To The Snow - via Tumut
1879 - A JOURNEY IN THE SNOW OF AUSTRALIA.-
As an illustration of the dangers attendant upon oven short journeys undertaken in the Mountain regions of Kiandra, the Adelong and Tumut Times gives the following interesting narration, furnished to that journed by Mr Thomas Bridle, of his adventures when carrying the mails to Kiandra:-
"On Wednesday, tho 11th inst. started for Mr. Harris's place, about nine or ten miles from Kiandra, and two and a half miles down a mountain by the falls of the Tumut River. In this place rain frequently falls when it is snowing half-a-mile higher up the hill.
When I continued my journey in the morning, snow about nine inches deep had fallen during the night, and was still falling. With a pair of snow-shoes, a break-stick, and two mail bags on my back, I trudged up the hill, the snow becoming deeper every few yards, and by the time I got to the top of the range that divides Tumut from the Monaro district.
I was woundering along, sometimes up to my knees, and at others to my armpits in the snow, which varied in depth from three to eight feet according to the ground. Rain had fallen for half a day on the old snow, and softened it suficiently to let a man sink through it before about two additional feet of light, sticky now snow was falling down.
Having climbed the steep hill, I put on my snow shoes, but they sank a foot and clogged greatly, so with great labour I trudged along for two miles, when all at once I fell through into a running creek about six feet under the snow, breaking one of my snow-shoes, I scrambled and scraped my way to the top, and by looking at my watch ascertained that I had been travelling five hours and had only accomplished four miles of my journey. I had six more miles to go, and had only seven hours of daylight to do them in, so I struggled onwards for Kiandra for an hour and a half, and found that I had only advanced a mile. I could calculate this by the telegraph posts, thirty of which go to a mile. The sun had now broken through the clouds, and 1 could see the hill on which Kiandra stands.
I wished I had started, back when I broke my snow-shoe, but I was getting tired and hungry, and I knew I could not got out of the snow, having gum-boots on, so I thought that by making for the river I would be able to proceed more quickly through the water.
On reaching the stream I got along very well for a few hundred yards, though the water was covered with a layer of new snow, and I could not see the bottom; but all at once I dropped into a hole up to my neck. I got out, emptied my gum-boots, and carefully felt my way along a little further, when the water became completely bridged over with snow, and I had to leave it and struggle through the snow, which by this time began to got a crust on it. A freezing wind was blowing, the ice hanging to my clothes and whiskers made me heavy, and I became exhausted and could not make sufficient exertion to keep myself warm when I tried too hard I got crumps in the thigh joints. I know that to lie and rest on the snow would ensure death by freezing, and my only idea was that when 1 could go no further I would burrow a hole under the snow to got out of the frosty wind.
However, by gutting on two or three yards at a snell pace, I finally to reach Mr, Alfred Harris's place, about a mile from Kiandra, and he did all in his power to relieve me. I could not got my socks off without his assistance, and he got a bucket of ice and water, to boil my feet with, and prevent their being frost-bitten. He certainly saved my life, as he has done the lives of several others. I was thirteen hours and a half in the snow, and two men had perished in the same place within the last two years," - (Ref- Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)(about) Previous issue Tuesday 9 September 1879). - Ref- Squatters Runs