Variations in the Weather as I can Remember.

Originally written by Percy James Carseldine about 1962

My first recollection of note was in  November 1897 when we experienced a terrific thunderstorm which broke about four o’clock  in the afternoon.  We had just got home from school when it broke. The lightning was terrific; quite a number of trees struck in the district. An ironbark in the middle of the paddock was split from top to bottom; the old manse next to the station house was struck and set on fire, but the fire was quickly put out; a hole knocked in the  shingle roof of the Presbyterian Church; a horse of Snellman’s (between the two railway bridges) was killed and a dog of Brown’s  nearby was knocked silly. Just 12 months later to the week and  at the same  time a  similar  storm broke but  no damage was done.

The last three months of 1900 were dry and the weather broke with some heavy showers  about  January  22nd,  the day after Queen Victoria died; then on Monday January 29th a terrific hailstorm broke.  Twenty four panes of glass were broken in our windows and a very cold night followed.  That storm broke the weather for that season, and we had good weather until the end of August. From then started the big drought of 1902; a drought that Henry Lamond, in a radio broadcast a few years ago referred to as the daddy of them all. Here from August 1901 to October 1902 we only had about one  storm, the week before Easter 1902 yielding about 60 points (15 mm.). In the western parts of the state, it was much worse.

The 1902 drought broke with a terrific hailstorm, about 2 a.m.  one morning about mid-October.  It was very heavy between here and Zillmere. I think it was a Tuesday morning and Billy Lang told me that there was hail on the side of the road this side  of the Red Hill (Beams Road. ed.) on the following Saturday morning. That was followed by a series of storms the following month. I think about 20 days in succession we had storms. But after the end of November, we had no more until the end of January. I remember after the first rain my Father planted a patch of corn on the flat. He got a good strike but, there being no moisture in the subsoil, when it came into tassel, just when it needed the rain, not a cob formed on it and we had to cut it for the cattle. During the 1902 drought most of the dairymen, on  the average, lost 50%  of their herds. Of course, there was no irrigation, the internal combustion engine was in its infancy and there was no electricity. Also, the dairying industry wasn’t on the footing it is now. Bald Hills wasn’t in the City milk zone and butter was about 6 pence (5 cents. ed.)  a pound (0.45 kg. ed.).  Feuerriegel’s put a hand pump on a well that they had dug to irrigate a patch of corn and the family had to take it in turns to man the pump. During that drought quite a number resorted to prickly pear feeding, there being quite a lot of it growing down on the Pocket (Greenwood’s).

1903 was an exceptionally good season; a  lush growth of pasture and only  half the cattle to eat it.  We had good weather from then on to February 1905. From then, on December 7th the weather broke with the heaviest rainstorm I ever remember. Over 7 inches (178 mm. ed.) fell in two hours at Nundah. Little girl Stewart whose father was electrician at Nudgee College, was drowned on her way home from school from Nudgee railway station to the college.

We had good weather from then on until July 1907. From July to November was dry but the weather broke with a heavy storm. I think it was the first Saturday in November, the day Aunt Louis   (Louise Protheroe, P.J’s Mother’s youngest sister Ed.)was married. It was good weather from then on to the following August. In March 1908 we had heavy rain and flooding. A young policeman was drowned in Bowen Park opposite the hospital trying to get some horses out. We had good weather that year until the end of August, but a very cold winter.  That was the winter when   Cousin Arthur Protheroe (Rob’s brother) and Jenny Raymont died within a fortnight of each other with double pneumonia.

The summer continued very dry that year until about the middle of April 1909 and when the weather broke then it was followed by a very cold winter and good weather through the rest of the year. That was the year I finished my apprenticeship and on August 17th (Roy Neville’s birthday) I went to work in Warwick.  At Christmas time I came home for a few days and on the Friday Night (Christmas Eve) as the train pulled into Laidley it started to rain and it never let up until Monday afternoon. A particularly good year followed. Early in September good storms broke the weather (I went  to work  in Nambour  in the August)  and  good  weather  continued  right  through  into  the next winter (1911). In March that year we had a lot of rain; for several Fridays in succession Petrie Creek (Nambour. ed.) came down a banker and on 25th March the Yongala [1]  was lost in a cyclone between Mackay and Townsville.

A fairly cold winter that year and it was dry from Easter until the end of September.  A good weeks rain then but nothing to follow up and with the exception of a couple of storms in the beginning of February it was dry until the end of February. In those days they used to hold races on the Deagon Racecourse, and it was a recognized fact that if they had races at Deagon it would be a wet day. That year it was race day at Deagon on the first Saturday in March and it turned out a pouring rainy day.  The next day, Sunday it continued raining followed by good weather to the end of winter. At the Exhibition that year, Fanny (P. J’s fiancée, Francis Matilda Hamilton later married. Ed.) and I had an interesting experience.  We got there early and picked a seat at the ringside to watch the ring events.  At about 11.30 heavy showers started to work up from the South East.  When the rain started, everybody ran for shelter in the horse stalls.  But we didn’t want to lose our ringside seat, so we stood on the seat under Fanny’s umbrella. We were the last to leave and when we had to leave the crowd gave us a great cheer.

