Oral Histories

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Interviewer: Sue Rosen

Length: 10,560 words

Date: April 1992

Arthur Parkes came to Richmond in 1934 and took up dairy farming at Clarendon and later at Cornwallis. He has a great deal of in-depth knowledge of the area and how the Hawkesbury has responded to flooding and changes in the catchment.

"One of the main things that had a big effect on the river, which very few people realize, is the increase in average rainfall. When we came here, the average rainfall was 28 inches; now it's over 32 inches, and that's rainfall that was taken since 1799 to 1992. 1799 until 1949, the average rainfall here was around about 28 inches; and since then .... That's when the rain really started. It's been raining heavily ever since. In those few years since 1949, until now; we've got more than BOO inches above our average for those ... nearly 50 years, 42 years. That's a hell of a lot of rain, and that's made a big effect on the river. In [the] effect [that] the river can't take it any more. Before that, the river was just .... Well floods were just out of the question. There was a long period free of those floods. There there were no floods for ... one flood in 14 years, I think."

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