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River tragedy

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of event Natural Disaster


Town or locality River Light

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Floodings have been common, but before the 1890s there is little on record. The 1889 flood has been referred always as the 'big flood' and by all accounts this appears to have been so.

A mother and daughter were drowned just east of Two Wells in the 1889 flood. Two boys, one from the family of Rowe and the other from the Whiting family, were lost from a private footbridge crossing near the home, 'Burnside.' When the river was in flood and not knowing its depth, a Church of England minister, Mr Tetherington, attempted to cross the ford and was washed away.Near the end of the 19th century the Wasley boys, great cricket enthusiasts, hurrying home for a cricket match, drove their horses that were hitched to a tip dray into the river. They swam across the rushing stream and just as the leaders touched the bank the shafter gave up and his weight plus the dray dragged them back. The boys dived repeatedly, cutting the harness, but to no avail, the three horses were lost. Alec Moody who lived approximately a mile north of the river on a fairly high rise had a well with a windmill midway between his house and the river. In the big 1889 flood he saw the water from the overflow of the river creeping over the flat so he quickly ran down to shut off the mill. While there, he saw a great wall of water sweeping toward him so he hurriedly climbed to the platform on top of the mill and the rushing torrent became deeper. Mallala people had come to watch the flood and were on the high rise that continued from Mr Moody's house. Among them was Arthur Wellington, a Methodist minister. He was a very strong 6 ft 2 in. man and a champion all-round athlete. They could see the windmill rocking and shuddering and realised Mr Moody's plight. Arthur Wellington asked the young men to gallop back to Mallala and fetch all the rope they could find. Others rushed to nearby farms for ropes. As they returned, Arthur had almost stripped, the rope was tied around his waist and he plunged into the flood. The men played out the rope as he went downstream to reach the mill. Alec Moody climbed down and the men gradually pulled them the quarter of a mile back to safety. Soon after, the mill disappeared.


  • Temby Letter - Mallala Museum
  • Life around the Light: A history of the Mallala District Council area compiled by Two Wells. Mallala and District History Book Committee. Community Development Board of the Council District of Mallala. (Mallala. S. Aust.) 1985.
Light River floods at Korunye 1
Light River floods at Korunye 1
Light River floods at Korunye 2
Light River floods at Korunye 2
Light River floods at Korunye 4
Light River floods at Korunye 4
Light River floods at Korunye 3
Light River floods at Korunye 3

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