Colonist 2 February 1858
(From the Spectator of January 23.)
THE FLOODS AT THE HUTT.
In our last we gave such details of the disastrous flood which had occurred at the Hutt as had reached us, we now furnish the following particulars which we believe may be relied upon, as being substantially correct. The number of bodies at present actually recovered is nine, namely,— Mrs. Stanway (sic) and two children, one 4 years old and the other 6 years; Mr. Sollars, his wife and child; Mrs. Hegan and infant, and; Mrs. Price; the – other persons known to be missing are the husband of Mr. (sic) Stanway, and three more of his children, who were all seen to be washed away together. The particular locality where this fearful loss of life occurred was near the “Barley Mow Inn,” at the Upper Valley of the Hutt. When the flood was at its highest about one o”clock, a.m., Tuesday morning, the force of the water at this point is described by an eye-witness as having, been terrific. The water was seen rushing along like an immense wave, crashing and roaring, and carrying everything before it; huge trees, portions of buildings, timber, furniture, and debris of every description, were borne away by the force of the current. To witness the havoc and destruction which the flood has caused is most painful and baffles all description. Many acres of land which only a few hours before to all appearance promised a plentiful crop, are now covered with sand and shingle, and not a particle of vegetation remains. The quantities of drift timber, in many instances large solid trees, which have been deposited by the flood is perfectly incredible, and will take many months to remove. The unfortunate persons who have lost their lives by this calamity are mostly late arrivals in the country. Mrs. Hegan (a daughter of Mr. Dew, an old settler at the Hutt) was living in a small wooden building near the first gorge; Mr. Price and a man named Charles Hartley were also residing in the house. Upon seeing the water rise so rapidly some fear was entertained for the safety of the building, and the survivor Hartley proposed to go for a rope to secure the house; when he left the water was up to the window, and the house was actually shaking. He almost immediately lost his footing, and was swimming, with the current for nearly half-a-mile, until he succeeded in getting up a tree, where he remained for 14 hours, until rescued by some passers by on the following day. From the position he occupied he could see everything around him; he states that he soon after saw the house borne away with the current; the inmates Mrs. Hegan (who was only confined that morning) and the nurse Mrs. Price, were climbing on to the roof of the house; they passed by close to where he was in the tree, and he describes the shrieks of the females as fearful; a minute after the house turned over, and nothing more was seen of them. The bodies were recovered about a mile from the spot on Wednesday morning, the infant was found firmly locked in the dying grasp of the mother, the nurse was found close to her, the body was very much mangled. The bodies were removed to the house of Mr. Dew, and an inquest held on them, when a verdict of accidentally drowned was returned. The husband of Mrs. Hegan is absent in the country, and of course is ignorant of the desolation of his home. Mrs. Price, who was much respected, and who arrived in the Ann Wilson, leaves a family of young children behind her; her husband was absent from home at the time. The other family, Mr. Stanway, wife and five children, were all seen together on the roof of their house; the water rose rapidly and submerged the whole of them, and they were seen, to sink one after the other. The blacksmith Sollers with his wife and infant perished in a similar manner; they imagined themselves secure, but the house was borne away with the current, and he was heard by persons on the hills to say “good bye.” The bodies were found mostly together, one, completely buried in the sand. A man and his wife named Smith, living near to Mr. Dew, were saved after remaining on the top of a building for many hours, whilst all around them was borne away. To give-anything like a detailed account of the losses sustained by residents at the Hutt would be impossible, we may however state a few of the most important particulars of individual loss of which we have been informed: — Mr. D. Riddiford has lost about 120 sheep; Mr. Barton has also lost a number of sheep; Mr. Thomas Mason a number of cattle; Mr. Arnott cattle and sheep; Mr. John Leverton has lost entirely 50 acres of crops, and a large number of cattle; Mr. C. Mabey lost a number of sheep, and also a large quantity of fenced and cropped land; Mr. Buckridge, of the Albion Hotel, has had his crops destroyed and the river has taken a course completely through his property; at Mr. Wm. Tandy”s the river now runs through his ground and has destroyed a large amount of property; Mrs. Speedy”s land is completely cut up in all directions by the different channels the rain has made, in many cases large fissures 12 feet deep have been formed; Mr. Still has lost a number of sheep, &c.; Mr. John Russell 10 head of cattle; Mr. Dew, an old settler, estimates his loss at not less than £500; a property which a week ago was worth many hundreds of pounds is now comparatively worthless, five acres of grass land have been completely swept away. A large number of men had volunteered to assist in removing a shingle bed which had been thrown up, and which prevents the river from taking its old channel, and nearly all the residents at the Hutt were endeavouring to contribute either in labour or otherwise to this object. The destruction of the roads between Poad”s public house and the Taitai (sic) is almost incredible, scarcely a vestige remains at some places of the original road; at one place (a bridge near McDonald”s creek) the river runs right through the road, making it very dangerous for passengers at night, the banks descending abruptly to the depth of 15 feet; other dangerous places occur along the whole line of road. The Waiwetu and Second River bridges have both been carried away. It is to be hoped that the Provincial authorities will lose no time in removing the large quantity of drift timber now lying on the roads, and in making it again passable.
