QUEENSLAND FLOOD SUMMARY 1870 - 1879
Extracts from: Results of Rainfall Observations made in Queensland, H.A. Hunt, Commonwealth Meteorologist, 1914.
Charleville: The greater proportion of northern voters prevented from recording their votes in consequence of the heavy floods on the Warrego. Warrego River not only a " banker," but overflowing at places; greatest height reached since the year of the great floods.
29th January to 2nd February: Nebo: Nebo Creek flooded and uncrossable; carriage of mails delayed.
Brisbane: Creeks between Brisbane and Gympie swollen. After the Glass House Mountain stage was reached the driver of the Gympie coach, found it necessary to swim across the creeks with the mails.
Maryborough: Heavy rainfall caused a fresh in the river. The Floating Bath was washed away and carried out to sea, together with a large quantity of pine logs.
Clermont: At midnight a disastrous flood, caused by the
overflowing of Sandy Creek, suddenly swept on Clermont, carrying away
houses, furniture, and fences. In an hour there was nearly 5 feet of
water over the town, and in some
Rockhampton: The following particulars with regard to the floods at Cawarral were furnished by one of two men who were camped in a humpy near the creek opposite the crushing machine. On the night of the 31st a body of water rushed in and washed them clean out of their bunks. Two humpies near the machine were carried away, the store was completely flooded, and the claims considerably damaged. The informant and his mate left Cawarral on the 2nd February but found Moore's Creek, at the time, impassable.
Mackay: Floods in the river, but not to a serious extent.
1st to 7th February: Heavy floods throughout Queensland; At Clermont the amount of damage done was estimated at nearly 15,000 pounds; several persons escaped drowning by climbing trees.
2nd February: Rockhampton: Heavy rains; greater portion of the country along the river flooded; wharves submerged; steam punt unable to ply between the north and south banks of the river; railway line damaged at Stanwell.
2nd to 4th February: Rockhampton: Wharves submerged on 2nd. Country all about Rockhampton under water for miles; Alligator Creek 2 miles wide, and half a mile of railway line under water. Most of Yaamba and the country around it under water; Bonnie Doon and other creeks impassable. Fitzroy River still rising; communication with the north suspended.
3rd February: Gympie: Water over the bridge at Deep Creek; mail for Brisbane delayed.
Gympie: Communication with Maryborough impossible owing to rise in Mary River; creeks between Gympie and Brisbane flooded.
Rockhampton: Two hundred and eighty yards of Wiseman's Bridge carried away by flood waters; railway bank gave way in several places. Fitzroy River within 4 feet of the highest flood mark and still rising. In one direction only the tops of telegraph posts visible for the distance of a mile. Rainfall from the 29th January to the 3rd February amounted to 22.5 inches.
5th February: Gainsford: The Dawson commenced to fall, and in spite of the great height the water attained no damage was done; road traffic stopped; up-country mails delayed.
8th February: Maryborough. -The Burrum in flood, and rose 22 feet above the level of the highwater mark of the spring tides.
26th February: Bowen: Country flooded for miles; river rose to a great height; flood worst experienced since settlement of the district. No communication with Townsville since 21st; telegraph line across the river Burdekin broken down for at least 31 chains, probably owing to heavy gale on night of 20th.
Collaroy: Country flooded to a serious extent.
27th February: Brisbane: Owing to severe weather and floods in the Kennedy district, telegraphic communication suspended between Bowen, Cleveland Bay, and Cardwell.
2nd March: Bowen: Communication almost impossible creeks and rivers flooded; telegraphic communication between Clermont and Nebo interrupted. .
5th March: Cape River Diggings (Bowen): Great floods; half the houses submerged; nearly all claims on the Union and General Grant lines caved in; reefs almost abandoned. A large number of sheep lost at Leichhardt Downs, and much wool destroyed in neighbourhood of Burdekin.
7th to 11th March
Brisbane: Great rains: On the 7th there was a fresh in the river; the Upper Brisbane showed signs of flood, the water being within a foot of top of breakwater. Much of low-lying country at Eagle Farm Flats was flooded and Breakfast Creek-road below the Waterloo Inn was covered to a depth of several inches.