We had no further rain then until near the end of October, just when I bought our Northgate house. Then we had a good break in the weather, and it continued on until the following July (1913. ed.).  There were heavy showers the day we  came back  from our  honeymoon (March 1913. ed.).  It was dry from then on to the following September when we had some good rain for a week but nothing to follow it up. It was dry until about February 20th (1914. ed.) with the exception of a couple of good storms in January.  We had fair weather from then until the beginning of November though no soaking rain but it was dry until about the beginning of May.

1915 was a dry year; a couple of severe storms in November one of them  flattened a new windmill that my  father had only erected about three weeks before. The drought broke the last week in February

1916 with a with a hot muggy showery week and a very heavy rainstorm on the Saturday evening. It was a good season for 12 months until March 31st, 1917. The weather took up then and we had a very dry winter with one storm on the 31st July. I had cleaned the tank out at the end of March, and we had a water shortage. I had to get a permit from the Water Board to carry water from Hufschmid’s (neighbour’s at Northgate. ed.). In September the weather broke with good showers and storms and after a very dry winter I never saw  such a growth  of mushrooms as there were that spring.

The weather continued good until   the following winter (1918. ed.). It was then dry until after the signing of the armistice on 11th November 1918. We had a good storm after that but there was no more until the first Sunday in March (1919.ed.) when we had light rain and then on into the winter. The rest of the year was very dry, and the country was hard hit.  The weather broke with good rain between Christmas and New Year until the end of January (1920.ed.). There was no rain from then until the beginning of May. The weather was then good until after we took over the old home on 1st October 1920 and continued until the beginning of December.[2] It was dry then until the beginning of March (1921.ed.). During February that year we had a terrific plague of fleas. We had a very wet winter that year and the weather was good up to March the next year (1922.  ed.). In February 1922 I built the silo.

March, April and the first three weeks of May were dry, but we had nice rain from May 21st. I had my ground ready and I had some excellent crops of barley, wheat, and rye that year.  November and December, we had good storms but after that the weather was dry until July 1923. Some nice showers in July but none to back it up till a few storms in November. The underground water in the well was very low that year.  A good storm on January 31st (1924.ed.) was followed by good rain and it was a good year on to December which month was dry.  On February 11th about 8 o’clock at night we had a heavy storm when three cows were struck by lightning and killed.

1925 produced good rain till August; September and October were dry but good rain in November and December. In May 1925 I bought our first car, a Model T Ford.  1926 good rain in January but extraordinarily little after that till December – it was a bad year for feed. From the middle of December to the middle of April (1927.ed.)  we had a lot of rain. The last week in January we had five days flood over the flat.  From the middle of April to the middle of September extraordinarily little rain – it was a bad winter. The weather broke towards the end of September and we had good weather until the following September (1928.). In February that year I bought the milk run (1928). During March I waited for a fine morning to mow the lucerne, but before the day was over, we had rain on it. I went down every day for a month to turn it over after showers (so it would dry. ed.) and then at the end of the month a flood washed it all down the river.

From September to the middle of January (1929.ed.) it was dry.  The weather broke about the middle of January and we had good weather on to October 1929.  It was dry from then to the end of January 1930.  From then to 30th June, we had a lot of rain. The Council had a repair gang on the Sandgate Road but so much time was lost with wet weather they took them off about June 30th and we had no rain until the end of January.  January 31st, we had   the first showers and the following Thursday 1931 (February. ed.) we had a record flood in the Pine River.

Billy Erke had to row over George’s grapes to get them out the house and take them across Bald Hills Creek to Hatcher’s (P.J. C’s. brother George. W. Carseldine who had a vineyard between Bald Hills Creek and Pine River on what was then known as The Pocket or Wyampa. ed.).

The weather was good until about the end of August. It was dry until the beginning of November when we had good rain for a couple of months but 1932 was a fairly dry year. The first part of 1933 wasn’t too much rain but in August that year we had a good rain and we had three very good years running, up to the middle of 1936.

In September 1933 I bought the 70 acre paddock from Herman Feuerriegel. From June 1936 to January 1937, it was very dry. That was the time I converted the Ford car into a milk truck.  From February until September, we had good weather. September and October were dry but good storms broke the weather in the end of October and we had good weather on to the following September (1938.ed.). I sold the milk run in August that year. It was dry until January 1939 and we had good rain up until September. In October after the 2nd World War broke out, we had good rain up to June 1941. From then until the end of January 1942 it was very dry, and it cost me a lot for feed. The end of January the weather broke, and I had one of my best years. Joe [3]and Pat were married in August that year.

