious and excellent manner the work has been carried out. The extras came to under £12, which is very unusual in work of this kind. As above stated, the total cost, with architect's fees, amounted to about £700.

Western Star, Early July 1921
probably the first Saturday edition of the month
The Weather
Splendid Rains
For many months past the cry has been general that rain was badly wanted in the Roma district to make water. Hitherto what rainhas fallen has been of a light and soaking nature, and although of immense benefit to cultivation paddocks and pastures, has not replenished the depleted water supplies. Thursday night's rain should relegate that complaint to obscurity for many months to come, because at last the dry belt of the Maranoa has been blessed with a downpour that should make grazier, dairyman, and agriculturist rejoice and give thanks. It is very many years since such a generous rainfall has been experienced in this district. Commencing about 7:30PM on Thursday, it rained 12 solid hours until 7:30AM on Friday morning, the Roma gauge at 9AM showing 328 points. Footpaths and street crossings were flooded at 7 o'clock yesterday morning. The much discussed and anathematised by wash from the railway dam was utterly inadequate to carry off the big overflow, and this was accentuated by the two small pipes connecting the by wash with Bowen street drain at Hawthorne street. Right along the south side of Bowen street was a regular sea, with swift running currents at each intersection. The High School was almost an island [the current Junior School]. Fortunately the rain cleared off before 8AM, and by 9AM the waters had subsided sufficiently to enable the children to reach the school without having to requisition the services of the council boat [I find it difficult to imagine that the water was deep enough to make the use of a boat of this size practical. I would imagine a cart would have been of better use in this situation]. The eastern end of town between Bowen and McDowall streets was also flooded, and even at he top end of the business part of McDowall street the water encroached halfway along the footpaths. Bungil creek rose rapidly, and at 9 o'clock was running a banker. The rain has been very general, the falls ranging from two and a half inches to four and three quarter inches, the latter fall being at Surat to the south of Roma. These rainfalls clearly indicate that all outside traffic must be hampered, if not entirely held up, for some days. There is bound to be a budget of letters requesting repairs to roads awaiting the new town and shire councillors when first they meet.
The following records of rainfalls were received at the Roma Post Office yesterday morning:- Mt Abundance 300 points, Coogoon 230, Gladevilla 333, Rockybank 365, Richmond Downs 350, Lauriston 359, State Farm 317, Roma Downs 364, Dalmally 303, Danaran 280, Stratton 260, Megine 254, Merino Downs 290, Bellevue 304, Meadowbank 280, Bengalla 350, Glencoe 353, Glendower 250, Injune 325, Merviale Station 250, Westgrove 280, Timor 300, Orallo 200, Yingerbay 290, Gunnewin 350, Surat 475, St George 400, Yeulba [Yuleba] 350, Wallumbilla 305, Jackson 100[??], Miles 37, Muckadilla ??, Mitchell plus others. [The print of these rainfalls is highly illegible and should be verified toward the end of the list from a clean version]

Western Star 22nd July 1921
Floods in the Maranoa
Three and a half inches of rain in Roma
Six inches below Surat
Steady rain set in early on Wednesday night,. Registering 45 points at Roma at 9AM Thursday. The rain continued steadily all day and night and at 9AM yesterday an additional three inches were registered. During the forenoon a light drizzling rain fell, and early in the afternoon the weather showed signs of breaking, the sun appearing at intervals between the light showers.
Three weeks ago the Marano district experienced a rainfall of from three to five inches which flooded all creeks and watercourses, and the present rain following so soon has caused the biggest flood in Bungil Creek for some years. Yesterday at dinner time the water was almost over the iron stanchions carrying the chains on Victoria Bridge. From the creek the water was backed up in the gully near the butter factory [current Duck Pond branch back to the railway line], and the water in the gully which runs into the Bungil at Bungil Street was well over the Charles Street bridge and also over the bridge on the Northern Rd, being nearly quarter o f amile wide in places. The town council boat was employed during the day conveying people to and from business, and a few residents in low lying localities placed their furniture high and dry and thought it advisable to cross themselves across to higher ground.
Judging by the flooded state of Bungil Creek, graziers between the Barracks and Surat, and from there down the Balonne will have an anxious time with sheep, particularly in the coolibah country, especially as reports from Wallumbilla and Yeulba show the rainfalls there have been heavier than at Roma. Both the Wallumbilla and Yeulba creeks empty into the Condamine, and at Surat the fall has been 238 points, while Bindie has had six inches and St George nearly two inches. With so much water going down Mungindi is certain to be again flooded, making the third occasion within the last few weeks.
The following registrations of rainfalls were received by Mr Weiske (postmaster) upto 9AM yesterday:- Mt Abundance 385 points, Hollyrood 480, Coogoon 447, Gladevilla 403, Rockybank 400, Richmond Downs 450, Lauriston 470, State farm 368, Roma Downs 416, Dalmally 502m, Stratton 445, Struan 350, Deepwater ?? merino Downs 436, Bellevue 421, Arone?? 526, Surat 238, Yeulba 480,Wallumbilla 529, Mitchell 92, Morven 43, Amby ??, Bindie 500, St George 195, Orallo ??, Injune 109, Miles ?? , Roma ?? plus others [The print of these rainfalls is highly illegible and should be verified toward the end of the list from a clean version]