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BURTUNDY WEIR

on the

DARLING RIVER

1941-1983

42 years of observations by Len Hippisley of Tulney Point via Wentworth 

Complied by Joe Murray 2002

51 pages

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Download PDF file (2.76MB)

Poet and observer: Len Hippisley is a contributor to our knowledge about a system which we are increasingly putting under pressure - the Murray Darling network.

Such meticulous record keeping at Burtundy Weir over 42 years helps to build a picture of the changes in the Darling River , and these records are especially valuable because they include the period of construction of the levees for the Menindee Lakes Storage System and give a comparison of the river's behaviour before and after this event.

Future generations will have a useful research tool in these records, thanks to Len and to Joe Murray who, realising this, compiled this publication from Len's original notebooks.

Below is a sample of the full records contained in the PDF file :-

----------------------

1940 February
The Darling River at Burtundy stops running [dry] until the 26th March 1940
October
The Darling again dry... a earth wall or weir 1'6",.450m high was constructed on the exposed rock bed at Burtundy Rocks to allow for water to pool up-river for the survival of Tulney Point, a river block owned by the Hippisley family on which irrigated citrus was being grown. Tulney Point is on the west side of the river and within sight downstream on the eastern side is Burtundy another river block. Burtundy was the local Post Office in these days. This first attempt to control the river flow at this point worked well enough, but as it was only an earth wall, therefore as soon as the river flowed again it was washed away.

1942

April

4

starts to flow @ 4.15 a.m. 1 p.m. reading

2' 9"

0.838m

1942

April

15

 

+

9' 4"

2.845m

 

 

30

 

-

5' 2"

1.575m

 

May

1

 

-

4' 11"

1.480m

 

 

15

 

-

2' 4

0.724m

 

 

30

 

-

1' 6"

0.470m

 

June

1

 

-

1' 5

0.445m

 

 

15

 

-

1' 0"

0.305m

 

 

30

 

+

2' 6"

0.762m

 

July

1

peak flow

+

2' 6"

0.775m

 

 

15

 

-

1' 6"

0.470m

 

 

30

 

+

2' 11 "

0.888m

 

August

1

 

+

4' 3"

1.295m

 

 

15

 

+

13' 6"

4.114m

 

 

30

 

+

16' 7"

5.040m

 

September

1

peak flow

+

16' 8"

5.052m

 

 

15

 

-

13' 7'

4.140m

 

 

30

 

-

7' 10"

2.388m

 

October

1

 

-

7' 6"

2.286m

 

 

15

 

-

4' l "

1.425m

 

 

30

 

-

1' 8"

0.502m

 

November

1

 

-

1' 6"

0.457m

 

 

15

 

-

1' 1

0.030m

 

 

30

 

+

11' 5"

3.480m

 

December

2

 

+

12' 0"

3.607m

 

 

15

peak flow

+

13' 4"

4.013m

 

 

30

 

-

11' 7"

3.531m

It was during late 1942 or early 1943 while there was a good flow in the river that Max Anderson of R.M.Anderson's sawmills of Mildura, was bringing down a barge load of mill logs towed behind the Rothbury. [ Andersons sawmills was located on the land that is now the rowing club lawns.]. Negotiating the bend at Tulney Point required much skill as it is a very tight bend. Earlier on the way up-stream the water suction pipes for irrigation were struck and flattened, needing to be replaced. So the barge heavily laden, with a swift river under her would have been a river-mans nightmare. The barge hit the rocks opposite the house at Tulney Point. A plank on the barge was sprung and it sank mid-stream down from the house, about halfway to the weir which was under about ten feet or three meters of water. The steering wheel of the barge [approx 5' in diameter] was just clear of the water and a crawler tractor was on logs on the barge. There was a frantic rush by the towing boat to reach Mildura and it returned bringing another barge with cables and gear to assist in the re-floating of the sunken barge. The first thing they attempted was to remove the tractor and transfer as many logs as possible onto the floating barge. A problem that was encountered was that of the river sands which had been washed out from under the stern of the barge allowing it to sink deeper in the river. The steering wheel was now almost under water, and the shifting sands had built up around the bow. A heavy cable was placed under and around the barge, and with many pulleys and much cable to three tractors, and the winch off the Rothbury which had been swung ashore they were able to move it to the shore, and expose the sprung plank for repairs. It had been a very difficult job for the captains Bill Collins and Max Anderson and their crew and helpers.


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