Home' The Loxton News : The Loxton News Contents 6 -- The Loxton News, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
OTHER SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The unfolding story of last week's local fires
was played out front and centre via social
It proved an extremely useful tool via the
official fire and emergency services pages to
provide up-to-date advice.
However, for every warning there was an
exaggerated story or rumour being spread;
blurring the line between fact and fiction.
It seems that there are some people who
relish the drama, enjoying the hype and
But to what purpose?
It's only natural that firefighters are frus-
trated that information -- which was simply
untrue -- was reported as fact. They have
enough to deal with on top of fielding queries
based on misinformation -- reports which were
started off with "a friend of a friend of mine
In this day and age, where most people
have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram ac-
count, we have become all too hungry to hear
the news in the moment.
A photo or story that has been shared
numerous times tends to turn into an online
game of Chinese whispers -- details changing
and exaggerating every time it is repeated.
A fire is dangerous enough, the rumour mill
just adds fuel to the flames.
Our excellent services
Iwould like to take this opportunity to
thank the Loxton ambulance service,
(Kerry and Jenni in particular), two good
Samaritans who stopped to help, and the
Loxton Hospital (Dr Andrew Searles, Tracy,
Sandy, Trevor and Pam) for their care after
my recent push bike fall on Paruna Road.
We are so fortunate to still have these
excellent services available in Loxton -- let's
not take them for granted.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask
SAHealth to please provide a working X-ray
machine to our hospital, so that people don't
have to endure the drive to Berri and back
when they are in pain.
I'm also very grateful to the doctor who
was my riding partner that day.
How lucky are we to have air-condi-
tioners, running water, Ambulance, fire
brigades, the SES and a full river -- all
compared to our ancestors who moved here
nearly 120 years ago.
Below is excerpts from the first edition
of Bourke History, compiled by the Bourke
Historical Society, reference is made to the
heatwave of 1896.
I am reprinting extracts of this article for
the benefit of those who have not already
seen it. This certainly outlines the severity
of the heat in those early days.
January, 1896, was one of the hottest
months on record in Bourke's history.
New Year's Day was relatively cool, 98
degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 degrees celsius).
The temperature climbed daily to 118 (47.8
degrees) on January 6, slowly descended to
108.5 (42.5) by the 10th, rose daily to a peak
of 119 (48.3) on the 14th and remained over
115 (46.1) with one day's exception until the
25th, when it dropped to 91 (32.8).
The daily average between the 12th and
25th of that ill fated month was 116.6 (47.7)
and it was 118 (47.8) or higher on eight of
the 14 days.
During the period 47 people died, 41 from
heat exhaustion. The town and district popu-
lation in those days was 3000.
From the article it appears that the heat-
wave effected all eastern states and on one
day during the period, it was 108.6 (42.6).
The terrific heat at Bourke in 1896 made
almost daily headlines in The Sydney
Some of these reports are as follows:
• 17/1/96: 115.5 (46.4). Six Deaths. The
highest in any one day. "Terrible heat at
Bourke. 22 deaths since Sunday. Continuous
heat day and night. Residents worn out...
and their poor horses are dropping from
sunstroke and birds are falling dead from
• 20/1/96: 114 (45.6C). Three deaths.
"A total of 27 deaths from heat at Bourke.
Railway Commissioner reduces train fares"
and reports "Great satisfaction is expressed
at the commissioner's action in cheapening
the railway fares, thus allowing poor people
to get away. The opportunity is certain to be
largely availed of."
• 21/1/96: 118 (47.8). One death. "Exodus
of residents by excursion train -- large num-
bers left by train this morning and the cheap
excursion train which leaves tomorrow will
be largely availed of".
• 22/1/96: 118 (47.8). Reports: "Almost
all business, except in hotels, was practically
suspended and the hospital is so crowded
that five extra beds have been ordered".
