Rising water breached about 35 homes and businesses in Clunes yesterday, but not before the tiny community threw the book at floods called the worst in living memory.Evacuation of homes along Creswick Creek as well as the caravan park began at dawn, with senior citizens and others taking shelter at a relief centre in the Clunes Health Service.A main street sandbagging operation got underway early, with dozens of locals from teenagers to grandparents working hard to protect Fraser Street shops and residences.By 9am the creek was a raging torrent at least 100 metres wide, blanketing parkland and streets with muddy water, and appearing to rise rapidly.It was all a repeat of floods that happened less than four months ago, only much worse.Greg and Shirley Downes stood in Camp Street and watched the flood rage through the town, their house around the corner under a metre of water."I've lived here all my life and I have never seen anything like this," Mr Downes, 85, said.Mrs Downes choked back tears. "We put everything we could up high but this is heartbreaking."The couple were instructed to depart their home at 6am.By 10am they were ordered to leave the immediate area by the CFA because the road was becoming unstable.Kevin Steart, of nearby Camp Pde, said he recorded 112mm of rain in the 12 hours to 8am."I haven't seen that much rain in a long time," Mr Steart, 75, said."We have had 11 years of drought then just boom, this happens."By mid-morning the CFA was using a truck-mounted PA system to clear the Fraser Street shopping strip."We've heard there's a wall of water coming down from Creswick," one officer said."Water has breached St Georges Lake and is headed this way."Trucks carrying sand backed up the road in front of the IGA supermarket before dropping their load. Utes carrying empty hessian bags and shovels appeared and sand bagging took on a new urgency. Brian and Jeanette Hislop, Clunes residents for 21 years, had their car packed with bedding, electrical equipment, DVDs and a computer hard-drive.They had left their Fraser Street house at 9 am. "We were busy sandbagging the place but to no avail," Mr Hislop, 70, said."When we bought here 21 years ago I was assured there was no chance of us being flooded out."Mrs Hislop said water was covering their lounge room and kitchen floor by the time they evacuated.But shortly after midday, the town known as Booktown for its annual secondhand books bonanza, had seen the worst.The expected "wall of water" never eventuated. Water levels had begun to drop. The sun was out, the air sticky with humidity. And a dozen kids and adults were chucking a tennis ball to each other in shallows in front of the local garage.