Museum of Brisbane

Remembering the floods

To mark four years since the devastating 2011 Queensland floods, we have added new photographs to our award-winning exhibition, The River: a history of Brisbane. Thanks to a recent acquisition in the Museum of Brisbane collection, visitors can now see images of the devastating Brisbane River floods of 1893.


From a place of beauty and peace to its function as a central artery of settlement, trade and defence, the River has had many roles. However it is easy to forget that it has also caused much damage in the short history of our city.

The flood of 1893 was later referred to as the Great Flood. That year, the Brisbane River burst its banks on three occasions throughout the month of February. The Victoria Bridge and the Indooroopilly Railway Bridge were swept away and low lying areas of South Brisbane and West End on the banks of the River were especially vulnerable to the raging torrent. The force of the water shifted houses from their stumps in West End and sent them down River to be smashed against the remaining pylons of the Victoria Bridge.

The total rainfall in Brisbane over eight days was about 20 inches (500mm) and the Brisbane River rose 23 feet (7 metres) above its ordinary level – 10 feet (3 metres) higher than the previous flood of 1890. Brisbane suffered approximately £2,000,000 worth of damages.

Below is the section from The River: A history of Brisbane where we have profiled this event, as well as a quote from the Queensland Times. Next time you visit the Museum make sure you visit the new edition of this exhibition.

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central artery of settlement, trade and defence