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KOPUAWHARA CLOUDBURST
MAHIA PENINSULA, HAWKES BAY
FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY 1938

During the night of Friday the 18 February 1938, a cloudburst turned the Kopuawhara Stream into a raging torrent. This normally gentle stream ran right beside the No. 4 Public Works Railway Construction Camp on the Mahia Peninsula, between Wairoa and Gisborne.

The torrent hit the single mens camp first and many lives were lost as the flood waters, bringing giant logs, rocks and bridge timbers, hurled into the camp destroying the tents and flimsy huts.

Many cases of heroism were noted with many camp members vainly trying to save their friends. In all 21 lost their lives, including a waitress from the camp cookhouse.

These names were taken from the Auckland Weekly News articles on the flooding.

AULD William 55 Single Napier
BARBARICH George 32 Single Brother in Marton
BARCLAY David 56 Single Auckland
CLARK Frederick I C 31 Single Father - Gisborne
DAVIS George Henry 49 Married Returned soldier
DOUGLAS R 28 Single Gisborne
DUNN William 64 Married Christchurch - Camp Sergeant
FOUNTAIN Frederick George 25 Single Uncle at Te Puke
FRY Frank W 51 Married Gisborne
HALFORD Ron E 22 Single Family at Woodville
HALL Thomas 35 Single Gisborne
JOHNSTON Robert 40 Single Wairoa
KELIHER John 51 Single Wellington
MARTINAC Ivan 31 Single Uncle at Palmerston North
McGIRVEN (McGIVEN) Edward 28 Single Gisborne
PENDER John 40 Married Wife at 22a Halsey Dr, Mt Roskill, Auckland
QUINN Martha Miss 22 Single Waitress - parents in Gisborne
SLOAN Hugh - Single Recently arrived from Ireland
SMITH Ted E 37 Single C/o J H Smith, Patutahi, Gisborne
TRACEY Tom 44 Married Wife and child at Wairoa
WAAKA William 25 Single Mohaka

The following were some of the survivors that were mentioned in articles at the time;

BLAIR R
CAMERON Harold Jnr (17)
CAMERON Harold Mrs
CAMERON Harold Snr
CAMERON Joan (5)
CASTLES Tom
CRONIN Jim
GILBERD R
HAMPDEN "Buff"
HOGGARD Mervyn
McCORQUDALE Hugh
McLEAN George
NUGENT Marion Miss
TRAINOR H
WILSON Florence Miss
YEO F

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