The 1893 flood is our biggest recorded flood. The greatest flood recorded at 25.45 metres (83 feet six inches). A cyclone that hovered off the coast for several days that suddenly struck south towards the coast between Maryborough and Brisbane, also inland to the Blackall Range. Rain fell on already drenched countryside. The river began to rise on 30 January and by 3 February it reached 20 feet deep (just over six metres deep) in Mary Street before peaking on 4 February. Many houses were seen floating downstream and many more covered in water with only tops of their roofs being visible.
It is said that one house came to rest near where the Nestle Tennis courts are now. When the water receded, stumps were placed under it and there it stayed, occupied by several generations until it was replaced circa late 1970’s.
The railway bridge over Deep Creek was almost covered with only the rails being out of the water. If you take the beautiful River walk under the Victoria Bridge or take Bridge Street off the highway to the Victoria Bridge Conservation area, you can see the levels marked (painted) on the railway bridge and walk under the bridge to get a real concept of how big the flood waters rose.
Memorial Park was the Union Sawmill and logs floated about behind Mary Street. Mines suffered great devastation. After the earlier 1890 flood, a flood gate system was devised to prevent an ingress of water into low lying shafts – these were steel frames inserted into the mouths of all mines below the level of the highest known flood at the time, plus 10 feet. So that was 80 feet (about 24.3 metres) however the flood peaked higher! The water plunged down mines and spread through the connected mines. The compressed air in the shafts exploded through the flood gates – in fountains. Men were out of work and it took several years for the mining industry to recover. As did the farming industry, with many farms along the river, destroyed crops, livestock swept away and fences damaged or taken out. It was only a fortnight later that the river rose again but only to 69 feet (just a touch over 21 metres – still a large flood!).
Mr. J. Gambling’s home, Monkland. Washed away in the 1893 flood and found in Queen’s Park re-erected at Veteran Road.
Take a read of the reportings from 1893: