The Maryborough flood in 1893.
The Maryborough flood in 1893.

LOOKING BACK: Floods part of the history of M’boro

IT WOULD be impossible to tell the story of Maryborough without telling of the floods.

The Chronicle has been there through all of it, reporting on businesses that went under water and how the city came together in the aftermath of disaster.

The Chronicle recalls floods in the 1870s, but it was the 1893 flood that has been called the worst in Queensland's history.

The Maryborough CBD, Kent St. The levee overflowed about 1am Tuesday.
The Maryborough CBD, Kent St. The levee overflowed about 1am Tuesday. Robyne Cuerel

At the Bond Store, the heights of the different floods have been recorded, with the highest, in 1893, reaching halfway up the windows on the second storey.

As water flooded the main streets, legend has it some men decided to sit on the veranda of the Grand Hotel in Maryborough's March St to watch the water rise, but soon it was lapping at their feet.

In 1955, as rain was bucketing down in Maryborough, the Chronicle reported the desperate residents in The Pocket, enclosed on three sides by the Mary River, watched as floodwaters inundated their homes.

As a member of Rotary, Allen Lloyd Lambert, known all his life as Lloyd, was keen to help out in any way he could, helping to rescue people and pets from the rising water that swept many homes away.

Mr Lambert has fond memories of rowing down Adelaide St, assisting shopkeepers in moving possessions to higher ground and delivering food and other provisions to residents who had been cut off by floodwaters.

Maryborough clean-up - bandleader Mel Neilsen sweeps water out of the Excelsior Band Hall. First time the new hall has flooded since it was built in 1986.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Maryborough clean-up - bandleader Mel Neilsen sweeps water out of the Excelsior Band Hall. First time the new hall has flooded since it was built in 1986.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

In 2011, floods hit again.

The date was January 11, 2011, and Maryborough was experiencing its worst flood since the 1990s.

Over the next two days, 26 businesses were inundated, with losses totalling $4.5 million with a further $12 million in damages to Fraser Coast Regional Council infrastructure.

Melissa White from Earles Paint Place in Adelaide St said she remembered how quickly her team had to work to move the entire store's paint supply to higher ground, in a race against rapidly rising waters.

Maryborough faced flooding in 2012 and then again when ex-tropical cyclone Oswald hit the region in 2013.

Mary River in flood - view from Maryborough CBD towards Tinana.
Mary River in flood - view from Maryborough CBD towards Tinana. Alistair Brightman

The floodwaters peaked at 10.7 metres and caused significant damage to the CBD; 64 CBD businesses were affected and more than $15 million worth of damage was caused to council infrastructure.

Single mother Vicky Green, 21, lost everything when the cottage she was renting in Fort St flooded.
Single mother Vicky Green, 21, lost everything when the cottage she was renting in Fort St flooded. Robyne Cuerel


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