Yet another one in a hundred year event

Let the mud stay
clear the developers away

A river (Maiwar) has a city problem Brisbane (Meanjin): 1864 1891 1893 1897 1974 1971 2011 2014 2022. What do these years convey to you? A sense of Deja Vu? You cannot build a city on a floodplain?

I lived on a boat (the MV Careel) on the St Lucia reach of the river in 1974. What I didn’t know as a twenty something was that I would experience the flood of ’74 at least twice more in my life, when I was 60 years old and again when I was 71 years old. No flood is the same and a river, like the life cycle of a human being, has its ups and downs.

Since 1974, there have been at least four extreme events like the current one (1974, 2011, 2014, 2022). There has been loss of life and extensive damage costing $$$billions. But the rich don’t care, they can just re-build.

The ’74 flood gave rise to the ‘mud army’ who responded again in 2011 and 2022. In ’74 many of the houses between Sir Fred Schonell Drive and the river went under. We do get tired of these calls for ‘community’ to come out and to clean up houses apartments, basements when developers are allowed build on the floodplain. But we appreciate the human effort and solidarity that people provide to almost complete strangers.

Living on a boat was beautiful, peaceful if sometimes a lonely place for a 23 year old. Until the ‘Invasion Day’ flood of January 1974. Till then there was little interference with my lifestyle of living on the river (1972-1975) and of working and studying at the University of Queensland. There were operating ferries at each end of the St Lucia reach that connected St Lucia with West End (St Lucia reach) and Dutton Park (Cemetery Reach). Many students and staff of the University lived around west End in those days.

11 Austral Street St Lucia

After the flood, I moved to a share house in Austral Street St Lucia and we opposed the building of high rise along the flood plain. We took up a petition to stop an 8 storey building in the adjoining Standford Street. Andrew Herrington, one of members of our household, took the developer to court and won, only to have the decision overturned a few years later. This was only the first of many high rise in the suburb and created a recurring problem of accumulation (during drought) and destruction (during flood).

STOP – no way through Fairfield Road, Yeronga Photo Lachlan Hurse 27 Feb 2022

Where are the worst places hit? Where all the building and development is going on. St Lucia, Toowong, Rosalie, Corinda, Graceville, Yeronga, Tennyson, Sherwood, Jindalee, Rocklea, Hill End, West End, East Brisbane, South Brisbane, New Farm, Newstead, Bulimba, Northpoint Hawthorne and so on.

The population of many of these areas (eg South Brisbane and West End) has multiplied by a factor of eight times since 1974. Where have they put the people? Right near the river on the flood plain. How many people have died? A lot of people. Why? Because floodwaters are very dangerous.

Having observed the power of nature on three occasions in my life I now look to solutions. The buildings on the Meanjin floodplain including those in the CBD should become ‘museums of human folly’ for generations to come. People need to move to higher ground and allow the river to break its banks once in a while as all estuaries do.

Yes, Brisbane in South-East Queensland and Northern Rivers of New South Wales are currently experiencing yet another one in a hundred year year flood. Why not resume all the flooded land and make it into parkland – better still, put it under local control – all local councils to veto yet another stupid development. Blackfellas looked after this place for thousands of years. So why are we subjected to these johnny-come lately land developers, Brisbane City Council and state government maaates building on the floodplain when they are only interested in profit?

We should stop building dams and coal fired power stations and design publicly owned solar farms and wind generators.

We should stop mining coal and exporting it.

Argyle Street, Mullumbimby 1 March 2022

Here are some more videos and pictures of the current Brisbane flood that hit suburbs on 27-28 February 2022. Compare this to the articles below about the 1974 and 2011 floods – (Edge of Darkness Series).

Brisbane Floods 2022

Rainfall in the Redlands this month has set a record, greater than 1974.

The main street of Mullumbimby is a disaster …

Brisbane City Council flood map 28 Feb 2022

Guyatt Park, St Lucia – where the famous 1978 guerilla march for democratic rights ended.

Ian Curr
4 March 2022

3 thoughts on “Yet another one in a hundred year event

  1. STOP PRESS *** STOP PRESS *** Urgent update.

    My post after the one you show below gave the final rainfall for the month, including the BOM Redlands measurements. And I graphed the daily rainfall at our place and the BOM station for February. This shows how the day to day totals can vary between nearby sites but often the monthly totals are very similar. So I put a graph of the monthly totals for all of 2021 compared to BOM Redlands to show the monthly similarity.

    You could also add the graph below, which compares the annual total rainfall at our place since 2004 with the long term average (since about 1899) of BOM Ormiston (now closed) and BOM Redlands (at Alexandria Hills research station) – current station 140007.

    Ta Trev the Weatherman
    5 March 2022

    “NEW Rainfall Record in the Redlands too – I’ve measured 922 mm to 10pm tonight for the whole month so far. This is a NEW record for Redlands. The biggest previous monthly rainfall total in the Redlands was Jan 1974 at 909mm according to BOM data.

    Redlands flood 2022

    If this keeps up most of the night, we may be in for some serious record flood levels by the king high tide of 2.5m at 8am tomorrow morning. I’ll be checking water levels for Hilliards Creek at the end of Bligh Rd at that time to see if it is even higher up the farthest gate. The photo shows the highest level I have seen before in 22 years of living here in Jan 2022 after some rain and a 2.7m king tide. This time we have had much more rain. But we may be spared as the radar is showing the rain now contracting southwards as predicted.”

    There is only one solution – Trevolution!

    Trev the weatherman
    3 March 2022

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