Copy of a map titled
Copy of a map titled "Plan of the environs of Rockhampton 1863-1865. Supplied by the Rockhampton and District Historical Society.

What if Rockhampton gets the 'worst case scenario' flood?

AS Rockhampton recovers from last month's 8.6m flood, Mayor Margaret Strelow is already looking at how to prepare for a "worst case scenario" - a 12.3m flood.

"We have to be prepared for the 'what if'," Cr Strelow said.

A flood study released in 2011 shows detailed maps and information about Rockhampton suburbs that would be affected by a 12.3m flood if "everything was to go wrong" with the Fitzroy River catchment, including the Dawson and Mackenzie Rivers.

It also shows maps of what the city would look like in a "maximum possible flood" scenario.

The above map appeared as a two-page spread in The Weekend Bulletin so grab a copy to check it out.

The maps show South Rockhampton submerged in 1-5m of floodwater including Port Curtis, Depot Hill, lower parts the CBD, West Rockhampton, Wandal, Alton Downs, Allenstown the airport and Pink Lily.

Only the higher areas of The Range, Rockhampton City and Wandal would be outside the floodwater zone in a 12.3m flood, the report stated.

John Fletcher from the Rockhampton and District Historical Society with an 1863-1865 Plan of the Environs of Rockhampton showing the city's water supplies of the time. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
John Fletcher from the Rockhampton and District Historical Society with an 1863-1865 Plan of the Environs of Rockhampton showing the city's water supplies of the time. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

Floodwater would rise in North Rockhampton and cover Parkhurst between Gregory and Alexandra Sts, Kawana to the west of Hollingsworth and Withers Sts, Park Ave near Splitters Creek, parts of Berserker, Lakes Creek and Koongal.

Cr Strelow said the data collected to calculate a maximum possible flood comes from information on the river system over the past 150 years.

"It's not that simple ... there's a lot of science, 150 years of data and good knowledge of the river involved in the process," she said.

"It would take everything to go wrong at the worst possible time for a 12m flood to hit us - but I'm asking for a one-day think-tank where we can come up with a plan in the event of a maximum possible flood.

"Then we can put it away, hopefully we don't ever need to think about it again - but at least the top-level thinking is there."

Map showing the extent of the 1918 flood in Rockhampton. Map supplied by Rockhampton and District Historical Society.
Map showing the extent of the 1918 flood in Rockhampton. Map supplied by Rockhampton and District Historical Society.

Cr Strelow said although there was no way of preventing this type of flood, she said the city should be prepared.

Rockhampton's greatest flood, since European settlement, recorded was in 1918 at 10.11m, but local indigenous people tell of much higher floods in the past.

She said although Rockhampton's founding fathers, Charles and William Archer, probably didn't realise the extent of Fitzroy River floodplains, Cr Strelow said "it wasn't a mistake that they built our city".

"They settled because they could rely on the water, unload ships and the land was great for grazing. Houses in flood areas are all up on high stilts ... that reflects how practical the early settlers were."



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