On the 8th the river rose considerably, at 2 p.m. it was 6 feet above high water mark. At Enoggera Reservoir the water was 1 ft. 7 in. below bywash on the 5th, 9 inches above on 6th, and 4 ft. 10 in. above bywash on 11th.
All creeks in district flooded. The water covered Bowen Bridge and extended as far as foot of the hill beyond the hospital. At Caboolture on 8th the river rose 15 feet above ordinary high water-level. On the 9th the river at Ipswich was 20 feet above high water-level, and at Brisbane on the same date, from 3 to 4 feet deep on wharf and in wool pressing and produce stores. In Stanley--street, Town's Wharf was completely hidden by water which appeared to be half-way up posts on the wharf sheds. The Bremer at Ipswich subsided after reaching within a few feet of last great flood. See also Rainfall (Heavy)."
Goodna: Flood waters surrounding the post office and still rising; wires submerged at the creek; Glengallan Creek very much flooded; Condamine still rising slowly.
Maryborough: The greatest flood within the memory of the oldest inhabitant; effects disastrous in the extreme. Owing to very heavy rains on morning of 5th the river rose and continued to do so until the morning of the 8th, and was then 30 feet above low water-mark. The floating baths were lifted on to the bank and partially smashed by tremendous drift which came down the river. On the 6th, the Mary Ann Eaton, a small river steamer, was overturned and carried away to the ocean. Graham's Creek swollen into a broad river, and every other creek up and the country impassable.
Mackay: The Pioneer flooded; all crossing places on Nebo road impassable.
Oxley: Fields along the banks of Oxley Creek partially devastated by floods.
Maryborough: River fell 12 feet, but again rose 6 inches owing to heavy rains on 13th; several houses swept away at Tiaro. A steamer from the Burnett arrived on the 13th and reported that she was driven out of river by flood on 8th. Heavy rain on l4th; river rose 4 feet.
Dalby: Steady rain; the Condamine and creeks all flooded railway dam burst; roads very bad.
Ipswich: Incessant rain; river again rose considerably.
19th March: Heavy floods in many parts of Queensland, particularly at Gympie.
8th April: Gympie: Heavy rains; Deep Creek Bridge flooded; 9th April; One Mile Creek high.
9th April: Mary River: Heavy and frequent showers. The river rose on the 7th, and still rising; creeks swollen.
11th May: Three men on the Flinders flooded out; they took refuge in trees and were cut off from help for eight weeks; two died.
30th May: Mooloolah: Long spell of rain; the local correspondent estimated that no less than 30 miles of plain country in the immediate neighbourhood was under water.
14th to 18th July: Brisbane: Heavy rains. On the 15th the Bremer rose at Ipswich until the water was 2 feet above the wharves. On the 16th the Bremer was 20 feet above ordinary level and still rising; only the roofs of the wharf sheds visible. On the 18th rain ceased; the Brisbane River was swollen considerably. On the 16th heavy rains occurred on the Burnett and Upper Dawson. At Gayndah the fall exceeded 1.5 inches; at Hawkwood and Taroom it was over 1 inch.
Gympie: Rain incessant for twenty hours; river rose over 30 feet, and at one place it rose 1 foot in five minutes. One-mile township flooded; residents forced to move; 7.5 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours.
Townsville: Disastrous flood on the Flinders; all traffic stopped; one station lost 4,000 sheep.
Maryborough: River flooded owing chiefly to heavy rains in interior. The flood reached its highest point on the 17th, when it was 15 feet above ordinary high water-level. Floating baths carried away.
Gympie: One-mile township completely swamped; punts plying in the main streets of Gympie; river falling slowly.
21st July: Mary River: River slowly falling.
22nd July: St. George: Very wet weather during past fortnight; rivers bank and bank; roads a perfect bog.
23rd July: Roma: Country in flooded state; roads almost impassable; torrents of rain nightly; weather bitterly cold.
14th August: Warwick: Condamine bank and bank; Burnett's Bridge considerably under water.
