The history of floods on our mighty coastal rivers.

Submitted: Saturday, Nov 01, 2014 at 22:07
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Have spent a few weeks clearing a neglected property at the top end of the Manning river on the East Coast NSW, and have been amazed at what some of the locals have shown me in regard to the big flood heights over time. I'm a long way up and in some of the gullys the waterline has been in excess of 5Omtrs above normal level, which is quiet awesome when you sight from bank to bank.Its also a reminder to campers to think about where they set up if weather is not good up stream ,water travels fast...But on some of the low lying banks lined with white cedar trees and some rainforest species, its enough to lure anyone in for a few days of bliss...lol.


Cheers Axle
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 00:02

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 00:02
Axle, it doesn't need a big flood to wash you away. In the early 1930's, my old man was working on stations in the Murchison.
A group of blokes, including him, were travelling from one station to another in the floodplain area of the upper reaches of the Gascoyne River, during mid-Summer.

They had a 4 cyl Chev and a Dodge piled up with gear and they stopped to make camp for the night in a nice substantial, beautifully treed creekbed.
The creek would have been one of the Gascoynes tributaries. One of the blokes was an old experienced "bushie" - and despite this, he and the rest all decided to spread their swags out in the nice soft sand of the creek bed. It was a fine clear Summer night.

The old man was woken by the old bushie shaking his shoulder about 2:00AM.
The old bushie said, "I've seen a lot of lightning in the inland in the last couple of hours. I think we should move right out of the creek bed and up onto high ground.

All the blokes were woken and all the swags and cars and gear were moved up onto high ground above the creek channel.
They were just readying to bed back down again, when they heard some noise. They all walked over to the edge of the channel just in time to see a solid wall of water rolling down the creek about 4' (1.2M) high. The wall of water was nearly the full width of the creek.

They stood and watched in awe as the water rushed past and slowly increased in depth. They all turned in, and when they rose in the morning, the creek was running a "banker"!

The old man said the sky was clear for virtually as far as they could see, all night, all around them - and they would have all been drowned and washed out to sea, if the old fella hadn't been alert and wised-up to the sudden onset of flash floods caused by big thunderstorms in the outback.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Axle - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:34

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:34
Its unreal what happens Ron,...You can't beat experience!


Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:22

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:22
When I was about 21, Ron, worked with a few old ringers like the "old bushie". They hit the swag early, like maybe 8pm, dropped off literally in seconds, but by 3am would sitting up in the swag having a smoke.

Maybe the old bloke wasn't real happy about the campsite, but went along with the young blokes to keep the peace........and kept a "weather eye" open through the night.

Good yarn Ron,

Bob

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Reply By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 00:46

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 00:46
Hi Axle,

I have been in awe of some of the floods in recent history in that area and further north. Having camped in parts of North Queensland and Remote areas of the New England Tablelands in some big rains in the 70s and 80s I know how dangerous flash floods can be.

Actually raced one from Panhandle Ck and Robard Ck area (Between Proserpine and Collinsville) to the Bogie River at Binbee Qld back in the early 80s on an old XL500 trail bike with my wife on the back - some crossings were dry others were rising and one was about to be hit with a wall of water - literally had to drag the bike through one crossing with rope and ride over an old eroded culvert about 6" wide to ensure we got out to the main road before the main body of water closed the track completely.

We had been camping and could hear thunder all around us that night but no rain - had a gut feeling we should skip the morning coffee and hightail it outta there - only just made it out, we had water lapping our heels all the way - just like in the movies...

So lucky that residential properties built recently on flood plains have not had a major disaster. I imagine that it is only a matter of time.
Having lived in Qld for most of my early life and expreienced real torrentiol rainfall in areas where there were few people and no weather stations to record it. I would never buy property that was not on a hill or some sort of elevated position.

Many places in SE Qld deemed to be too wet and swampy in the 40s 50s and 60s are now prime real estate. Previously flood prone land became a goldmine for developers since the rain dried up in the 50s. (deforestation??)

Its hard to imagine but further North up at Springvale Homestead near Katherine NT I was amazed to see flood stranded Logs sitting in trees 10 or more metres above the homestead grounds. The then manager (my brother) showed us a screwdriver hammered into the top of a tree during a flood in the 1980s. The amazing thing about this is that you are standing on a massive flat plain not a gully or valley. It is hard to comprehend the volume of water that must flow down Katherine Gorge during some extreme wet seasons. Reports of 4200mm of rain in 4 days have been scoffed at with people saying - it must be an error and the figure was most likely 420mm in 4 days... go figure.

Also at Monsidale Creek near Linville Qld there is still evidence of the magnitude of the 74 Floods Logs and trees caught up in trees hundreds of metres from the actual creek. I cannnot imagine how deep it was at the time.