I got the milking machines in in 1943 (February) and from then till September it was very dry.  The weather broke in September and we had good weather through until the end of 1944.  From December to February 1945, it was dry but good weather until the end of 1945. It was dry then until the end of 1946. Harold and Marj[4]. were married in February that year. Fair showers from then until June; very dry winter and particularly heavy frosty winter. On 5th July the bathroom tap was frozen, the only time I remember it being frozen. Very little rain until the end of January 1947. We then had three months of almost continuous rain. The weather continued fair for the rest of the year as also 1948.

It was very dry in January 1949 the month my sister Alice[5] died. We good rain fell in February and we had good weather for the rest of the year. 1950 was a very wet year throughout.  Charlie, one of my plow horses that I had bought in 1934 for £4-10-0 ($9.00. ed.) died in April. I bought a new horse, Paddy, form  Frank Gohdes, Nundah, on the day before Anzac Day, and it  was October before I was able to get onto the ground  to try the horse out.  It was very wet on till March 1951. That was the year Joe built the dairy refrigerator. The weather took up then and it was very dry for the rest  of the year. That year Hughie[6] was married on September 1st and Vern[7] on December 22nd. We flew down to Sydney for Vern’s wedding.

On the first Sunday in December someone put a match in the 70 acre paddock, and it burnt right off and I was very short of feed. The weather didn’t break until February (1952.ed.) but then on it was good weather until the end of October.  For September and October my milk cheques were the biggest that I ever got. In that year 1952 my sister Laura[8] died. From October to January 23rd, it was very dry. At Christmas time I had arranged with Joe, when he came down in January 26th for the long weekend, we would put the rings in the well[9]. On Friday it was very heavy rain and I thought putting the rings in  would be off, but the  subsoil was dry and the water wasn’t up to the top of the sandstone, so we were able to get the job done. All the boys were able to come and help. On Monday Lal Linnett and Gwen[10] called, and Lal helped me clean out the well. A crescent spanner that I thought that I had lost 22 years previously in the cultivation we found in the well (1953.ed.) and I am still using it.

The weather was good from then onto about October when it was dry until Christmas.  On December 16th I had a blackout while milking one evening.  It gave all the family a fright. The doctor said that I should have a holiday, so we arranged to go to ‘Mayfield’ Guest House, Montville from January 9th to 19th 1954. The day we came home it was raining and we had good weather right up to the week before I sold the herd on November 23rd, 1954. Joe had gone to Port Moresby in May 1953 and Pat and the kiddies were staying with us when I had the blackout and she was a great help to  us.  Rob Protheroe came and helped out while we were at Montville.

The weather was dry from the time of our sale until the end of January (1955.ed.)  when we had good rains for some time.  During the month of May we were in Port Moresby for a holiday with Joe and Pat and while we were away it was very wet here. The rest of the year was particularly good. 1956 was a very wet year; over 71 inches (1803 mm. ed.) for the year.

Written by Percy James Carseldine (1889 – 1964) about 1962.

Edited by A. J. Carseldine June 1991 for explanatory purposes, and to clarify the chronology.

Foot notes added by Peter R. Carseldine, December 2020.

Foot Notes

[1] The passenger ship SS Yongala sank off Cape Bowling Green, Queensland, Australia on 23 March 1911. En route from Melbourne to Cairns she steamed into a cyclone and sank south of Townsville.

[2] P.J.C took over ‘Fairfield,’ the family dairy farm after his father died earlier that year.

[3] Andrew Joseph, P. J. C’s eldest son, married Eva Patricia King.

[4] Harold Edward, P. J. C’s second’s son married Marjorie Barton.

[5] P. J. C’s eldest sister Alice Louise (eldest child of Joseph and Agnus Carseldine) married to William Neville.

[6] Hughie James (P. J. C’s youngest son) married Edna Colquhoun.

[7] Vernon Wallace Hector (P. J. C’s third son) married Margaret Nutt.

[8] P. J. C’s second eldest sister Laura May ( third child of Joseph and Agnus Carseldine) married John Fredric Duffield.

[9] From the time the well was dug by P. J. C’s father, the top soil earth was retained with split timber slabs. These became rotten so they were removed and were replaced with 1.5 metre concrete rings.

[10] Gwen Linnett was a daughter of Percival and Ethel (Nee Carseldine) Williams, P, J, C’s third sister and fifth child of Joseph and Agnus Carseldine.

Cows killed when tree was struck by lightning in 1935