Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Brisbane Floods of 1893.


From The Brisbane Courier, 6 February 1893.
The unprecedented floods from which this   part of the colony is at present suffering have, since last publication, reached the magnitude of a widespread calamity. A number of lives have been lost ; hundreds of persons have been deprived of their homes and of the whole of their little possessions, and the loss of merchantable goods cannot at present be estimated. At the  time of writing we are able only to give an outline of the chief occurrences of the past   forty-eight hours in Brisbane, but there is sufficient to show that the flood is one altogether without parallel since the settlement of the Brisbane district. Not until roads again become passable will it be possible to form anything like an exact idea of the mischief wrought. Brisbane was last night without communication by road, rail, or telegraph with any of the outlying districts, as indeed it has been since Friday night, so that the facts pro- curable were simply those relating to the immediate vicinity of the capital. Last night the water was between 11ft, and 12ft. above the flood mark of 1890 ; but in spite of local rain the water slowly receded from 9 o'clock.
From about midnight on Saturday until yesterday evening very little rain fell, and it was generally hoped that fine weather would set in for a time at all events ; but by sunset last evening steady rain again began, and the night as it fell over the city was perhaps the most gloomy that has yet been experienced. No gas had been available since an early hour on Saturday night, and though some lamps in Queen and George streets were lit by Messrs. Barton, White, and Co. from electricity generated at the Government Printing Office, this served to light but a small portion of the inundated streets.  
Every effort is being made to supply the  immediate needs of the suburban residents driven from their homes, and while many in various districts were accommodated in empty houses, shelter and relief were also afforded at the Town Hill and other public places. Police and Defence Force men worked hard to save life and minimise, where possible, the destruction wrought, and many young men, members of athletic clubs and football and cricket teams, worked with a will, plying in boats the whole of Saturday night from point to point where help was needed.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Capitão's log: The Intense

What's the most intense, mind-shaking film you've seen? (Aside from I am Curious: Beige, of course). I'm thinking here of films that leave you thinking about it afterwards - rather than those that merely shock, or épater le bourgeois, as the French would have it.

I'm sure there's several I could name if I thought about it (which I haven't): but let me instead cite two Ive seen recently.

The first is Punishment Park, an extraordinary film  made by Peter Watkins in 1971, using amateur actors in a way that makes Ken Loach look like a Fabian. Its a dystopian drama set in Vietnam war era US, which is extremely effective at getting ordinary people to act out a 'side' in a very divisive time (essentially cops and officials v detainees suspected of radicalism). The involvement of the film crew late in the piece kinda blew my mind, actually - at certain points it looked as though the "cops" were going to biff the film crew.

The other is Hard Candy: an ultimate revenge fantasy film to do with creepy internet stalkers and grooming.
Yikes! What a gripper.

Got any recommendations for an old seaborne web diarist?