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What to expect when a major flood tops the levee

A boy rides his horse in Prince St. as a way of getting around the 1950 Grafton flood.
A boy rides his horse in Prince St. as a way of getting around the 1950 Grafton flood. Newscorp archive

TO INFORM the community of the consequences of a higher flood, two sources of information can be used - high tech modelling and historical records.

Articles available online from The Daily Examiner archives are illustrative when studying the history of flooding in Grafton.

From articles in The Daily Examiner archives on the historical floods there are a few things that can be learnt about what it was like, and potentially would be like, if floodwaters entered Grafton again. A summary of what these historic articles say about floodwaters in Grafton show that:

  • When a flood happens it is likely that at the flood peak in Grafton the weather will be bright, sunny, and hot. Obviously this is far from ideal when considering humidity, odour, and sanitation.
  • Floodwaters in Grafton will not disappear quickly - old articles often talk about the floodwaters remaining around Grafton for four or five days after they've peaked.

 

ABOVE: The Grafton Showground's Barn has seen a few floods in its lifetime.  Photo supplied: Rod Lee. RIGHT: A boy rides his horse in Prince St as a way of getting around the 1950 Grafton flood.  Photo: Newcorp Archives
ABOVE: The Grafton Showground's Barn has seen a few floods in its lifetime. Photo supplied: Rod Lee. RIGHT: A boy rides his horse in Prince St as a way of getting around the 1950 Grafton flood. Photo: Newcorp Archives Rod Lee
  • Essential services may be disrupted. For example, in 1967 at the height of the flood with water covering the major part of the city residents were being asked to conserve water due to a break in a water main somewhere under the flood. Residents were also asked to boil their drinking water. Power and telephones have also been lost in flood times.
  • It is likely though that throughout the flood some people will be having the times of their lives - like the impromptu water carnival in the 1928 flood.
  • Unfortunately there may be flood-related deaths. Although it seems there have only been a handful of flood-related deaths in Grafton. There have of course been many more outside of Grafton in rural areas. An article from 1950 details that two people were drowned in Grafton floodwaters - one in Cranworth St, the other in Kent St.

 

Grafton residents remove furniture from their home in 1950.
Grafton residents remove furniture from their home in 1950. Newscorp archives

THIS article appeared in our 12-page feature Great Wall of Grafton - 50 Years of Flood Levee Protection which ran in The Daily Examiner on Wednesday, June 14. Still don't have your copy? Don't worry, the last remaining editions are still available at The Daily Examiner office located at 55 Fitzroy St, Grafton.

Topics:  grafton flood



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