Queensland Floods 2013: A Very Wet Bank Holiday Weekend

Last Friday I wrote about Hervey Bay: Sun, Sea, Sand and a Place to Chill. Since then, nothing, so what happened to Monday’s post?

Well, Monday was a bank holiday because Saturday 26th of January was Australia Day, so we had Monday off in lieu making for a long weekend.


Actually not, and the bank holiday was not the reason I didn’t write a post either, telephone lines being down and therefore not having an Internet connection put paid to that.

Here’s the story.

When I actually left Hervey Bay, which would have been last Thursday morning, it had started to rain. About a half hour drive from Hervey Bay is the historic town of Maryborough; we stopped there for an hour or so to look around the markets.

MaryboroughGrey and drizzly, as you can see.

As we then continued on our four hour drive home along the Bruce Highway, the rain just kept falling and falling, heavier and heavier. Like so many people I was thinking “Ah, at last, a bit of rain. We sure can do with it!”

We hadn’t had a lot of rain lately, everything was looking brown and dry and as you know, it was only a couple of weeks ago that bushfires were ablaze in every state in Australia.

But the rain kept falling, through Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so for the second year running here in Brisbane all outdoor events on Australia Day were cancelled due to the bad weather.

And still the rain kept falling and for us here, Sunday was probably the heaviest rainfall day of the four, it reminded me so much of the rainfall we had just before the floods of January 2011.

On that Sunday I needed to pop out to feed some pets; as some of you know Mrs Bobinoz and I run a local pet feeding business. Normally I would access the road from this direction…

flood watersIf you look closely at the above photo, you will see two little white posts sticking up, that’s to give us motorists some idea of how deep the water is before we try something stupid like attempt to drive through it. I couldn’t get close enough to it, but my guess would be the water was about 1 metre high.

So I tried to access the road from the other end…

flooded roadNo posts visible at all here, yet I am pretty sure there should be some. Are they fully emerged? Maybe not, but the choppiness of the water to the left will give you an idea of how fast this current was moving.

Fortunately, there was a third road to access the street I needed to get to, one I didn’t know existed until I checked my street map. So doggies and cat got fed.

On the way back, I passed the green fields normally full of grazing horses…

Horses fieldThe road I usually use to access my street was also blocked off…

My roadSo I used the next road along and passed a fallen tree…

tree downAll this is a consequence of just four days of rain off of the back of months and months of very hot and dry weather. The floods of January 2011 was an event everyone was expecting, I even made mention of it in a post in October 2010.

These floods simply came out of nowhere. Well, to be more accurate, they came out of Tropical Cyclone Oswald. I’ve seen many wet bank holiday weekends in the UK, never seen anything like this one.

It wasn’t so long ago my back garden looked like this…

My back garden beforeOn Sunday, it looked like this…

My back garden afterAt one stage it was predicted that around 3600 houses and 1250 commercial buildings would be likely to go under here in Brisbane, in the event the peak of the river was nowhere near as high as expected and no more than a handful of houses were affected.

As a state though, Queensland suffered badly with six lives lost so far. In the worst hit town of Bundaberg, 2000 homes and 200 businesses were flooded and 7000 people displaced. State wide, hundreds of thousands of homes lost power, Internet and telephone use. We’ve even had tornadoes across parts of the state, roofs have been ripped off in some places.

By the way, tomorrow there will be no market at Maryborough, cancelled due to flooding. Maryborough suffered its worst flooding for 60 years with 300 residential properties and 150 businesses affected when the Mary River broke its banks.

With all this water about, the irony is that Brisbane may actually run out of tap water because mud from these floods has got into the water treatment plant.

Brisbane City Council has stockpiled 40,000 1 litre bottles of water as an emergency measure to cover the estimated seven suburbs that might be affected first.

As the floods continue their journey south, the latest city to suffer is Grafton in New South Wales.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, just yesterday the state’s premier said firefighters may never be able to extinguish some of the bushfires down there without the helping hand of a heavy downpour.

Australia is, indeed, a big country.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Phil Petursson February 8, 2013, 4:11 pm |

    I just returned from a delightful family holiday on the Gold Coast, just before the floods. Therefore, I wanted to check out the areas that were prone to flooding. I found some helpful maps showing flood zones. See: Flood maps of Gold Coast
    There should be similar maps related to the Brisbane area. I hope this info helped. Hopefully, we’ll be moving to the Brisbane/ Gold Coast area within the next year or so. This website has been most informative!