(From the Spectator of January 27.)
A public meeting was held at the Hutt Mechanics” Institute, on Tuesday, 26th January, to consider the best steps to be taken under the circumstances. About 200 people were present at one time during the evening, Mr. Braithwaite was in the chair. Great regret was expressed at the non-attendance of any person to represent the Provincial Government. Mr. Ludlam, as one of those who had signed the notice calling the meeting, opened the proceedings by explaining his objects in so doing. The following Resolutions were unanimously carried after considerable discussion.
Moved by Mr. Ludlam, seconded by Mr. Hart,—
That this meeting is of opinion that immediate and energetic action is required in order to repair the serious public danger done by the recent inudation of this Valley, and in order also to guard against the recurrence of the attendant calamities as far as human means can avail.
Moved by Mr. Wakefield, seconded by Mr, Jillett,—
That the following gentlemen be requested to act as a Committee for the purpose of communicating with the Government on the subject,— of obtaining accurate information as to the causes of the damage and means of remedy,— and of collecting subscriptions towards the necessary expenses, viz:— Messrs. Ludlam, Hart, Corbett, Phillips, Wilcock, David Hughey, Lynch, Mason, and Wakefield.
Moved by Mr. Hart, seconded by Mr. Riddiford, —
That the Committee be requested to open a separate Subscription List for the purpose of relieving serious cases of private distress among the sufferers by the recent inudation.
INQUESTS AT THE HUTT.
An inquest was held at Mr. Robert Blade”s the Traveller”s Rest Inn, Taitai (sic), in the Hutt district, on Wednesday, 20th January, by Dr. Buck, Coroner for the Hutt, upon the bodies of Mrs. Hagan and infant son, Mrs. Price their nurse, Charles Sollars, blacksmith, his wife and child, and two children named Fanny and Jane Stanaway, residents on the Upper Hutt, who had been drowned, by the flood on January 18th. It was stated in evidence that on Monday, 18th January, and in consequence of the heavy rains of the previous days, the river rose rapidly and soon overflowed the whole valley, and as the rain continued to fall incessantly during the same day the water rose to an alarming height. The greatest injury was done near the Silver Stream (sic), where the deceased parties resided, the water gradually rising in their houses until they had to betake themselves to the roofs, the current being strong around them, and the ground lower, than where they were situated, their escape was cut off. Charles Hartely, who was residing with Sollars, swam from one house to another, and assisted the immates in getting into (sic) the roof,— and as the water still rose he endeavoured to get them to land by means of a rope, but without success, and was at last obliged to save himself by swimming. The houses were at length carried away. On the roof of one was Mr. Stanaway, a carpenter, his wife and five children, and on the other, Mr. Sollars, blacksmith, his wife and child, Mrs. Hagan, her infant and the nurse, Mrs. Price. The houses were carried down the stream some distance before they broke up, and then all perished. The eight bodies were found on the previous day, January 19th, between Mr. Dew”s and Mr. Dalgetty”s.
