BULAHDELAH HILL CLIMB ON TOMORROW


The ‘practice’ Bulahdelah Hill Climb is on tomorrow just north of Bulahdelah on the Old Pacific Highway (Wootton Way) at Wootton. The event is being organised by the Myall Lakes Motor Sports Club – based at Tea Gardens I believe.

The actual championship event at Bulahdelah will be held during September (2nd) 2009 at the same venue.

http://www.hillclimbnsw.com/

AUSTRALIA: FLOOD DISASTER IN QUEENSLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES AND THE NORTHERN TERRITORY


With bushfires still raging in Victoria, New South Wales has now become a state burdened with a natural disaster. Queensland has been flood-stricken for weeks and now Darwin in the Northern Territory is also expecting flooding.

Some 62% of Queensland is now affected by flooding following weeks of torrential rain, caused by an active monsoonal trough and a cyclone. Some areas are expected to be flooded for weeks.

In New South Wales the north-western town of Bourke has received 2/3 of its annual rainfall in the space of 15 hours on the weekend and has now been declared a natural disaster area, with major flooding in and around the town.

Coastal New South Wales has been inundated since the weekend, with some towns having received their highest amount of rainfall in a five day period for over 35 years. Coffs Harbour has received well over 600 mm in the same period.

Bellingen and Thora are now surrounded by flood waters and a number of rivers up and down the New South Wales coast between Tweed Heads and the Hunter are now in flood or on flood watch, including the Tweed River, the Richmond River, the Wilsons River, the Bellinger River, the Macleay River, the Hastings River, the Manning River, the Orara River, the Nambucca River, the Williams River, the Paterson River, the Hunter River and the Myall River.

Towns affected by flooding include such centres as Bellingen, Wauchope, Port Macquarie and Bulahdelah.

To add to the growing flood threat, another trough and east coast low is developing off the New South Wales Coast and this is also expected to follow the previous system, bringing with it more heavy rain. Heavy rain from this new system is already falling on the north coast.

As these systems move further south toward bushfire ravaged Victoria, they are weakening and the potential for rain is lessening. So far Victoria has received very little rain and bushfires continue to burn.

Further off the Queensland coast there is a tropical depression that is making its way towards the Queensland coast. This could yet develop into a tropical cyclone and bring even more severe weather to Queensland.

In the Northern Territory several towns have been evacuated due to the heavy rain and flooding. Darwin also has a current flood threat warning in place.

Flood waters are now beginning to spill over the South Australian border, making their way towards Lake Eyre.

AUSTRALIA: NEW SOUTH WALES – The Deluge Set to Return


The deluge is set to return to the New South Wales coast tonight and tomorrow, with plenty of heavy rain on the way according to the latest forecasts. Predictions are for more flash flooding and flooding.

Rivers around about the place are already swollen and quite a number are in flood. The Myall River at Bulahdelah is still in flood, with water all about the place around here. More rain is set to produce more flooding almost immediately.

AUSTRALIA: NEW SOUTH WALES AWASH – Flooding


The severe weather that has moved south from Queensland into New South Wales in the form of an active monsoonal trough has now developed into an East Coast Low of the New South Wales North Coast. This system is bringing a lot of rain and flooding along the Mid-North coast and Great Lakes region.

There has been some flooding near Bellingen and Gloucester, and also some flooding around Bulahdelah where I live. There has been no let up in the rain since Friday night. Previous to this we had but 12 mm of rain for the whole of 2009 to this point. I have heard that there has been over 10 inches this weekend, which is roughly 250 mm.

Minor Flooding is being experienced along the Bellinger River above Thora and near Bellingen. Moderate to Major flooding is expected along the Williams and Paterson Rivers in the Hunter region, with Minor flooding along the Hunter River in the Hunter Region. Minor flooding is also taking place along the Gloucester River.

From what I have heard in Bulahdelah, there is localised flooding along tributaries of the Myall River and in Bulahdelah itself, with water covering the main street.

Flooding is also occurring in the north-west of New South Wales, with Bourke receiving record amounts of rain.

BUSHFIRE SEASON HAS STARTED


The bushfire season is off and running in New South Wales, Australia. There have already been several fires in my region of the Mid North Coast.

On Saturday there was a fire just south of Bulahdelah that closed the Pacific Highway for two hours. From what I understand the fire is thought to have begun by a discarded cigarette thrown from a car travelling on the highway.

The fire started at about 3.30 pm and as the fire intensified cars were seen travelling on the wrong side of the highway in a bid to keep clear of the fire. With the thick smoke about this was not the best move to make.

Another fire was burning off the highway near the Karuah Bridge on Monday, again producing thick smoke.

With the massive amount of growth in the bush over the last couple of wet growth seasons, the fuel load is now massive and fuel reduction burns have been limited. With temperatures already peaking in the low thirties (Celsius), the season ahead looks grim.