    • BobinOz February 8, 2013, 9:56 pm |

      Indeed there are similar maps for the Brisbane area, I have a link to them on my page about Brisbane. I didn’t know about the map for the Gold Coast though, so thank you for this link, I will put it on my page about the Gold Coast.

      Thanks Phil!


  • Roger February 7, 2013, 5:54 pm |

    Could you please recommend a good source to research flood free suburbs in the Brisbane area? Are northern coastal areas usually affected? Is it necessary to live away from the river areas? We are coming to live in Brisbane in March 2013 and would appreciate any advice in this regard.. Thanks,Roger.

    • BobinOz February 8, 2013, 8:23 pm |

      You can access a map which details the danger zones, you’ll see a link to it on my page about Brisbane. By and large, stay away from rivers and choose a house on high ground, not one that is at the bottom of a hill. I’m not sure how the northern coastal areas got by, I assume you are talking around Redcliffe way, but I suspect they did okay. Check the map though, that will give you the answers.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Karen Griffin February 1, 2013, 7:22 pm |

    I too now feel unsure if we should emigrate to Queensland, our family in the UK think we are crazy- we have spent alot of time trying to convince people that we are doing the right thing for our kids, except all we have seen on the news over here is about bush fires and now more flooding (only 5 mins away from where we were supposed to be moving to). We thought the 2010/11 floods were a ‘one off’ so to speak, and now it has happened again, although not quite as bad it still had the potential.
    I realise Australia has extreme weather, but sometimes I do wonder is it really worth it? Ok the weather in the UK can be very depressing, but at least we don’t have to worry about tornadoes and bush fires. I realise parts of the UK have flooded, but we are in the south east and throughout my lifetime I’ve only encountered a couple of hurricanes!
    Moving to Queensland has been our dream for years, our visas are through, and it’s decision time…… Except now we need more convincing than our family 🙁

    • BobinOz February 4, 2013, 1:04 pm |

      Firstly, understand that your family will say anything to try and stop you from coming here, they don’t want to lose you. Secondly, read Gordon’s comment above, and my comments, and you will see that yes, we definitely think it’s worth it.

      I believe you are doing the best thing for your kids, Australia is a wonderful place to bring up your children. You need to do is take a little care when choosing where to live, make sure the house you buy has zero chance of flooding. There are plenty of houses that fit into that category, we have lots of hills.

      As for bushfires, read my post Bushfires in Australia: What Are the Risks?

      You’ve come this far towards your dream, don’t let a bit of rain put you off now.

  • Doris January 31, 2013, 12:11 am |

    Dear Bob,

    With all the happenings in Australia, I wonder if it is still an attractive country to emigrate. I will be retraining as a nurse from April…and am thinking is it still a good idea. It was all for Australia. Confused


    • BobinOz January 31, 2013, 4:11 pm |

      Read the to comments above yours Doris, I think they will answer your question. Don’t be confused, Australia is a wonderful country to live in, we just have some wild weather to put up with as part of the deal.



  • Gordon January 30, 2013, 9:06 pm |

    While this latest flood is notable , it is relatively insignificant in the big scheme of things.

    Throughout history there have been natural disasters around the world , even in recent history like the Japan tsunami , the Indonesian tsunami before that , tornadoes in the U.S. ( recurring ) , Hurricanes , Cyclones and Typhoons ( all basically the same thing ) earthquake events and in the slightly more distant past vulcanism events such as Vesuvius ( Pompeii ) and Krakatoa in Indonesia.

    Getting slightly philosophical , the very existence of the human race was likely determined by the asteroid strike that most scientists agree hit near the Yucatan Peninsula and led to the demise of the dinosaur age millions of years ago .

    We live on a dynamic planet and given a choice of anywhere on earth to live , I’m quite happy to stay just where I am , right here in Australia and in that little part of Australia that I call home .

    In the words of Dorothea MacKellar ( yes , again 😉 ) part of one stanza –

    Core of my heart, my country!
    Land of the Rainbow Gold,
    For flood and fire and famine,
    She pays us back threefold –

    What can i say except , this is the best country on Earth !

    • BobinOz January 31, 2013, 4:08 pm |

      Very well put Gordon. Australia “is what it is” as they say, and these weather events are what we need to accept as part of being in this country. I’m not going anywhere either, I love it here.



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