Fettlers changed working hours and now
work from 4am to 1pm to avoid the heat.
• 24/1/96: 115.5 (46.4). Reports: "At 5pm
a heavy duststorm came in from the south
west and four points of rain fell. At 9.50pm.
a report wired from Bourke states 'Now
raining steadily. We are all out in it, nobody
cares to be inside, actually delighting in get-
ting a soaking, to the skin. The temperature
is down to 75 (23.9). The peoples' gratitude
knows no bounds'".
So we can see that we are really not so
badly off after all.
However, we are all hoping for that dust
or rain storm that will give us some relief
The article reports that the highest temper-
ature ever recorded in NSW was on January
3, 1909, at Bourke and was 125 (51.7).
How would you have liked to have lived
"Our editor, Lester Carmichael, tells me
he can remember the 1938 heatwave when
above century temperatures forced some
residents to sleep in Central Park. I believe
the temperature during that time did not fall
below 100 degrees; day or night for about
These temperature are backed up by
Farina's telegraph office with similar tem-
peratures in January, 1896
There were 20 days straight of over 100
(37.8), with a maximum of 114.3 (45.7).
Inside the police station cell, temperatures
reached 148 (64.4) on many of those days.
Also noted there were four deaths in
Farina in January, 1896, related to heatstroke
with a population of over 70 people.
In Adelaide it also reached 111.2 (44) on
January 23, 1896.
This was the same year my great grand-
father Alf J Loxton left Beltana with three
drays and his huge family, arriving in Teale
Flat and then taking up land in Moorook at
A time prior to this, when Ben Chaffey
Junior, then aged approximately 12-years-
old (born in 1876) and James Cudmore, of
the Paringa Run, both nearly lost their lives
while droving dying sheep to the river from
Cudmore assumed the temperature got to
125 (51.7) in the shade and 175 (79.44) in
the sun. They even saw magpies fall from
trees, dead from the heat. Brian Loxton
Hot weather memories
The highest maximum temperature for
Adelaide was recorded on January 12,
I recall my parents and grandparents dis-
cussing that day.
Some elderly people and babies did not
survive (I was 8 months old).
There was no air conditioning -- only the
affluent had refrigerators -- and insufficient
ice was available for ice boxes. The 'ice
men' delivered in those days, using tongs to
carry the large blocks of ice.
People wrapped themselves in wet towels,
'cool safes' used wet hessian for evaporative
cooling, and one can only imagine what the
few public swimming pools must have been
like. The bushfires in January, 1939, were
-- of course -- horrific.
Fast forward to January, 1982, when I was
on a gliding holiday at Waikerie.
There was a day when the maximum tem-
perature in Adelaide was 44 degrees and 46
degrees in Waikerie.
I was flying a single-seat sailplane and
entered a 'monster thermal' which carried
me to 14,000 or 15,000 feet.
The freezing level that day was at 15,000
feet. It took me a long time to descend and
land back at the club rooms with a 'monster
A glider pilot from overseas became lost
on that day, outlanded near Loxton.
They were found under a bush in a very
serious condition and admitted to Waikerie
Hospital for at least a week, and nearly per-
ished, but survived.
Alan D. Paterson
Close the gap
In last week's letters to the editor, The
Loxton News published a letter from
Viv Forbes (Rosedale, Queensland) claim-
ing that scientists have got it wrong about
atmospheric carbon dioxide and its role in
In his opening paragraph Mr Forbes
claims that despite CO2 levels rising over
the last 17 years, global temperatures have
not risen. Thus 'climatists' are wrong (I
think he means climatologists).
He then goes on to give his opinion about
the role of water for nine or so paragraphs,
which he claims are 'proven theories'.
After reading the first paragraph I was
thinking that Mr Forbes was one of the many
people misinformed about climate change.
