Monday, 16 April 2018

#52Ancestors - Week 16 - Storms

When a child, our summer holidays were spent visiting my grandparents farm, Rosemount, near Kilcoy in south east Queensland. Rosemount was a timber farmhouse with a metal roof. Wide verandahs were on three sides of the house. The farmhouse, situated on about six hundred acres of land, dated from 1875. This was a great opportunity for children from Melbourne to experience and enjoy a totally different lifestyle. My grandparents owned the property for about ten years from 1954.
I slept on the side verandah which fortunately was enclosed. We always went to bed early as the property was a dairy farm and the men had to get up early in the morning to milk the cows. Also, as the power supply was produced by the generator in the dairy, the lights tended to dim by eight o'clock.

Late one night I woke to hear heavy rain on the metal roof and the sound of adults moving about the house. Getting up to investigate I discovered my grandmother and other family members distributing pots and pans throughout the house to catch the drips of rain invading the house via the roof. I was told that there was a cyclone and the rain and strong winds, which I now noticed, would continue for some time.

There was really nothing that the family could do except congregate on the front verandah and watch the storm. I had never experienced anything like it before. At one stage the wind was so strong that the rain did not touch the ground. To test what was happening my father went down the verandah steps, took a few steps into the garden, and crouching down did not get wet.

Eventually the wind and rain stopped and a calm descended on the farm. However we were warned that this was the eye of the storm passing over us and eventually the wind and rain returned with a vengeance before passing on. During the storm all the adults remained calm so I was just interested in seeing what would happen next. There was certainly no way that I was going back to bed.

By now it was early morning. Once the rain had stopped the pots and pans were removed, emptied and returned to their cupboard. It was time to investigate the damage left by the storm. Apart from some fallen trees and the telegraph line being down the most dramatic event was that one of the large water tanks had been blown off its stand and relocated some distance from its original site. The water tank was now lying on its side and it appeared very large to us children. Not surprisingly everything was very wet and muddy and no doubt there would have been some flooding near the creek. However the damage could have been much worse.

In the general scheme of things it was not as large as the cyclones that impact northern Australia each summer. However, for those of us who had never experienced anything like it before, it was an exciting and dramatic night.

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