Coastal South East Queensland and North East

Historic. 1954 Flood, Damage in the streets of Lismore after the 1954 flood. The Northern Star Archives


lismore floods 1954

The strategy of levees, flood gates and canals used today to mitigate flooding was seeded in the 1954 aftermath, along with radical ideas such as house buybacks pioneered in flood-prone Lismore.

After the crisis the State Government created floodplain management committees up and down the coast, including the Richmond River County Council (RRCC) in 1959.

Michael Bath of the Northern Rivers Severe Weather Group said an ex-tropical cyclone of a similar magnitude and position to 1954 would wreak havoc along the coast.

“If that happened now, all those canals in the Gold Coast would be inundated.”

Also, the extreme flash flooding nature of 1954 meant public infrastructure damage – roads, bridges, rail lines, and landslips – tended to be worse than a more gradual flood.

“If that happened now, all those canals in the Gold Coast would be inundated.”

Also, the extreme flash flooding nature of 1954 meant public infrastructure damage – roads, bridges, rail lines, and landslips – tended to be worse than a more gradual flood.

(Thanks to’ Hopeful’ from weatherzone forum for this post on the 1954 eastern Australian flooding

I walked along COOLONGATTA beach last month and saw a historical plaque about this event
I will have to go back and get some more details . If l remember either Coolangatta or Rainbow beach were named from this event. As both those names were boats that were sunk in severe weather

Must find some more information on this interesting event

Here is an article reminiscing this event. Notice Michael Bath’s name in this report.. Good on you Michael for your work in documenting severe weather. Michael is a moderator at Weatherzone forum and an excellent weather photographer!


4 comments on “1954 FLOOD and CYCLONE

  1. YEP

    Found this information re : 1954
    “Coolangatta. Wooden brigantine, 88 tons. Built NSW, 1843; reg. Sydney, 10/1844. Length 63 ft. Ashore and lost north of Tweed River, August 1846. Most of the crew walked overland to the nearest settlement and eventually returned to Sydney by sea. Attempts to salvage her failed. She has given her name to the now-famous holiday resort. [LN],[SAN]”


    MAIN PAGE .. Entrance to data base and search facility

  2. I was born in 1950 in Murwillumbah and the 1954 cyclone was the first and worst in my living memory on what is now the Gold Coast and had nothing to do with Coolangatta being named, which by the way was in the late 1800’s

  3. Thanks to ‘maca-wx’ from the Weatherzone forum for this link on the 1954 cyclone
    he posted this here

    The cyclone that wiped out Byron Bay’s fishing industry..1954

    THANKS TO THE ABC for this compilation of the 1954 cyclone on its 60th anniversary

    “In 1954 a severe cyclone crossed the border from southern Queensland, washing away part of the Byron Bay jetty and taking with it almost the entire town’s fishing fleet. A long-time local fisherman looks back at that disastrous day on its 60th anniversary.PrintEmailPermalinkShare
    On the night of 20 February 1954, cyclonic winds and wild waves pushed the sea right into the Byron Bay town.
    The morning after, local fishermen went down to the jetty to scope out the damage, only to find most of it was gone.
    Its outer section had been torn away, along with more than 22 boats, which made up more than two-thirds of the local fishing fleet.
    “The sea was actually breaking over Julian Rocks, right over the top of it, and they were rolling all the way to the beach,” third generation fisherman Brian Bienke says.
    Brian was in his late teens at the time, his first boat one of those taken by the storms that night.
    “My father had lost two boats before that in different heavy weather, and he just couldn’t bring himself to go and have a look.”
    This devastating natural disaster put an end to the Byron Bay fishing industry.
    Many of the local fishermen were forced to move their operation to Brunswick Heads.
    Some decided to give up.
    “A lot of them just went and got jobs at Norco or somewhere else, and gave it away. I didn’t blame them.”

    (The Byron Bay jetty in 1948, before it was washed away in the 1954 cyclone. (Supplied – Brian Bienke )


    Living through the 1954 Gold Coast cyclone

    60 years on: Kyogle residents “will never forget” 1954 floods

    Daring rescue in the eye of the 1954 cyclone

    1954 record floods: locals recall white-water rapids through Lismore
    By Margaret Burin

    Remembering the 1954 NSW floods

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