I also have verbal reports from farmers in the area who reported to, I think it was SEQEB at the time, that power transmission towers had gone under water - only to be told by the authority that that was impossible. Yeah right ..and "here is the photo", said the farmer... oops - so much for hydrological engineers and their educated estimations based on recent records.

In August 2007 at Coops Corner behind Rainbow Beach 1130mm of rain fell in a 24 hour period the heaviest fall in 1 hour was 297mm this was recorded at station 540209 but because it was an automated station and personnell were unable to get to the site to confirm the data - it was not given status of an official record. (Indigo Jones on 2 February 1893 recorded the highest official daily rainfall in Australia 35.71 inches (or 907 mm) at Crohamhurst near Peachester Qld). I was one of the first people to get to the Coops Corner site after the flood receded.
I took this photo of the inside of the pump house which was located well above all previous flood heights



The interesting thing about this is - although we discourage people from camping on flood prone camping areas and creek banks the local council happily allowed homes to be built on flood plains between 40 and 80 km away from this rain event and 30km and just over a small range from Indigo Jones's recorded event.

The whole east coast has experienced massive floods in the past who knows when or if they will return.




Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Axle - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:41

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:41
Your right about councils and where they allow development,

I know in our area if big floods return, it will be chaos.


Cheers.
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Reply By: scandal - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 07:15

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 07:15
Flash flood, in the upper hunter region NSW
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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 07:27

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 07:27
Gday Axle
One afternoon we were well into finishing hard facing a crusher and a few drops of rain came down on us. I told the boys to pack up and get ready to leave as if we left it to late we wouldn't be able to get across the river . Sure enough, when we arrived at the river there were 10 other cars full of men waiting to go across as the river was running too deep and fast. Up until this point we had really not had rain and all around was still dry..West of Makay 1982. Back to camp for a shower,a feed,and a wait.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:16

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:16
Geez Muzza, that is a serious stutter you have there mate, perhaps you should get some help for that. LOL

Cheers, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Axle - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:59

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:59
Its the Flood scare he got all those yrs Ago!..LOL.


cheers.
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Follow Up By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 20:30

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 20:30
Gday
Looks like my stutter has been repaired....Gee those moderators are good .. Don't you just love them..See you next weekend mr Moderator.
Muzbry
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:11

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:11
Hi Axle,
I live on the Hastings catchment which feeds into Port Macquarie, just up the road aways from where you were working, more or less. But the next river north of here is the Macleay and there are some harrowing stories of floods on that river.

The Macleay has the biggest if not one of the biggest catchments on all of these easterly flowing rivers east of the Great Divide in NSW

In 1949 there was a major flood which nearly washed the town of Kempsey out to see. Many houses were seen floating down stream some with people still on the verandah roofs calling for help as they floated by, never to be seen again, and many more houses were flattened in the town.

There were several extraordinary circumstances which contributed to such a disastrous event.

The first of these was that there had been a heavy snow fall up in the table lands around Uralla and surrounding areas a day or so before. Then there came a heavy downfall of rain across the upper catchment of the Macleay which thawed out the snow and virtually created two rainfall events in one apparently.

This sudden increase in river flows washed many bridges out and scoured the banks and river flats taking all manner of debris downstream such as big floods do.

One of the bridges washed up against the train bridge across the Macleay on the southern edge of the Kempsey Township and started to collect more and more debri as it came down stream. According to one report I heard from an eye witness living at that time right near the bridge, the river height on the upstream side of the train bridges was ten feet higher than it was on the downstream side.

Eventually the river broke through the railway embankment on the northern side of the bridge and the sudden rush of water took many houses and flattened many more. The town was never the same again as evidenced from the before and after photographs I have seen.

Kempsey still gets many floods and the people of Kempsey have learnt to deal with them. It is still one hell of a problem but there is some very crucial early reports from people living on the upper Macleay which generally provide some important early warnings as to river heights. These reports are monitored on a minute by minute basis when it looks like a flood event is immanent.

I am old enough to remember the news reels of the Maitland floods in 56 I think it was. They covered a vast area also and similar scenes can be seen on the Macleay in virtually any flood event there. There is a lot of country that goes under water once the river gets past the town and out onto the flood plain or The Macleay River Delta as I call it.

In full flood the current traffic bridge, built in 1958, which crosses the Macleay into Kempsey, vibrates they tell me.

I don't think there has been a heavy rain event right across the catchment since 1949 and 1963, but if ever they get a severe rain event right across the entire catchment that will be a major flood event also I don't doubt.

