Large and respectful crowds gathered and returned servicemen turned out in force for the 48th observance of Anzac Day at Port Macquarie on Thursday last, when sincere and silent moments of commemoration marked Australia's great national day.
More than 300 returned men joined in an impressive march along Horton Street to the Soldiers Memorial; early in the day their numbers exceeded 100 as they marched in the pre-dawn from the RSL Club to the memorial.
Thunder-head clouds, full of rain, rose off the sea as the pre-dawn marchers moved out in ranks towards the Soldiers' Memorial on Horton Street. Only the slightest sprinkle occurred, however, and the day dawned fine and clear.
The car lights of late-comers alternating in two directions stabbed the darkness as the returned men and the few civilians gathered stood in humble silence whilst a wreath was laid.
Worst ever flood
Days of constant, heavy rain, followed by a devastating cyclonic downpour, gave all parts of the Hastings Valley its worst flood on record, the Wilson and Maria River area suffering as never before.
Meanwhile, the seaboard at Port Macquarie and in the Camden Haven areas of North Haven and Dunbogan had their worst-ever drenching on Sunday morning on top of the flood rains and most of the homes in Dunbogan and at North Haven had water in them.
Wrights Creek, at Port Macquarie, running into the heart of the town from the Lighthouse, became a raging torrent after three and a half inches of rain fell in less than a two-hour period on Sunday morning and water entered several homes along its banks.
The weather cleared with unbelievable suddenness after the stormy burst off the sea on Sunday morning; by midday the sky was clear, and it became apparent that there was no further danger.
However, although those affected by the floodwaters had experienced the peak of it soon after midday on Sunday, they still had to face the return of a bigger tide (5 ft 6 in) at night.
This impeded the getaway, but there were no further rises in the record heights already established that day.
In the wake of the big flood, damage has also been greater than ever and many people, especially along the river banks, in business and in private homes, have suffered severely.
Stock owners, and dairy farmers all through the valley, have been heavy losers.
The village of Hibbard was a sorry sight on Sunday. New and old homes alike, along with new business premises, were all flooded, some inundated.
While people toiled to salvage what they could, the rushing waters carried away stock worth thousands of pounds, also pigs, poultry and the like, and much fixed property.
The district had previously been well soaked and was more or less saturated after four inches (416 points) on Friday and Friday night.
Flood warnings were issued throughout Saturday as the rains intensified and in 24 hours on that day nearly one foot of rain fell (1174 points).
Then came the weather's best performance of all with 316 points recorded between 9am and 11am on Sunday.