Clifton: During a storm the meat preserving establishment was flooded to a very unusual extent; water 4 to 5 feet above floor level.
Condamine: Water 3 feet deep on bridge over the Condamine; current running strongly.
Inglewood: Heavy rain; one of the greatest floods in the Macintyre for many years.
2nd November: Drayton: The recent floods did considerable damage to the growing crops, fruit trees, and fences.
16th November: Townsville: Very heavy rains; Burdekin River high; traffic stopped.
17th November: Ipswich: Perfect deluge of rain in the evening and during the greater part of the night; the Bremer rose almost to the top of the sheds at the company's wharf; One-mile Creek high.
17th and 18th November: Brisbane: Heavy rain on evening of 17th over the whole of southern portion of the colony; lower parts of the town flooded; creek overflowed its banks and flooded cellars of the houses in Queen-street. Rainfall for 24 hours ending 9 a.m. on 18th, 3.66 inches; heaviest fall since floods in early part of the year.
17th and 19th November: Warwick: Very heavy rain accompanied strong winds from the southward; the Condamine rose 4 feet above its usual level.
24th February: Oxley: Heaviest thunderstorm of the year; creeks and roads flooded.
Rockhampton: Lagoons in the neighbourhood 1 foot higher than during the flood last summer.
Clermont: Creeks rose; many houses endangered.
Bowen: Heavy rain; creeks and rivers flooded.
31st May: Cleveland Bay: Western Creek and Cloncurry roads impassable, owing to rainy season; business quiet.
17th January: Normanton: Heavy rains throughout district; rivers and creeks all flooded; whole of the country between Normanton and mouth of the Norman River under water. Mail services between Normanton and Townsville suspended.
18th January: Georgetown: The Gilbert and other rivers in vicinity flooded; down mail to Normanton unable to cross the Gilbert.
23rd January: Normanton: Still showery; country flooded.
25th January: Georgetown: Country all flooded; no mails.
26th January: Floods continue. Country between Normanton, Carron Creek, and the shores of the Gulf under water for miles at a stretch. Telegraph Station at Carron Creek surrounded by a vast sheet of water. Since the first of the month more than 14.5 inches of rain fell at Carron Creek; 4 inches fell at Norman Mouth on 25th inst.
30th January: Normanton: Rivers and creeks still running bank high, but floods considerably subsided.
1st February: Townsville: Wet season still continues; traffic seriously impeded, and in some directions entirely suspended.
2nd February: Normanton: Norman and Gilbert Rivers and Carron Creek much lower; Flinders and Bynoe Rivers still bank high; roads not yet fit for traffic; no mails.
4th to 6th February: Dalby: Heavy rains in district; creeks a banker; Condamine River high; country flooded from Daandine to Dalby; roads covered with water; man drowned whilst attempting to cross Daandine Creek.
5th February: Several teamsters and a mailman were swamped 30 miles from Carron Creek, during the late heavy floods; several horses and bullocks drowned and many others lost.
24th February: Rain abundant in Springsure district; Nogoa and Comet Rivers, also all creeks, flooded.
3rd December: Heavy rains during last few clays at Condamine; river 6 feet above bridge and rising; mail communication with Roma stopped in consequence of flooded state of creeks.
Maryborough: Flood in Burnett and other rivers; mails delayed in consequence,
Condamine: Constant succession of thunderstorms since 26th November. On 3rd inst, the river rose to a very great extent, and communication by means of the bridge was quite cut off. The water continued to rise until Saturday, 7th, when it was fully 9 feet above the floor of the bridge; it then commenced to subside.
11th December: Floods on the Burnett River.
Floods in the north. New dam at Logan Downs washed away,
entailing a loss of 500 pounds.
16th December: Stanthorpe: Quart Pot Creek, Broadwater and Severn Rivers very high; great many dams on Sugar Loaf and other creeks washed away; whole of the claims on the Broadwater and Severn Rivers totally under water.
22nd December: Bremer River rose rapidly; 3 feet of water in the A.S.N. Co.'s sheds at Ipswich in a few hours' time.
