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This Day in History

Australian History

Wednesday, February 23, 1955. :   Floods begin in the Hunter Valley, Australia, ultimately claiming 25.

     Australia, a country subject to devastating drought and bushfires, was hit by floods in 1955. In the latter months of 1954, heavy rainfall had already saturated the eastern coast of Queensland and New South Wales, while the countryside was still recovering from flooding in 1949 and the early 1950s. On 23 February 1955, an intensifying monsoon depression moved south from Queensland, and with it came torrential rainfall. The Hunter River was most affected, particularly the town of Maitland, where about 15,000 people were evacuated. Flooding also hit nearby Singleton, causing the evacuation of another 1600.

The floods extended down the Macquarie River to towns such as Dubbo, where 4000 were evacuated, and as far west as Warren and Narromine. Flooding of the Namoi and Gwydir Rivers caused devastation in Moree and Narrabri. The Castlereagh River was also flooded, causing the destruction of many buildings in the town of Gilgandra. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, "a hole torn in the main street was later found to contain two large semi-trailers". (http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/flood5.htm) Ultimately, twenty five people were killed in the floods.

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