THE HEAT IS ON … Spring has Arrived


It was only a very short while ago that my region of New South Wales (in Australia – Bulahdelah to Tea Gardens) was in the grip of its coldest winter in many years. In fact last weekend the region was in the middle of an east coast low that brought cold temperatures, torrential rain and gale force winds, resulting in flooding around the lower areas of Bulahdelah, as well as some wind damage with fallen trees, etc. Exactly a week on and the surrounding rivers are still to return to their pre-flood levels, yet we are basking in summer-like conditions, with the temperature today expected to be in the high 20s or even perhaps 30 degrees Celsius. Last week the temperature was in the low to mid teens.

What a strange time spring is with such fluctuating weather conditions. The rain is expected to return tomorrow, however, this will be on the back of the season’s first thunderstorms if the predictions turn out to be true. Certainly the ‘feel’ today is that thunderstorms arriving this afternoon would be the expectation.

With the arrival of spring comes the expectation of bushfires in the near future. Last season we had a fairly negligible bushfire season, with plenty of wet weather. However, the drought has continued to bite across most of south-eastern Australia and conditions are right for a particularly bad bushfire season, with massive loads of material just waiting to be burnt in the Australian bush. Coastal regions have had plenty of rain, but not too far inland the country remains gripped by drought and perilously low water supplies.

For now though, we are welcoming the arrival of spring and the retreat of what has been the coldest winter for many years.

BULAHDELAH PIONEER AND CALVINIST


My Fourth Great Grand Uncle, Thomas Blanch, was born on the 4th December 1809 in Rolvenden, Kent, England. He died on the 3rd July 1892 at Bulahdelah, NSW, Australia. He was the second child and son of my Fifth Great Grandfather, Edward Blanch (1785-1860) and Fifth Great Grandmother Maria Blanch nee Ashdown (1789-1837).

Thomas Blanch was nothing special in vocational terms, being a simple labourer. He was literate and a Calvinist (thereby being a spiritual ancestor of mine so to speak).

On the 24th April 1830 in Rolvenden he married Hannah Austin, who was born on the 30th November 1815, Rolvenden. Hannah was the daughter of John Austin and Ann Austin nee Moon. Hannah died on the 8th July 1879 in Newcastle. Together they had 17 children.

There was a major economic depression in England during the 1820’s and this was a determining factor in the Blanch family decision to emigrate to Australia in 1837. On the 25th March 1838, Thomas Blanch with his family and three brothers left for Australia from Gravesend aboard the ‘Westminster.’

On the 26th June 1838 the ‘Westminster’ reached Sydney, following a voyage in which Hannah had given birth to a fifth child, David. The previous children were Jane, Thomas, John Thomas and Caroline. Following David would come Joseph, Eliza, Sarah Ann, Harriet, Emma, Amelia, Peter George, Isabella, Emily, Stephen, Mary Ann and Hannah Maria.

Thomas was a carpenter, farm labourer and wheelwright. He had been sponsored to come to Australia by J. B. Bettington of Sydney at a salary of 28 pounds per annum. However, it seems he never actually worked for Bettington, rather becoming an employee for George Mosman at his Raymond Terrace property known as ‘Burrowl.’ He was to work on this property for some twenty years. He also worked as a mailman between Raymond Terrace and Dungog.

In 1858 Thomas selected a forty five acre parcel of land on the Myall River where Bulahdelah now stands and where I currently live. He built a hotel here known as the ‘Plough Inn.’ The inn was first licensed in 1866. In June 1871 his son Joseph was given the inn. In May 1872 Thomas took up ‘The Forster Hotel’ license at Forster which he owned until 1878.

Thomas and Hannah then retired to Newcastle and lived at The Junction. Sadly Hannah died the following year on the 8th July 1879, aged 64. Hannah was buried in the cemetery at the Newcastle Cathedral.

Following the death of his wife, Thomas returned to Bulahdelah and on the 24th July 1880, he married Elizabeth Stanborough (nee Morris), who was born in 1835. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Morris. Elizabeth died in East Maitland on the 11th August 1889. They had no children together, though Elizabeth had six children to her late husband, Frederick Stanborough (who had died in 1876).

Following the death of Elizabeth, Thomas lived for a further three years at Bulahdelah with his son Joseph. On the 3rd July 1892, Thomas died and was buried in the Bulahdelah Cemetery. He was 82 years old. A stained glass window was placed in the Anglican Church in his memory. The Anglican Church at Bulahdelah had been built on land that Thomas had donated.

Headstone of the Grave of Thomas Blanch in Bulahdelah Cemetery

Headstone of the Grave of Thomas Blanch in Bulahdelah Cemetery

Back in Bulahdelah


It has now been about 3 1/2 months since my car accident and I continue to improve and recuperate. I am now back at Bulahdelah and return to work on Tuesday.

There is still some pain in my right shoulder, left wrist and right knee from time to time, along with considerable weakness in my right shoulder. Still, it is greay to be back in Bulahdelah and getting ready to go back to work.

I have a different cabin to the last one, along with a spare bunk or two for anyone wanting to pop in for a while – just let me know if you are coming :-)