TERRIFIC HAILSTORM AND HURRICANE IN THE DUBBO DISTRICT.
(A LETTER FROM M. JEAN EMILE SERISIER)
RESPECTING the storm which recently passed over the Dubbo district, and the effect of which the Dubbo Dispatch described “as if a destroying angel had passed along blighting and tearing up everything in its course”. The following extract from a letter, from Mr. J. E. Serisier, J.P. of Eumalga, will convey some idea of its terrific character:
“Saturday morning, Yesterday, at about 3 p.m. we were visited by a hailstorm, which threatened to carry us all from the face of the earth. Big trees rooted up, sheets of galvanised iron flying about in every quarter; our very farm bell did not escape. The dam, dry as it was, became in a flooded state in less than twenty minutes. The hills on both sides of the vineyard were literally covered with snow, the hailstones lying so thickly on the ground. One of the men and I had to go to the rescue of one of the horses which was harnessed in a loaded dray, and it was all we could do to save his life. Of course, we ourselves were very much bruised. The new cellars have a tale to tell – saddle sheets and shingles have been carried away, nearly all our panes of glass have been shattered. There were about 100 head of cattle around the place, and when the storm commenced, they went off perfectly maddened, jumping or knocking themselves against fences. It was truly a most terrible sight. My vineyard, which promised me a yield of, at least, 1500 gallons, has seriously suffered. At noon that very day it had been declared perfect, consequently closed up from the requirements of any further labour till vintage. Not a weed was to be seen; the vines were loaded with fruit, and the whole of that mass of foliage was a most refreshing sight, admired by everyone, and at a distance looked as level over its stakes as a billiard table. No trouble nor expense had been spared to render it a model of viticulture, but alas, by 3 p.m. it was suddenly changed into a gloomy sight of devastation. However, owing to the naturally sheltered situation of the vineyard, if the weather does not become too hot, I shall certainly save half the crop. At one time the raging storm threatened to root up the vines from the stakes to the stump. Imagine my feelings – but the vineyard well braved the gale, thanks also to my system of low training and good staking. Of course, the foliage much destroyed and mutilated, the hall showed like lumps of ice, were the size of walnuts, and laid there on the adjoining ridges, covering every vestige of vegetation. Sheep were killed, cockatoos knocked off dead from their perches, and the bark of trees battered as if by grape shot, fences knocked down in every direction. No language can adequately convey the description of this frightful hurricane, which came from the south-west. As the storm came from that quarter, my fruit saved is on the east and, north side of stakes. I am afraid many of my neighbours must have sustained serious loss.