Festival Hall and Albert Street during the Brisbane River flood in 1974

News of the day

Canberra Times, Thursday 31 January 1974, page 1

Brisbane flood toll reaches 13


BRISBANE, Wednesday - The bodies of three men found today as the flood waters in Brisbane dropped have brought the death toll in the Brisbane floods to 13 and two men are missing, believed dead.


None of the men found today in South Brisbane fits the descriptions of the missing men.


Mopping-up operations began in the flood ravaged areas of Brisbane today. Thick layers of mud covered most floors, while broken windows and sagging plaster added to the scene of destruction.


Neighbours formed working bees and moved from one house to the next in some suburbs.


Panic buying has left Brisbane with a shortage of some foods but fresh supplies are expected later in the week. Radio announcements have told people where fresh milk can be obtained, in some cases in plastic bags.


Essential foodstuffs such as bread, meat, and eggs are almost impossible to obtain and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Houston, has called on the Government to introduce immediate price-control on food and clothing.


A Post Office spokes-man said the damage to telephone and postal equipment would exceed $2 million.


The Minister for Northern Development and Northern Territory, Dr Patterson, said yesterday that the devastating floods in the high-rainfall areas of North Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory had been the worst large-scale catastrophe recorded in the northern cattle country.


Losses of breeding cows and calves had caused the Gulf Country a set back from which it would take many years to recover.


The level of the Brisbane River dropped sharply today, although the suburbs of South Brisbane, Indooroopilly, St Lucia, Chelmer, Jindalee, and Milton were still affected by floodwaters.


When Cyclone Wanda crossed the Queensland coast on 24 January 1974 it drew in its wake a monsoonal trough which, in just three days, deposited 642.6 millimetres of rain on Brisbane. Surrounding areas experienced similar downpours, with huge quantities of rainwater pouring into the catchments of the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers. Exacerbated by abnormally high tides and clogged drains, the waters rose to inundate many districts in southern Queensland. Brisbane and Ipswich were severely affected, with 13,750 houses damaged. At the height of the flood the tanker Robert Miller broke its moorings in the Brisbane River and narrowly missed colliding with a block of residential units at New Farm. 16 people lost their lives and 8000 were left homeless in one of the worst floods to hit southern Queensland in European history.


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