submitted by Con George (Tzortzo)Poulos on 27.08.2005
Lose Con's truck,....and almost lose their lives - in the Gilgandra flood, 1955.
In 1955, we owned a very large Federation style house on the Western end of Myrtle Street, (the furthest end from the main street - Miller Street), in Gilgandra NSW. It was in the highest part of Gilgandra.
In January 1955, a great deal of rain fell in Gilgandra. Throughout January and February, rain fell consistently. By 23rd February 1955, monsoon rains made it inevitable that Gilgandra's Castlereagh River would overflow its banks and flood the town of Gilgandra.
For a meteorology report of the event see:
The Castlereagh River ran behind the shops in the main street.
I knew that our house was safe from the flood waters - but that many of the other Kytherian houses, which were located two streets back (and parallel to) the river bank, and the main street - would be flooded.
Most Kytherians lived in Morris Street. I invited the other Kytherians in the town to come up and stay with us - during the course of the flood.
I had arranged with George Psaltis that if the flooding became inevitable, I would come and help him; and pick up he and his family, in the truck, to take him to our home.
There came a point when flooding was inevitable.
I went to George's, and together we put as much of his furniture and possessions, up high in his house. We also put some of his possessions onto the truck. I said to George, "Hurry up, George, the flood is not far away."
We kept delaying driving down Morris street, turning left, into Myrtle Street, and then driving to the top of Myrtle Street - to safety. Suddenly the water had risen to half-way up the tyres on the truck.
"Come on George, we have to go now." I got in the truck to start it up, but it would not go. "Too late. Leave the truck. We'll have to run for it."
We ran up Myrtle Street, in front of the flood waters, and escaped, just in time.
Soon after this, I think that the Castlereagh River also broke its banks in the East, through the area where the Park and the Gilgandra Swimming Pool were located. We were lucky not to get "caught" by that secondary onrush of water.
After the flood subsided, we found my truck in a deep hole, on the corner of Morris and Myrtle Street - in the street outside, where the Ambulance Station would later be located.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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