A GREAT ANTIPODEAN ARTESIAN WELL.
THE hero of the Barcaldine artesian well, says The Melbourne Times, which is flowing in the arid centre of Queensland, it is estimated, at the rate of 500,000 gallons of clear, fresh snow water a day,has arrived in Sydney from the scene of his greatest success. J. Longhead, the managing director of the Federal Boring Association, and inventor of the apparatus they use, is a big, blunt man from America, and the coolness of his temperament has been in no way disturbed by striking what he admits to be the biggest artesian well in the world, and in a part of Queensland far removed from any water course and where thousands of stock perished in the last drought. He has flooded Barcaldine in the middle of summer. The water poured out to such an extent that the hydraulic engineer of Queensland endeavored “ to turn it off,” but it was no use ; the glorious picture of a huge volume of water flowing into the air could not be wiped out, and the latest information is that the water is still flowing out without any diminution of pressure or quantity. A lagoon in which cattle wade up to their middle has been formed, and the water has found its way to the Unce river. Hundreds of people have traveled hundreds of miles to witness the extraordinary spectacle. In the natural sequence of events, Mr. Longhead has been feasted in different hotels at Barcaldine, where there are fourteen. At one of these banquets the hydraulic engineer, who arrived eight days after the discovery, stated that he had roughly estimated the supply at 400 gallons per minute, or 576,000 gallons of water per day.
No sign of water—brackish or otherwise—was seen all the way down, and the first intimation of its presence was obtained on Friday evening! 16th December, when the drill suddenly dropped seven feet. Within a few minutes the water ascended the bore, and the memorable deluge of Barcaldine commenced. It rose several feet into the air and then fell away into the form of a large glass dome. Its temperature was then 120° F., but soon afterward receded to 102°, and Mr. Longhead anticipates that it will go down to about 90°. Before the rods were removed the bore was continued to a total depth of 691 feet 9 inches, so as to form a receptacle for any sediment and prevent its interference with the source of supply. The rods were then lifted and some additional casing was put in to preserve the sides of the bore where any weakness had been revealed. To stop the flow in the way first attempted was found impossible, each wooden plug being forced out as often as it was driven into the bore hole. A pipe, seventeen feet long, was then inserted into the bore and carried up to the top of the derrick, which had been used in connection with the boring plant, and over the top of this the stream of water, twelve inches in diameter, has seemingly been allowed to run to waste. The pressure indicated that had the piping been carried a much greater distance into the air the stream would not have reached its natural level. Teamsters who had camped on ground lower than the mouth of the stream were flooded out, and after innumerable water holes had been filled the stream found its way to a creek. The miraculous spectacle of a streafn in a creek which had long been dry and had never been known to receive the overflow of other water courses bewildered people who are not aware of what occurred at Barcaldine, into whose precincts people came to know what was really the matter. Within a few moments of the appearance of the stream the permanent and floating population of Barcaldine and its neighborhood had gathered around the bore, and the intensity of the people’s delight was evinced by their watching the outpour day and night. Everybody tasted the water, and everybody testified to its excellence. It is as clear as crystal ; examination has proved that it contains not the slightest injurious ingredient. Mr. Longhead is of opinion that the supply is inexhaustible and that its soft nature clearly indicates that it originally came from some snowy ranges.