Upon further reading I became suspicious
that he was not misinformed, but rather
So I googled him, and found: "Mr Viv
Forbes has 40 years experience in the
coal industry and currently acts as direc-
tor at Stanmore Coal and is a Fellow of
the Australian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy. He is also the chairman of the
Carbon Sense Coalition, which was created
to "defend the role of carbon on earth and
in the atmosphere", and whose committee is
filled with representatives from mining and
In an effort to be concise I will not waste
words debunking the arguments of Forbes,
nor will I expose some of his more outra-
geous claims -- it should be clear to readers
that he has a vested interest in being a cli-
mate skeptic and opposing climate action.
Or it would've been clear if The Loxton
News had done a cursory search and declared
I will instead focus on why his letter to the
editor is dangerous.
This letter is one of the communication
tools strategically used by opponents of
climate action to erode public support for
Its aim is to position climate change as a
theory and not a fact. And it works.
In a 2012 poll, Australians were asked
what percentage of climate scientists agree
on human-caused global warming, the aver-
age answer was 58 per cent.
The reality is that there is a 97 per cent
consensus within the field.
A stark contrast to the perceived consen-
sus. This presents us with a psychological
barrier to climate action and policy as it
reduces public support.
We need to close this gap.Marcus Eldridge
letters to the editor Letters to the editor should be brief, preferably no more than 200 words, must be
signed and include name and address for publication. A telephone number must
be included for verification. The deadline for letters is 5pm on Monday.
FROM OUR FILES
40 years ago
Wednesday, January 23, 1974
Plans are being prepared for a comprehensive
domiciliary care scheme to operate from the Loxton
Suggestions about a proposal to run a ferry
between Loxton and Katarapko Island are being
sought by the Loxton Community Centre.
30 years ago
Wednesday, January 25, 1984
The cost of providing a water supply to the next
stage of the Loxton West housing development,
which consists of 54 residential allotments, has
been estimated to be $150,360.
Control of golden dodder, now a declared para-
site pest plant in the Riverland, will become com-
pulsory under a programme to be launched at the
field days in February.
20 years ago
Wednesday, January 26, 1994
Farmers have been urged to secure their seed
storage and tidy sheds and yards to prevent a
mouse plague this year.
The Riverland Tourist Association has rejected
merger proposals with the Murray Bridge based
Murray Lands Tourist Association.
10 years ago
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Intense lobbying from the Loxton community has
resulted in the provision of Telstra ADSL broadband
internet service to the town.
A planning "hiccup" has pushed back the comple-
tion date of the Loxton High School's latest redevel-
FROM THE BIBLE...
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be
ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
-- 1 Peter 4:16 (NIV Bible)
the years go by...
by Peter and Carla Magarey
Once the pride and joy of the Taplan EFS. In 1962, the Taplan EFS (Emergency
Fire Service) purchased this early 1940s ex-army, Ford Blitz as the unit's first fire
truck. It cost $500. The unit had been founded in 1956 and the local community
had to raise money to pay for the truck and all equipment. Before this, local Doug
Harvey loaned his truck, a 'jail bar' Ford V8 truck, to carry four 44 gallon (200L)
drums of water to the fires. Doug had purchased that truck and Teusner's Store
from Paul Jaeschke in 1956. Taplan's first fire shed was built in 1963. In 1977
the old Blitz, which was "a cow of a thing to drive", was replaced by an ex-ETSA
1957 4x4 International truck that carried 2400 litres water and this in succession,
in 1992, with a Hino that could carry 3400 litres. A new shed was needed to
house the Hino. A brand-new Hino, the unit's fourth and current appliance, was
purchased in June, 2007. Ron Jachmann has captained the unit since 1986 when
Harold Zacher retired and moved into Loxton.
-- Lance Pech photo
The Loxton News Pty Ltd (ABN 65 007 646 004)
54 East Terrace, Loxton.
Postal: PO Box 352, Loxton SA 5333
Telephone: 8584 7271
Fax: 8584 7547
News Editor ............ Emma Walter
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