Jo’s floating house makes for a historic tune

Jo Tempelman has written a song about the great Gympie flood of 1893.
Jo Tempelman has written a song about the great Gympie flood of 1893. Contributed

A HOUSE being swept down the muddy waters of the Mary River was not a rare sight during the great flood in February 1893.

Jo Tempelman was so fascinated by what happened to her great-grandfather's home during that flood that she decided to write a song about it.

The Gympie Music Muster song-writing competition seemed like the perfect way to share her family's history.

Mrs Tempelman was flicking through the pages of her mother's history books on the Gambling family when she came across an article from The Gympie Times about her great-grandfather Joshua Gambling.

The story recounted by Joshua's granddaughter, Alice Sanders, told of the family home being swept down the river before catching on flood debris in Queens Park.

So the story goes, all the pots and pans and cups and saucers were untouched in their cupboards.

Once floodwaters had subsided, teams of bullocks dragged the house back up the hill.

"I found the story so interesting and thought writing a song about it would be a fun way to honour the family and share some of our history," Mrs Tempelman said.

Her great-grandfather's house had a small Devonshire tea shop on the road out front where they would serve cakes and scones baked by his youngest daughter, Elsie May.

The tea shop became a regular meeting place for the farmers travelling in to Gympie from Goomboorian.

The flood of 1893 remains to be the highest flood on record, reaching a peak of 25.45m.

An article from the Gympie Times in February 1893 recounts the extent of damage caused by the rampant floodwaters.

"At times, houses could be seen going down the river, as many as five being counted on one occasion floating along with the current," the article read.

This is the first time Mrs Tempelman has entered the Gympie Music Muster song-writing competition, and while she would love to win the first place prize of a trip to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, more than anything she just hopes that people will enjoy hearing about her family's tale from the flood.

You can listen to Jo's song, The Mary River Mud, on YouTube by following the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR1-oD0lFco.

Gympie Times

Topics:  flood gympie muster 2013 mary river

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