Brisbane, Queensland, January 1974

Flood - Brisbane River

Quick Statistics

13 Fatalities
300 Injured
$68 million Insurance Costs
56 Homes Destroyed

On 24 January 1974, torrential rain and record breaking floods were a direct result of Tropical Cyclone Wanda, which crossed north of Brisbane.

Record flooding occurred in the Bulloo, Paroo, middle and lower reaches of the Flinders, Norman, Gilbert, Cooper, Diamantina, Georgina and Eyre rivers and creeks as well as Nerang, Brisbane City metropolitan, upper Brisbane, Bremer, Warrill and Logan rivers. By 29 January the Brisbane area had recorded 900 mm of rain. Brisbane also received 314 mm of rain in a 24 hour period surpassing the previous record established in 1931.

Six thousand houses were inundated by flood waters, where 56 were either completely destroyed or deemed uninhabitable. There was widespread damage to infrastructure including roads, railways and bridges as well as power lines, resulted in serious power failures throughout the affected regions. Business and industries sustained millions of dollars in losses due to heavy deluge.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimated the 1974 damage at $68 million, with the 2011 estimated normalised cost of $2645 million.


Information Sources

Australian Government Culture, 18 February 2011, website viewed 18 May 2011
Bureau of Meteorology, Tropical cyclone impacts along the Australian east coast from November 1858 to 2000, website viewed 18 May 2011
Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland flood summary 1970-1979, website viewed 18 May 2011
Insurance Council of Australia Historical and current disaster statistics, 21 April 2011, website viewed 18 May 2011
ABC Broadcast Transcript Stateline Rewind, Brisbane floods broadcast, 23 January 2004, website viewed 18 May 2011