An inquest was held at the same place on January 21st, on the body of Mrs. Stanaway, which had been found on the evening of the previous day, January 20th. Verdict, Accidental death by drowning.
The jury at the same time wished to express the high opinion they had of the conduct of Charles Hartley, in his strenuous exertions to save the sufferers at the risk of his life.
Jan. 25.— The body of Richard Stanaway was found this morning, near Mr. Ebden”s, leaving now three bodies unfound, viz., Mr. Stanaway and two more of the children.
Wellington Independent 6 March 1860
TO BE LET OR SOLD
THE PUBLIC HOUSE known by the sign of the “BARLEY MOW,” situated in Stokes Valley, Hutt. The House contains ten rooms, with Garden attached. There is Stabling for six horses, Cow Sheds, Stock Yard, and other Out-Buildings. There are about 45? acres of Land divided into Paddocks, & mostly laid down with artifical grasses.
For further particulars apply to
On the Premises, or to
March 6, 1860
Wellington Independent 1 May 1860
PUBLICANS LICENSES.- March being the General Annual Licensing month the following Licenses have been granted.
George Buck, Taita, Travellers Rest
Robert Buckridge, Hutt, Albion
Robert Jillet, Hutt, Whitewood”s Hotel
John McHardie, Hutt, Highland Home
Robert Wyeth, Hutt, Barley Mow
John Blutchford (sic), Hutt, Aglionby Arms
Wellington Independent 2 November 1869
THE FLOODS AT THE HUTT.
It will no doubt be of interest to compare some facts in Dr. Hector”s abstract of the state of the weather, published in our last issue, with corresponding ones for the Hutt valley. The observations for the latter place were made at the Hutt Grammar School, Taita, by Mr Mantell, who has been kindly supplied with instruments by Dr. Hector for the purpose.
The barometric average for the month of Oct. ranges somewhat higher than that stated for Wellington, being 29.6 as compared with 29.8; but a considerable difference has obtained in the rainfall, for while that for the month, in Wellington, amounted to 10 inches, Mr Mantell”s note book shows no less than 15.96 inches for the same period. From the llth to the 18th the same severe storm from N.W. to S.E. prevailed, with precisely the same amount of rain – 5 inches. By far the heaviest fall at the Hutt took place during the 24 hours from 9.30 a.m. on the 29th, to the same time on the 30th, the rain guage registering the enormous quantity of five inches, four inches having fallen by two o”clock on the morning of the 30th.
One can therefore be little surprised that, although the Hutt river had gone down very considerably since the flood of Sunday and Monday, the 24th and 25th, it rose rapidly on Friday and Saturday, till it rushed through the Lower Hutt with a rapidity that could only be appreciated when seen, submerging the land around to a considerable depth, and threatening every moment to sweep away the bridge in its furious course. Immense logs were frequently dashed against the piles, so that men were constantly employed in disentangling them, and causing them to float away to the bay. The flood reached its greatest height here about noon of Saturday, and by the evening of that day so much earth had been washed away from the foot of the bridge (near Mr Valentine”s Hotel) that fears were entertained of its becoming impassable, which fears, however, have happily not been realised. Large pieces of land, previously contiguous to the river, have disappeared; crops destroyed, and in some cases even the very soil containing them washed away from the subsoil.
At the Upper Hutt the Silver stream became a torrent, and a bridge over the stream near the site of the old Barley Mow Inn being also carried away by the resistless force of the current. Mr Smith”s house was completely surrounded by water. The Wairarapa coach had stopped there to change horses, and to permit the passengers to take refreshments, but so rapid was the rise of the water, that by the time Mr Heik, the driver, was ready to start the bridge was gone, and the travellers, after being detained for twenty-four hours, could not resume their journey without the aid of a canoe, leaving the coach and mails behind. Their imprisonment however was made tolerable by the by the kindness of Mr and Mrs Smith.
The road in this part of the valley has been in many places destroyed, and at the Gorges a slip, said to be over fifty yards in length, has completely blocked up the main road, which compels persons to go round the hill, and so by the track come on to the road near Mr Cotter”s farm.
At the Taita no more damage has been done to the road than was mentioned in our issue of Thursday last, except that the work of repairing has been entirely put a stop to.
It is impossible to give anything like an adequate account of the destruction to private property which has been occasioned by the floods for it would entail the mentioning of the case of every person, for all are, more or less, sufferers.
Evening Post 30 April 1931
YE WAYSIDE INN
WATER REPLACES WHISKY
Recent and old-time flooding in the Hutt Valley was the subject of an interview recently in “The Evening Post” with Mr. A. J. M”Curdy, who incidentally called to mind that the site of the old Barley Mow Hotel, Silverstream, is now monopolised by the Hutt River. And that observation prompted other memories. Mr. McCurdy, stated that in the old days of Wellington-Wairarapa traffic, via Hutt Valley, the chain of hotels in the valley, from north to south, was:—
Golden Fleece, Mrs. Wagg, on rise where the main road runs down to the Pakuratahi River. On right hand side of road, looking south. [The site can still be traced, through cellar pit and remains of foundations. The hotel is mentioned by the Greytown pioneers, who mention it as the last hotel before crossing Riniutaka divide in 1853.]
Mungaroa Hotel, Mrs. Collens, near where the Mungaroa tributary of the Hutt crosses the main road.
UPPER HUTT EIGHTY YEARS AGO.
Shepherd”s Rest, James Brown (senr.), Upper Hutt. Mr. M”Curdy remarked that Mr. James Brown was the father of the late Mr. George Brown, of Upper Hutt, Hutt county councillor. [Mr. Brown and his hotel and Upper Hutt are also mentioned in the Greytown records of 1853.] The hotel was situated in Upper Hutt on the left hand side of the road, looking south; and the site is now occupied by Mr. Cotter”s plumbing premises. The hotel was afterwards known as the Criterion Hotel.
Highland Home, S. M”Hardy (sic), on main road at Wallaceville, near the site of the “Old Blockhouse.” The “Old Blockhouse,” with its loop-holes, is still standing, and a signboard on the main road directs sightseers to this relic of Maori War scares.
Barley Mow, Mr. Wyeth (senr.), the site of which one-time hotel is surveyed, consciously or unconsciously, by every railway passenger who looks upriver as the train swings over Silverstream railway bridge. This hotel used to be on the left-hand side of the road looking south, and the river used to flow west of the hotel and the road. In its” eastward swing the river has taken the place of both hotel and road, and the latter was moved eastward to its present location. Moving the road, said Mr. McCurdy, simply meant laying out a deviation through the paddocks to the east, and it was done so quickly that they discovered years afterwards that the road site at this point had never been properly conveyed. Traveller”s Rest, Mr. _, Taita, left side of main road looking south.
After that, the Lower Hutt hotels awaited the thirsty coach traveller.
A VICTORIOUS RIVER.
“If anyone wishes to locate the Barley Mow site more exactly,” added Mr. McCurdy, “all he has to do is to look up-river as he crosses Silverstream railway bridge, and he will see, a few yards upstream, one little willow tree close to the river channel, but west of it, and quite distinct from the row of willows east of it. This willow springs from an old stump that used to flourish as a tree in the yard of the Barley Mow. The willow was east of the Hutt River until the river decided Otherwise. It will be seen that on the western side there is still a channel in which the Hutt flows when in flood. That channel crosses the toe of a moraine or fan of material carried down from the western hills. On this fan used to be a whare; it has gone where a Hutt flood took it. Another whare, further east, was also carried away by flood.
“It may also be of interest to know that the above-mentioned Highland Home Hotel, Wallaceville, was afterwards called the Railway Hotel. The railway was being built at the time and it was thought that Wallaceville would be the principal station. But the late Hutt county councillor, George Brown, gave the Department of Railways 28 acres of land at Upper Hutt adjacent to the Rhodes estate, and Upper Hutt became the principal station. Land for railway purposes at Silverstream was given by Mr. Todd, and that fact helped to secure a station there. CANOEING IN UPPER HUTT.
“Talking about big floods in the past, would it surprise you to know that on one occasion the Maoris of Maori Bank (no Maoris there now!) came to the Upper Hutt saleyards site in a canoe!”