The Australian Floods Are Nothing New – It Happened 100 Years Ago This Month Too

The terrible flooding in Queensland, Australia in January 2011 is nothing new. The Sydney Morning Herald printed a very similar event in the same area, exactly 100 years ago this month.

The Sydney Morning Herald on 21st January 1911 reported that over nine inches of rain had fallen in the town of Murwillumbah, which sits on the Tweed River in New South Wales, close to the Queensland border.

I love to look back at old newspaper articles, and the National Library Of Australia has collections of digitised newspapers going back over one
hundred years.

It’s amazing what stories you find in these old newspapers, and sometimes, like today, I just happened to see this article that told of heavy rain and flooding, one hundred years to the month before the horrendous floods that we have seen in Queensland in the past few weeks.

The article focuses on the town of Murwillumbah , a small town on the River Tweed, in an area of New South Wales that is close to the border with Queensland, an area that is heavily devoted to the growing of sugar cane and bananas. Murwillumbah has in recent years become one of the most sought after places to live in Australia, for those who wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, and still remain close to some of the best beaches that the country has to offer. My Uncle and Aunt did in fact live on a ridge close to there 20 years ago, and I was fortunate enough to visit in 1988.

The article from the Sydney Morning Herald says that over nine inches of rain fell overnight, and that streets in the town were flooded.

The oppressive weather conditions of the past few days culminated in an extraordinary rainfall last night. Rain set in around 9 o’clock, and continued steadily and heavily throughout the night. By 9 o’clock this morning 789 points of rain were registered. Particularly heavy rain fell at 10 o’clock.

All the watercourses in the main streets were overflowing, and flooding the footpaths and back premises in various parts of the town. In one part of Queen Street a regular torrent flowed, washing out the metal (road surface), and 245 points fell in three hours, the total fall at 12 o’clock being 934 points.

You can read the full original article where it has been digitised by the National Library Of Australia.

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