Floods in the Hunter

Floods in the Hunter
ABC Radio 1233 Broadcast – 19 June 2007 1.30pm
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Guest: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, University of Newcastle

The recent devastating storms and floods and the beaching of the coal ship the Pasha Bulker has again drawn focus to the subject of flooding in the Hunter Region. I have been involved with the Coal River Working Party and the re-discovery of the the birthplace of the Australian coal mining industry in the long lost convict mines of Newcastle. Such work has made us very aware of the importance of the Region with regards to the climate change debate and where we choose to head in the future. I was therefore very interested in ascertaining from the historical record to what extent flooding was a natural and ongoing feature of the landscape and to what degree was climate change a factor in the current intensity of storms. The Hunter Region has a long history of recorded floods from Aboriginal dreaming stories to the earliest records of the white settlers dating from 1818-1820 to the present. Click for the complete “Floods in the Hunter” Broadcast Notes by Gionni Di Gravio

Digital Resources

1801 – Barrallier Survey

“COAL HARBOUR and RIVERS on the Coast of New South Wales Surveyed by ENSIGN BARRALLIER In His Majesty’s Armed Surveying Vessell – LADY NELSON. LIEUT JAMES GRANT Commander In june and july 1801 By Order of GOVERNOR KING. Recently re-discovered in its complete form by the University of Newcastle’s Coal River Working Party.

Barrallier Survey 1801

For the original accounts of the Grant Survey mission to the Hunter Region in 1801 please consult the the historical documents page on the Coal River Working Party website.

1870 – Floods in the Hunter Report – Testimony of John Eckford
Full title: Floods in the Hunter: report of Commission appointed to organise into and report respecting floods in the district of The Hunter River. Sydney: Thomas Richards, Govt. Printer, 1870.

Floods in the Hunter - 1870 ReportFloods in the Hunter - 1870 Report - John EckfordFloods in the Hunter - 1870 Report - John Eckford

1893 Flood Photographs – Click “View all Images” to view slideshow

From Memento of Maitland floods, March 1893, May 1913 : 24 views. [Maitland, N.S.W. : s.n., 1913?] (Maitland : T.Dimmock). Cultural Coll/RB 551.48909944 MEME

1908 Flooding in Newcastle
From: Newcastle & Hunter District Historical Society Archives.
Photograph A8804/P441 Newcastle West Flood in Steel Street (off Hunter Street) in 1908.

Newcastle Flood 1908
Click here for a larger image

Record Rainfall – Twelve Inches Registered – Flooding in Newcastle – Rescue in Boats
– Newcastle Herald 25 February 1908

1913 Flood Photographs – Click “View all Images” to view slideshow
From: Souvenir of the Maitland flood 1913. Newcastle, N.S.W. : Davies & Cannington, [1913]. Cultural Coll/RB 551.48909944 SOUV

1955 Flood – South Maitland Railways – 1955 Flood Photographs
From: South Maitland Railways Limited Archives: A5578 (xiii) Photographs of floods 1955 and locomotives.

2 thoughts on “Floods in the Hunter

  1. i have a question. I grew up in Maud St Mayfield West in the 50’s and 60’s I was wondering was there anything documented about the flash flooding that occured on a regular basis when we had heavy rain back then.? My parents home was always flooded at the bottom end of Maud St and when Commonwealth Steel built the concrete wall things only got worse. 1954, 55,58 and I remember also 1963,and 67 plus once I left home the waters came up again in 1973. From what I remember the waters came from the run-off from the Abatoir paddocks.

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