In the archives: Severe storm hits Upper Lurg

By Benalla Ensign

1970 - Long train passes through

The long, long east-west freight train - intended to be the first to cross the continent from Sydney to Perth without stopping at state borders for gauge changes, passed non-stop through Benalla.

Half a mile of train with two diesels, pulling their absolute maximum tonnage, strained as it went over a rise, headed for Albury, and, eventually, Perth.

It carried everything from steel to cornflakes. People gazed in wonder at the "huge steel snake".

Also in The Ensign this week in 1970:

● Benalla swimming club took part in its first Pennant event.

● Ken Foster celebrated his 21st birthday with friends and family in Mansfield.

● Water allocations for Broken River and Broken Creek landholders were "plentiful".

● Dennys offered "frocks and suits" for $9 each.

1995 - Farmers hurting

Upper Lurg farmers experienced further devastating rainfall and flooding in a severe storm that passed over the area between 5.30 pm and 6.30 pm last Tuesday evening.

Various rainfall figures were received from local sources, with one farmer registering 94 mm in the hour. Eric Ramage recorded 60 mm in the same period, while David Elder also recorded 60 mm. The rains seem to have been dumped on a small localised area, with properties only short distances away recording between 9 mm and 15 mm.

Benalla, just 20 km away, received 1.8 mm on Tuesday evening after a dumping of more than 26 mm the night before.

David Elder, who has been farming in the area for 30 years, said the rains were the heaviest he had ever encountered.

The October ’93 floods on his property did not do as much damage as Tuesday’s rain.

The laundry in his house had water running through it and David’s task was to make sure that the furniture in the house was on high ground.

The new surfacing that was put in the drives has all been washed away and numerous fences were demolished by the force of the water and the debris.

Also in The Ensign this week in 1995:

● The proposed new $5.5 million sports and recreation centre was given the tick of approval by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

● Monica Murray and Neville Johnson welcomed their second child, Lisa Maree on January 17.

● Benalla cyclist Baden Cooke took home gold at the Victorian Country Track Championships.

2010 - Super fish

FCJ College student Tom Houston has qualified for this year’s national swimming championships after posting impressive personal best times at the Victorian Age Championships.

The 17-year-old, who swims for Shepparton under the tuition of head coach Willy O’Callaghan, posted personal best times in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, qualifying for open and age national competitions in both events.

The Australian Swimming Championships and the Australia Age Championships are to be held in Sydney, in March and April respectively.

Tom Houston

Houston said he was pleased to have shaved 3.2 seconds off his personal best in the 100m breaststroke, as well as lowering his 200m time by almost 10 seconds, and that the results had required dedication.

“I do 10 sessions a week in the pool, with two or three in the gym: probably a bit more homework could get done,” he joked.

“I think I’m handling it all right.

“I’m working pretty bloody hard at the minute.”

Houston said at this stage he was intending to swim at national championships he had qualified for and was looking forward to the open event in particular.

“The open doubles as the Commonwealth Games qualifier,” he said, describing the prospect of competing with Australia’s best swimmers as "surreal".

The youth has a more immediate goal, however, with the Victorian Country Championships coming up this week, where he is rated a realistic chance of bringing home silverware.

“For the age 100m, there’s another kid on about the same times as me, so I could get a medal there,” he said.

Also in The Ensign this week in 1995:

● Former Benalla student Luke Phersson helped Monash University to victory in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Australasia Championships months earlier. `

● Karli Cox and Mark McKenzie welcomed the arrival of Talon Joseph Mackenzie on January 11.

● Alexandra Quinlan swapped Violet Town for Holstebro, Denmark as she began her year-long Rotary Scholarship.