Down The Mall, December 2

APT: This sign outside Pat Sheehan's Rising Sun Hotel has caused quite a bit of mirth. One patron has already quipped about changing doctors.

APT: This sign outside Pat Sheehan's Rising Sun Hotel has caused quite a bit of mirth. One patron has already quipped about changing doctors.

As you batten down the hatches and tie floaties onto your pets this weekend, always remember: the sunny day after two days of heavy rain is usually called Monday.

Bendigo is no stranger to heavy, damaging and sometimes fatal floods. We tend to forget that our city is built in a sort of bowl from which the only significant drain point is the poor old Bendigo Creek.

Down The Mall has found our history to be peppered with the “worst floods on record” every few years during the early gold rushes, and we had some huge events early last century as well.

Among the years with “worst floods on record” for Bendigo are: 1852 (we’d had just a bit of a year of recorded history at that point), 1860, 1878, 1902, 1909, 1916, 1933, 1949 … you get the picture.

Before the Bendigo Creek was lined with stone and brick – as it is now – tonnes of mine sludge used to be swept northwards through Epsom and Huntly, damaging crops, houses and livestock and even claiming lives. 

But the true flood of all floods appears to have taken place in November 1949. A graphic news article published in papers around Australia described it: “…like a tidal wave through the city centre …  40 blinding flashes of blue lightning every minute … the city was isolated for hours as three-feet of swirling floodwater, littered with timber and debris smashed through the main shopping centre … trams and buses abandoned.”

A railway worker died when he was swept down the raging Long Gully. And a lake formed as far as the eye could see, flooding Epsom and Huntly. We hope we are all high dry by Monday.

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With so much construction and roadworks going on around Bendigo in recent weeks, we could borrow that line from a tourist visiting Sydney: “It should be a nice place when it’s finished.”

But the detours and delays aren’t without their lighter moments, such as the roadworks sign outside Pat Sheehan’s Rising Sun Hotel: RISING SUN PRIMARY CARE ONLY

It prompted one of Pat’s mates to comment: “We’ve always seen our family GP, but I think we’ll change to Dr Pat.”