Check your Rainfall history

Photograph of flooded Flemington racecourse, 1971What's the wettest year you can remember?
When were the droughts and how did they compare with recent years?

From Climate Data Online, (See left menu: Weather & climate data) you can get rainfall history for nearly 18,000 Australian locations, some dating back to the mid 1800s.

These rainfall histories are available as tables, graphs, data and PDF files.

Rainfall graphs

Graphs can provide a quick overview of wet and dry periods. Below is a small view of the annual rainfall graph for Bungaree, near Ballarat, Victoria. It shows rainfall history back to the 1881. The gaps are years with insufficient data.
Red annotations have been added to this example, marking some of the historic Australian drought years, as well as the driest and wettest year at Bungaree during this time range.
You can also view graphs for each month, for example: October rainfall graph for Bungaree.
Graphs of daily rainfall totals for each year are also available, for example: 1973 graph for Bungaree

Annoted example graph of rainfall history.

Example graph of monthly rainfall history. (Annotations have been added to this example.)

To get the graphs

Graphs are linked from rainfall tables (detailed below).

Rainfall tables

You can get Monthly and Daily rainfall tables. Monthly rainfall tables are best for reviewing rainfall history. They list the monthly rainfall total for all years of record, and they also link to each year of Daily rainfall. Daily rainfall tables list the rainfall recorded for each day of that year. They're most useful for checking specific rainfall amounts and rainfall totals for the current year.

The picture below shows part of the 'Monthly rainfall' table for Bungaree. You can click on a year to see the 'Daily rainfall' records for that year. Graphs and table highlighting are available to help you review and compare rainfall amounts. Use the 'Highlight data in table' to highlight threshold amounts. The graph symbols Graph symbol in the tables link to corresponding graphs.
Below each monthly table, there's a 'summary statistics' table that includes the highest, lowest and average values.

Example table: Monthly rainfall at Bungaree
Part of monthly rainfall table for Bungaree

The top of an example monthly rainfall table showing graph links and the table highlight selector.

Download rainfall data and PDFs

Above the tables there are links for downloading the data and a PDF file .Screen image of download links

How to get rainfall history for your locality

Monthly and Daily rainfall data are available from Climate Data Online. (Or click the 'Weather & climate data' link in the left-column climate menu.)

Select a location using the Text or Map search.

  • The Map search can be better when you have many weather stations to check. Using the Map search
  • The Text search can be best for slower internet speeds or regular visits for daily data. Using the Text search

The image below shows the Map search.

  1. Click the 'Select using Map' tab
  2. For 'I would like', choose 'Monthly rainfall'
    • Click the 'Closed' box to see all monthly rainfall weather stations, including those that are no longer open.
  3. Search for and select a location near the area that interests you.
  4. Click on a weather station symbol Weather station symbol to get information about the weather station, and the link to the 'Monthly rainfall data'.
    • Information about the station includes a graph of how much data are available. The graph is shown below the map.
      (Many of the closed weather stations operated for short periods, but they may provide more localised history.)

    TIP: Use the 'Home' menu, (above the map), to save your view for your next visit, or the 'Bookmarks' menu, to Bookmark or email your view.

Map search for Monthly rainfall

More rainfall information

There is a lot more rainfall information available from other Bureau web pages. The 'Water and the Land' (agriculture) section has a large list of rainfall links, including maps and graphs of recent rainfall, long term trends and extremes.

More about Climate Data Online

Climate Data Online provides access to a range of statistics, recent weather observations and climate data from the Australian Data Archive for Meteorology (PDF), a database which holds weather observations dating back to the mid 1800s for some sites. We are progressively increasing the range of data available online. Climate Data Online also provides the capability to compare and review the data.

Photograph, top of the page: A "heavy track" at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, a few days after the 1971 Melbourne Cup (photo courtesy of The Herald and Weekly Times Photographic Collection).

Drought reference: 'Drought Dust and Deluge. A Century of Climate Extremes in Australia.' Commonwealth of Australia, Bureau of Meteorology

Page updated: March 2, 2011