“We’ll all be rooned” said Hanrahan

Image: Sowden’s transport to the road during the 1951 flood Source: Mona Sowden

Image: Sowden’s transport to the road during the 1951 flood
Source: Mona Sowden

I came across these couple of pictures of the 1951 flood out towards Jondaryan, and they got me thinking; growing up out west on a station, some of the most unforgettable memories are of the extreme weather events. Droughts when we had to bathe in creek water because tank water was for cooking and drinking only, or floods when we took a dingy to the top of the dam bank for a picnic because it was the only high ground to be seen. Well, with the wild weather we’ve been having around the state this week I thought I’d have a look at some of the flooding photos we have in our collection.

Image: Road to Berry Bush Corner Source: Mona Sowden

Image: Road to Berry Bush Corner
Source: Mona Sowden

Interesting to note is that following the 1950-1951 flood, a severe dry spell set in. Low rainfall, cold winters, grass fires and bushfires caused one of the worst droughts in Queensland. Heavy losses occurred in the pastoral and dairying industries, with some of the worst affected parts being the southern coast to Port Curtis and the tropical interior. Crop and dairy production were the lowest since 1926. These conditions continued until April 1952. Another short period of dry weather followed in some areas in 1953. By January 1954 the drought extended from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Darling Downs and west to the border of South Australia.

And as is so often the case, we go from one extreme to the other. The 1955 floods were a result of state wide unseasonable rains at the end of May that caused a number of river systems to flood. Some areas reported totals of up to 800mm over 3 days and extensive low level flooding necessitated the evacuation of a large number of homes. There were two reported deaths. Out at “Broxbourne”, located in the Norwin area, there were only two small islands of “dry” earth on the whole 1000 acres, after 11 inches (280mm) had fallen in the hills at Irongate.

Image: 1955 flood on “Broxbourne” Norwin area. Stan Ferguson draining the roadway. Source: M. Ferguson

Image: 1955 flood on “Broxbourne” Norwin area. Stan Ferguson draining the roadway.
Source: M. Ferguson

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