22nd and 24th December: Severn River, Stanthorpe: Heaviest rain ever experienced. The Severn rose more than 6 feet above height reached by previous highest flood.
25th December: Tambo: Heavy rains; Warrego and Ward Rivers flooded.
30th December: Several of the cellars in Queen-street, Brisbane, flooded through the stoppage of the creek. Almost all rivers up country flooded during last week by heavy rains.
5th January: Advices to 5th January state that the highest flood ever known exists in the Gilbert district.
24th January: Northern rivers flooded.
25th January: Heavy floods throughout the northern districts; all inland traffic suspended for several days.
6th February: Houses at. Normanton washed away by floods. 14th February: Very heavy floods reported from Cardwell. 28th February.- The Bremer and other rivers much swollen owing to the continued rains; overflow at the Enoggera reservoir, about 14 inches above the by-wash.
1st March: The Bremer rose to within a few inches of the A.S.N. Co.'s receiving shed at Ipswich.
17th to 19th June: Heavy flood at Brisbane. At Ipswich one of the greatest floods experienced since 1864 occurred, and the Bremer rose 40 feet above ordinary level; eight persons and over 6,000 sheep drowned at Cecil Plains. Floods also general up country; great damage at places.
20th June: Heavy losses through the recent floods reported from up country.
24th June: The highest point reached by the flood at the port office in Brisbane was 3 feet 10 inches above the highest spring tides and 5 feet lower than the flood in 1864.
2nd December: Great floods at Condamine and throughout the Western district; all traffic stopped.
18th December: The Palmer River flooded; much difficulty experienced in conveying food to the miners.
31st December: Flood at Ipswich.
17th February: Very high floods in the north.
8th April: Floods in the Condamine district again stopped all traffic.
6th July: New dam at Dalby destroyed by flood.
20th February: Heavy rains produced serious floods and extensive losses. All coach and railway traffic stopped.
4th March: Reports from Maryborough and Rockhampton describe the late floods and the very critical positions from which many were rescued, also the drowning of two men in the Maryborough district. The water on the Dawson River rose 16 feet above the 1864 flood, the railway was submerged for miles and the loss of life in all parts of the colony was too great to particularise.
8th March: Fever prevalent on the Dawson River, very great number of dead cattle about.
10th March: A telegram stated 45 persons yet living on a punt at Laurel Bank, Dawson River, current too strong to attempt to release them.
19th April: Flood swept away the Peak Downs Company's dam.
25th April: Telegram from Springsure stated that the
Comet River was higher than in the flood of 1864.
18th February: Great rain at Clermont and Copperfield caused floods; railway near Rocky Creek much damaged, and all the rivers connected with the Fitzroy swollen.
19th February: The Mary River at Gympie rose 26 feet in one night.
25th February: Amamoor Creek bridge near Gympie washed away by flood waters. Heavy flood at Millchester; telegraph line down for seven days.
14th July: Great rain, accompanied by thunderstorms, in the southern and western portions of the colony. Floods in many places unprecedented in height. Myall Creek bridge at Dalby almost destroyed, and part of the railway near Gowrie was swept away. Very heavy gale and high sea on the coast. Several lives lost in different places, also large numbers of stock and sheep.
25th July: The Courier of 29th July reprints from the Tenterfield Star of 25th July an account of disastrous floods and loss of life at Grafton (N.S.W.)
22nd January: Reports from Surat, St. George, and Cunnamulla, state that these townships were entirely surrounded by water.
26th March: Great floods in the Comet River district.
26th June: Floods in several parts of the colony reached a very great height.
July: Heavy flood at Mount Irving, Jondaryan.
27th August: Very severe and unprecedented floods in some parts of the colony. In Dalby many were forced to leave their houses; the river at Brisbane rose upwards of 8 feet above high water mark.
29th August: The railway train left Warwick without any passengers; flood completely interrupted all traffic.
30th August: The floods reached the highest mark. Victoria baths washed down the Brisbane River; thirty tons of Yengarie sugar destroyed at the Bundaberg wharf.
16th September: Up to date, floods prevailed in the
Western district and traffic was suspended.
Updated November 2010.