This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
Any additional information, via Comments, is welcomed.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The flow of time

As the rains come tumbling down, people's thoughts turn to the river.
This piece is from the Dimboola Courier: 

The first natural flow in the Wimmera River since 2012 flowed past Antwerp earlier this week and had progressed northwards to a point beyond the Tarranyurk bridge by Friday evening 12th August.

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority said the natural flow peaked at 468 megalitres a day at Lochiel.
Prior to this event the river had dried up to the point where it was just a series of stagnant waterholes linked by stretches of dry riverbed with only the weir pools at Dimboola and Jeparit holding any significant quantities of water in the lower reaches of the river.

The old Antwerp Weir in April 2016 (Dimboola Courier)
The weir, August 2016 (Dimboola Courier)
The only man made structure on the river between the Antwerp and Tarranyurk road bridges is the old Antwerp weir (pictured above) which was constructed of timber and stone in 1903 to create a more permanent body of water for the local community. The weir pool became the venue for the annual Antwerp rowing regattas in the following years.
It is unclear when it was no longer required and fell into disrepair, but a significant amount of the structure still remains.

Proposals were put forward in the early years of last century to construct a similar structure near Tarranyurk to provide a water supply for that area but this never built.

This series of photographs were taken in the vicinity of the Antwerp weir both this week and back in April and they highlight this structure in the dry and with the water flowing. 

The weir in 1903 (SLV)
The historical photograph, taken in 1903, compares with the one below, taken recently from a similar location to show the changes over the last century. The most obvious being the regrowth of trees around the weir itself.
The Antwerp weir in August 2016 (Dimboola Courier)
The water arrived at Jeparit a day later, and will now flow into Lake Hindmarsh. The last inflow into the lake was as a result of the 2011 floods.
The Jeparit Weir, August 2016 (Dimboola Courier)
The last time that the lake itself flooded was in August 1956. At Jeparit, the Wimmera River rose and forced Lake Hindmarsh to burst its bank near Four Mile, when the inflow overwhelmed the ability of Outlet Creek to cope with the huge volume, and was further  compounded by the wind and waves forcing the water towards the south. Hundreds of acres of wheat crops were affected, several roads were cut, two families were forced from their homes and 30 others were threatened.
The old Jeparit road bridge in 1956, from the north bank (L. Hounsel)
The historic photograph shows the water up to the corbels of the old road bridge over the Wimmera River.The photo below shows the struts and pilings visible below the corbels.
The old Jeparit road bridge in November 2007, from the south bank

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