Feature Article - Notable cases of severe flooding
8-13 March, 1911
Heavy rainfall about the north-east caused serious flooding in the South Esk and Macquarie rivers, and on the East Coast. At Gould’s Country, the George’s River Bridge was washed away, as were the northern half of the Scamander Bridge and the suspension bridge over the Cascade and Derby rivers. The railway line between Clarendon and Evandale was also partly washed away.
5-29 December, 1916
Widespread flooding about the north-west, Midlands and south of the State, with considerable damage to roads, bridges and railway lines; widespread crop damage; and stock losses. A record flood in the Mersey River caused serious inundation in and around Latrobe. In the Midlands, the main railway line was washed away between Tunbridge and Campbell Town, and at Colebrook. At New Norfolk, flooding caused damage estimated at £50,000.
7-19 July, 1922
Widespread flooding about the State. One third of the Hamilton Bridge, over the Clyde River, was washed away. The Macquarie River overflowed its banks covering the main road near Ross with 1.5 metres of water.
14-21 December, 1924
Extensive flooding at Buckland and in the Derwent Valley, together with general flooding about the east and south-east of the State. Extensive crop and stock losses occurred, with bridges being washed away.
4-6 April, 1929
The most disastrous floods experienced this century in northern and eastern Tasmania. Twenty-two people drowned, the greatest loss of life for any single Australian flood event Fourteen people died when the Briseis Dam at Derby burst, and a further eight lives were lost near Ulverstone when a vehicle plunged into the flooded river. Longford and low-lying areas of Launceston were flooded and 4,500 people in Launceston were evacuated. The Duck Reach power station and a suspension bridge in the Cataract Gorge were washed away. Many road and rail bridges destroyed, and many others damaged. Serious flooding also occurred in the Midlands and about the south of the State.
5 July, 1944
Melting snow caused by heavy rain caused severe flooding in the Derwent River basin, leaving many roads impassable. Floodwaters completely destroyed the hop fields, and the Marlborough Highway Bridge over the Ouse River. General flooding occurred in northern rivers, resulting in the evacuation of people from their homes in the Mersey River basin and widespread stock and crop losses.
23-25 June, 1952
Heavy rainfall and melting snow on the Central Plateau caused widespread, severe flooding, in the Mersey River basin. Severe flooding also occurred along the West Coast, and in the south. Floodwaters invaded the township of Huonville. In the Derwent River basin many people were forced to evacuate their homes, with estimates exceeding £100,000 for the damage to the communications infrastructure.
20-23 April, 1960
Widespread flooding of all Tasmanian rivers, with the Macquarie, Elizabeth, Lake and Liffey rivers particularly affected. The greatest damage occurred in the New Norfolk area when over 250 mm of rain fell in less than 48 hours. At Macquarie Plains, 12 homes were destroyed. In Hobart, record losses were sustained through flooding of the Hobart Rivulet, with flooding a metre deep through some city streets. Flooding also extended throughout the East Coast and Midlands.
30 May, 1969
Flooding about the East Coast and Midland areas. The most severe flooding in Launceston since April 1929. At Longford, 250 people were evacuated and 65 homes were inundated by rising floodwaters.
24 August, 1970
Record flooding occurred in the Mersey and Meander rivers, with extensive damage at Deloraine. One fatality was recorded and damage estimated in excess of $5m. Serious flooding also occurred on the Ouse and Huon rivers.
7-22 July, 1974
Extensive flooding occurred throughout the South Esk and Macquarie river basins. Extensive flooding also occurred in southern Tasmania, with many roads cut in the Derwent and Lower Midlands areas.
27 March, 1977
Major flooding occurred in the north-west, leaving 4 houses at Penguin and 14 at Latrobe inundated with mud.
25 July, 1988
Seventy residents were evacuated from Branxholm when a nearby dam threatened to collapse following heavy rainfall. Many roads were cut along the north coast, a train was surrounded by floodwaters near Launceston, the Ringarooma Bridge was washed away and Scottsdale was only accessible by the Bridport Road. Coastal areas were also flooded by unusually high tides caused by a storm surge after a 960 hPa low pressure system passed over Tasmania.
21-30 December, 1993
State-wide rainfall associated with a series of low-pressure systems off the east coast of Tasmania. Gray recorded 280 mm of rainfall, its greatest daily rainfall in 11 years. The north-east of the State was subjected to extensive flash-flooding. Extensive flooding in the Midlands area resulted in an estimated $5m worth of damage to roads and bridges and crop and stock losses.
22 September, 1998
Largest flood in 70 years in the Deloraine area when over 100 mm of rain fell in a 24 hour period along the Western Tiers. Extensive flooding also in the Lake and Isis rivers districts. Reports indicated over a metre depth of flooding in the space of 2 to 3 hours.