GUNDAGAI FLOODS in NSW .1844…1852 . 1853..and other years

Australia’s deadliest flood was at Gundagai, NSW, 1852, when 89 people died and an entire settlement of 250 people people was destroyed

1852 gundagai floods


Located along the Murrumbidgee River


Have been to Gundagai and seen the historical markers and the flooding history

Well worth a visit.
I would like to collect information on this event here over time. Feel free to contribute

The original European town that was gazetted as Gundagai in 1838 was situated on the right hand bank of the Murrumbidgee River floodplain at the place colloquially known as ‘The Crossing Place’. This town was hit by several large floods of the Murrumbidgee River. The Crown Commissioner for the Murrumbidgee District, Henry Bingham, praised the heroic actions of Aboriginal people at Gundagai in rescuing settlers from the 1844 flood. Bingham also requested a reward for local Aboriginal people.[34]

Gundagai was still considered a frontier town in 1852.[35] The 25 June 1852 Murrumbidgee flood swept the first colonial town of Gundagai away, killing at least 78 people (perhaps 89) of the town’s population of 250 people; it is one of the largest natural disasters in Australia’s history. Local Aboriginal men, Yarri, Jacky Jacky, Long Jimmy and one other played a role in saving many Gundagai people from the 1852 floodwaters, rescuing more than 40 people using bark canoes.[36]

Following an even higher flood in 1853, North Gundagai was redeveloped at its current site on Asbestos Hill and Mount Parnassus, above the river, and at South Gundagai on the slopes of Brummies Hill, using pre-existing surveyors plans.[37] The town commemorated the sesquicentenary of the flood in 2002.[36]

The flood of June 1891 left several pastoral workers and four rescuers who set out in a boat, stranded in trees just to the south of Gundagai. Edward True dragged a light skiff several miles over hills to the rescue site and managed to save several men from drowning.[38]

In recent years the Gundagai wetlands and marshes that were home to many bird species, have disappeared, largely as a result of ground compaction by cattle and Gundagai Shire Council diverting ground water into underground pipes. These wetlands were on the North Gundagai Common; adjacent to the Gundagai High School; between Bourke and West Streets to the north of Punch Street; to the west and north of the North Gundagai cemetery; and at Coolac.

Major floods also occurred in 1974 and 2012.”


Here is a link to many pictures of GUNDAGAI FLOODS by BING SEARCH ENGINE


One comment on “GUNDAGAI FLOODS in NSW .1844…1852 . 1853..and other years

  1. An historical account by
    Gundagai Floods 1852
    Posted by Mark Lawson on April 12, 2013
    About Mark Lawson
    Mark Lawson writes on flooding and environmental issues. For the last 2 years he has reported on flood disasters around the world for FloodList. He is originally from the UK but currently lives in Germany.

    .., the Gundagai floods of 1852 were some of the worst to ever hit the country. The floods resulted in eighty nine deaths, the most Australia has ever seen from flooding.

    Gundagai is next to the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales, which flows north westerly for five hundred and fifty nine miles. It is one of the main tributaries of the Murray River, so it is not surprising how much it has flooded.
    There were a number of crossing points, but this was one of the main ones, which eventually turned into the Great South Road.
    Floods had occurred here before in 1844, but the 1852 flood was larger with a higher death toll. A third of the population of the town of only two hundred and fifty inhabitants were taken in the flood waters.

    In 1852 the town was considered to be colonial, but on the 25th June that year, a flash flood hit and the town was swept away. Luckily for the townspeople, Aboriginal men who lived in the area were able to help rescue people. Using their canoes made of bark, they floated easily and saved forty people who were stranded in the water. The men received medals for their bravery, as well as payment from all of the inhabitants as a gesture of goodwill, although one of the aborigines died shortly after from being exposed to the conditions. The act of the aborigines was remembered, and represented a resolution of any problems between the locals and the natives.

    Only three houses were left standing after the flood waters receded. However, once the clean up was completed, another flood hit in 1853. Gundagai was then rebuilt on higher ground of the surrounding hills of Mount Parnassus and Asbestos Hill to save any similar incidents in future. Even with the relocation, the area still suffered from floods. In 1891, rescue workers and farmers were left stranded in trees because of the rising water.
    The Murrumbidee River has risen over seven metres on nine separate occasions since 1852, which averages out at once every eleven years.

    Gundagai was to suffer further floods throughout the years, the most recent being in 2012, when much of Queensland and parts of New South Wales were badly struck.

    Ha.. I have ben to that chinese restaurant in the main street (you tube above) with the napkins on the table.
    Excellent meal!

    Mark also used this information from Charles Sturt University

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