An elevated view looking over the Fitzroy River during the 1918 flood.
An elevated view looking over the Fitzroy River during the 1918 flood.

Cyclonic storm brings 1918 flood

Tuesday 22 Jan 1918.


THE tropical disturbance referred to in our telegrams yesterday reached Rockhampton early on Sunday evening. Rain fell all night. At times the downpour was very heavy. The wind was very high, reaching in frequent gusts, the force of a gale.

The rain was particularly heavy between eight o'clock and half past nine o'clock yesterday morning and the great majority of the streets were under water, the flooding in some cases extending over the full width of the streets and both footpaths.

The rain then moderated somewhat and the wind dropped, though occasionally throughout the morning, in the afternoon, and again in the evening it blew with great force.

The rainfall between Sunday evening and nine o'clock yesterday morning was 4.56 in., and an additional 1.76 in. fell between nine o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon. In the next five hours another 0.32 in. was registered.


CONSIDERABLE damage was done. There was scarcely a section of the municipality that did not suffer to some extent.

The major portion of St. Paul's Hostel, on the Range, at the top of Denham Street, was unroofed yesterday fore-noon, several sheets of iron, with the rafters, being lifted off, in one piece and dropped in the yard. The building, which was not occupied, was in charge of a caretaker.

The front veranda of the residence of Mr. T. Robinson, in Wandal Street, was completely unroofed, while the iron on the roof of the side verandas was partly taken off. Several other houses in the vicinity also suffered damage.

The roof on Barry's wood depot in Bolsover Lane was lifted off and blown across the property, over Alma Street, and into the Archer Park drill ground. In East Lane behind Fitzgerald's stables, a four-roomed house occupied by Mrs. Jones was stripped of its roof.

The whole of the veranda roof, and supports of Pattison's butcher shop, on the Denison street side, was carried away over the two adjoining buildings, a coach factory and a plumber's shop, on the same side of the street, and dropped into Pattison's paddock, next to Medcraff's factory.

No. 1 grandstand on the show grounds of the Rockhampton Agricultural Society fared badly. It stood the strain up till nine o'clock yesterday morning; but a fierce gust of wind then struck it and lifted the roof clean off and snapped the front supports. The whole lot was blown on to the pavilion alongside. It will probably cost 50 pounds to replace the damage. Strange to say, no other building on the ground sustained any injury.

In many places fences were knocked over by the wind or damaged by falling trees. On the George Street side of the grounds of the Central Queensland Rugby Football Union the fence was seriously damaged for some distance.

The fence on the north side was similarly affected. Most of the damage to the fences of private houses was caused by falling trees more than by the wind. Sheets of iron were also lying about everywhere, belonging in some cases to buildings some distance away from where the sheets were. A few sheets were torn off the new addition to the Hall State School. A building attached to the Rockhampton Girls' Grammar School also had the roof damaged.

About eleven o'clock a sheet of iron blew up Denham street from the direction of the river and fell with a crash in front of the Post Office. Happily, there were no pedestrians about. About the same time a big lamp in front of the Oxford Hotel parted from the wires and smashed to pieces on the pavement.

While Mrs. T.J. King, who lives in a cottage in Denison Lane, between Denham and Fitzroy Streets, was making a cup of tea in the kitchen about noon yesterday, half the chimney was precipitated through the iron roof of the room. Mrs. King had two young children at her side at the time. Both were struck by the falling debris and received injuries to the head, one of them having to be treated by the Ambulance Brigade. Mrs. King was also bruised and she is likewise suffering from shock. Miss Alice Scully, who was in the kitchen at the time, had a miraculous escape, her blouse being torn to shreds by the falling bricks and sheets of iron. Just prior to the collapse of the chimney, Mrs King had occasion to send several others of her children out of the room, otherwise serious results might have occurred. As a result of the collapse of the chimney the kitchen was reduced to a mass of bricks and sheets of iron, all the cooking utensils and crockery being destroyed.

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