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 Taifa 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.