Historic view down East St during the 1918 Fitzroy River flood.
Historic view down East St during the 1918 Fitzroy River flood.

Rocky's record-breaking disaster

THIS year marks the 100 year anniversary of the great Fitzroy River flood of 1918.

It broke all previous records and remains the highest flood recorded in Rockhampton.

The Fitzroy River first peaked at 8.89 metres (29ft. 2in.) on January 23, before receding and rising again to a peak of 9.73 metres (31 ft. 11 in) on February 1 and the river remained at major flood level for several weeks before receding to normal.

The flood was the result of a large cyclone which crossed the coast at Mackay on January 21, devastating that city. Rockhampton was not immune from the aftermath of the cyclone and the massive volume of water which fell in the Fitzroy River catchment.

Eight people lost their lives in the Rockhampton region due to the storm and floods, hundreds were forced from their homes as the waters rose and business came to a virtual standstill for several weeks.

Rockhampton lay isolated from the rest of Queensland, except for the telegraph, for some three weeks until the railway line south was repaired and reopened to traffic.

This feature re-prints extracts from key stories published in The Morning Bulletin between January 22 and February 22, 1918 which chronicled the effects of the flood on day-to-day life in the city and its surrounding districts.



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