Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 11:36
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Take a drive 3 and a half hours south west of Mackay along the Peak Downs Highway and you’ll find yourself in the township of Clermont.





Ludwig Leichhardt was the first European to pass through the Clermont area in 1845, but it was the discovery of gold in 1861 that was responsible for the establishment of the town. The town reserve was proclaimed on 25 March 1864, although a gold field was declared in the area in 1862. Clermont is named after Clermont-Ferrand in France; Clermont-Ferrand was the ancestral home of Oscar de Satge, one of the ?rst European grazier who owned the Wolfang Downs pastoral run.
The town was originally established on low lying ground next to a lagoon or billabong, but flooding was always a problem, with four substantial floods occurring between 1864 and 1896. The greatest flood, in 1916, killed 65 people out of a town population of 1,500 and remains one of Australia's worst natural disasters in terms of life lost. Following the 1916 flood, many of the wooden buildings of the town were moved using steam traction engines to a new townsite on higher ground. A local amateur photographer, George Pullar took numerous photographs of the moving buildings, published in the 1980s as "A Shifting Town".





Theresa Creek Post Office opened by 1863, was replaced by Coppermines Post Office at the end of 1863 and Clermont Post Office in 1864.
Copper was discovered soon after. In the 1880s up to 4000 Chinese people were resident in Clermont, mining for gold and copper. This led to racial riots and the Chinese were removed from the region in 1888.
The railway was extended north from Emerald to Clermont in February 1884. However, no passenger trains are available to or from Clermont.
Like most regional communities Clermont has history. The town was founded in 1862 on the banks of Hood’s Lagoon after the discovery of Gold in the Region.
In 1916 the town was struck by one of the worst floods in Australian history, destroying the towns business hub and taking the lives of 65 people.
Gordon Cumming Pullar a local businessman from the region amassed a portfolio of glass-plate images that document Clermont and its people. Many of these images thankfully survived the floods and record in detail the devastation along with events that followed.
In 1917 the decision was made to move the few surviving hotels and stores to higher ground. This is why Clermont is often referred to as “the town that moved” or the “shifting town”.




Only a few of the buildings that were moved still stand today. Among the buildings that remain is the Commercial hotel pictured above. The images above show the Hotels being winched by a traction engine to new locations.



Residents of the central Queensland town of Clermont remember the devastating floods of 1916 that claimed the lives of more than 65 people.

Link to ABC reportLINK


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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 12:56

Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 12:56
Doug - Interesting story and pics, thanks for your effort. It's surprising how easy shifting buildings and structures is, once you've worked out the method.

I used to own a house in a small country town in the SE Wheatbelt of W.A. that came from Kalgoorlie.
In the early 1920's, a lot of houses were shifted out of Kalgoorlie, because gold mining was in a slump, but agriculture was booming.

However, these houses weren't transported holus-bolus - they were dismantled to the last piece of timber, loaded on drays pulled by camels, mostly - then taken to the wheatbelt and completely re-assembled!

I only found out the history of my house when I pulled some of the pressed-tin sheeting off a wall to do some repairs - and found two layers of wallpaper, on the INSIDE of the pressed tin!
The pressed-tin panels had been re-assembled in reverse, with the clean, new tin from the original inside face, facing the room!

I shifted a 20,000 gallon (90,000 litre) concrete water tank for a farmer client once.
The tank was positioned alongside a bore that had gone dry. A new bore fitted with windmill had been installed about a mile away (1.6kms), and the farmer asked if it was possible that I could try to shift the tank for him, as it was now located in a useless position.

I rounded up two big logs by cutting down a couple of sizeable nearby whitegums, and then slipped the corner of the Cat D6C dozer blade under the tank.
A gentle lift with the blade saw the tank come far enough off the ground to roll the two logs under it.
We were concerned about the floor falling out of the tank, but it stayed in place, with not even a crack.

I lowered the tank back down onto the logs, and then hooked the logs to the dozer with heavy chains and dragged the logs and tank the 1.6kms steadily to the new location.
I'd already prepared a new pad for the tank with the dozer, and I dragged the tank onto the pad, unhooked the chains, then lifted the tank again with the blade to remove the logs.
Before the tank was lowered to the ground, we had to do a little shovel work to level out the log drag marks across the pad.
Once that was done, the tank was lowered down onto the pad using the corner of the blade again, and voila! - job completed with 100% success!

The farmer said the savings in shifting the tank were substantial as compared to building a new concrete tank on the new site.
We didn't know before we started, if it was going to work - but the way he saw it, it was worth a try - and if the tank crumbled in the attempt, it was no loss, as he could no longer utilise it where it had stood.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 13:01

Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 13:01
Interesting story Ron, thanks

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Reply By: Gramps - Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 17:26

Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 17:26
Doug,

Billy Sing was born at Clermont in 1886.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 17:40

Sunday, Jun 22, 2014 at 17:40
Most interesting, thank you Gramps.

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Reply By: Nomad Navara - Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 18:10

Monday, Jun 23, 2014 at 18:10
More great reading. Thanks again Doug
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