NEWS - Floods sink South Eastern Australia

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Navigation hazards for weeks and months to come on southern Qld coast

NEWS - Floods sink South Eastern Australia
Floods sinks South Eastern Australia

In what’s been termed a surreal if not apocalyptic scene, dozens of unmanned boats, jetties and other boating amenities — not to mention a sea of personal items, hundreds of metres of public walkways, and building and housing materials — were ripped from their moorings or foundations, smashed into bridge pylons, and washed down the severely flooded Brisbane River in recent days. Worse, more than 40 people were feared drowned.

The river height reached 4.46m on January 13, lower than the 5.45m it hit in 1974, but the damage was more widespread due increased population and housing. Estimates said as many as 25,000 homes were inundated and more than 100,000 didn’t have power at one point. After a month of rain, the pleasureboat industry had simply shut down in SE Queensland, although boats and paddle craft were in many towns the best way to get around.

Liveaboard boaters hunkered down off the Botanical Gardens, a popular anchorage on the Brisbane River, were forced to flee as the water rose. But the devastating floods weren’t just confined to Brisbane. Swollen rivers, flooded homes and damaged waterfront amenities were reported on the Sunshine Coast, while dozens of yachts sunk on the Burnett River at Bundaberg.

One Bundy local said a flotilla of boats was washed up in mangroves, seemingly irretrievable, while many other craft were simply sucked out to sea. The runaway boats and refuse would remain navigation hazards for weeks and months to come. (Check marine notices regarding navigation at
However, some homeowners found their boats were saviours or veritable arks during the height of the floods.

Staring at an approaching wall of flood water, one Grantham local started his outboard-powered boat and set about rescuing neighbours. Rescue crews also found tinnies the best way to get around. Back down around Brisbane, a large bull shark was reportedly spotted cruising in the flooded suburban streets. Snakes were even more common, while native fish from freshwater dams in catchments to the west were caught by hand having been washed down to the coast.

A number of looters were apprehended trying to steal runaway boats in the Brisbane River, where the port was closed by Marine Safety Queensland. Boating and waterfront infrastructure in Northern NSW was also severely damaged by floods, especially along the Clarence River. The death toll from the January floods was expected to rise to 40, with young children among the drowned. (See all the images at – David Lockwood

Photos (Getty): Brisbane River, January 11 and 12- A castaway cat drifts past Brisbane's flooded CBD; The irony is not lost here, a wakeboat rides high-and-dry on its inflatable berth still tied to a pontoon it's fate unknown; A lot of boats met an unfortunate end
under low-lying bridges or smashing into bridge pylons, like here at the Captain Cook Bridge.


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