The last big flood was in 2001 which isolated the town for a few days and cut the Pacific Highway in several places from Kempsey north to Clybucca.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Axle - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:55

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 08:55
G/Day Bruce, My Brother has lived in Port for 35yrs and has witnessed a few floods, but not the real big ones as you mention.

Its a worry though, he moved out to Blackmans point a few yrs ago and build a house on the back water of the Hastings, this particular block has never flooded in the last 40yrs according to his research, but in the last 3yrs water has come from a different direction in heavy rain due to development in a certain area and has him very concerned.


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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 09:24

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 09:24
The difference Axle is that the Hastings catchment is only a fraction of the Macleay's catchment.

The Macleay Catchment runs virtually from the high point on the Great Divide East of Tamworth/Nundle area to Armidale and all points east of that. It is a huge area so they get huge floods.

And you are right, the flood heights in some of those up river gullies has to be seen to be believed. We were looking at property west of Kempsey when we first thought about moving up this way back in 85. One property was back in the hills and to get there you needed to cross many gullies and on the way back into Kempsey I noticed debri on the fences about 20 to 30 feet or more above the roadway in many places.

I thought, Nope, not here. Finally settled on the Hastings catchment. That is not to say we don't get flooded in, and we have seen some beauties here also but nothing like the Macleay.

That is another point you have raised there regarding developement. That drastically changes the water courses and can aggravate local flooding no end in some circumstances.

I know Blackmans point well and I understand your brothers concern.
Nice little part of the world there all the same.

Cheers, Bruce.

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Follow Up By: Member Kerry W (WA) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:01

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:01
Its interesting Bruce those events like the 1949 Macleay flood and bigger were quite common in the distant past.
Seems like they are/were a double edge sword.
When I studied the Geology of the area. It was common knowledge in the 70s that the Erosion of the New England and Mt Warning Area by massive floodwaters (much greater than we see today) was the source of all the magnificent beaches and sand islands up the coast to Fraser Island. The SE Trade winds and heavy seas historically migrate the freshly eroded sand and sediments northwards from the Macleay, Bellengen and Clarance Rivers. The northward sand migration ceases just below the southern end of the Great barrier reef where wave action is mitigated by the reef. Basically the sands journey currently finishes at Breaksea Spit north of Fraser island and behind the relative calm of the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.

Since those floods of a very high magnitude no longer occur (and associated erosion) the sand supply has reduced and those islands and beaches are no longer building up.
It is interesting to note that Breaksea Spit (extending over 40k north of Fraser Is is the only area up the coast where sand is accumulating.

One of the factors creating what we are observing with beaches retreating on the East coast is there has been little replenishment of the sand and sediments from outflows from the major rivers.

Councils seem oblivious to this documented phenomena and solely blame rising sea levels without considering why the very flood plains they are now permit people to build upon are now dry, stable and longer eroding.
Kerry W (Qld)
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:07

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:07
Hi Kerry,
From the aerial photos I have seen, of the breakwaters etc which jut into the oceans around some of these north coast rivers, it appears that the sand is still migrating north although its speed has been impeded by, as you say a lack of major rain events, and the obstruction being created by these breakwater walls. The sand eventually gets around them but not without some trouble.

I am not advocating the removal of these walls by any means, just making the observation. They serve a very useful purpose and save many lives.

It is interesting to see the effect of these floods on the river mouths when the rivers are in full flood. The muddy water extends out to sea a fair way so that indicates that there is still a fair amount of silt carried out with the outflow, however it may mainly be clay soils as the sands, being heavier, drop as the water slows across the floodplain.

There are fairly extensive sand dune erosion events still taking place all along the coast and anyone who has built along the dune tops right on the beaches has, or is, paying the ultimate penalty in that the sea is reclaiming what is its own, so to speak.

I had no idea that the sand continued north as far as Fraser Island though.

Re the coastal flood plains, they have been built up mainly from the silt washed down from the hinterland. This silt drops out of the water once the rivers have been able to spread out and slow down thereby creating as I call it "The Macleay River Delta" for surely that is what it is.

Everyone of these rivers has a similar area where they can spread out and slow down and so make their very valuable deposits and creating some very valuable farm land.

Mind you all of the water that makes it out onto those down river flats on the Macleay has to go through the town of Kempsey and it is much like the eye of the needle. Minor floods are not a problem but I have seen 2 to 3 decent floods in the nearly thirty years we have been here.

It is easy to miss seeing these flood plains as you are passing by but anyone living or farming on them know only too well what a boon and or a catastrophe they can deliver.

As I said one time during a flood event "The river giveth and the river taketh away", which is exactly what it does and the same applies to the oceans I think in respect to many of these large sand dunes. They are deposited there over many millennia and taken away in the same time frame only to be rebuilt again sometime in some future millennia.

We cannot expect things to remain the same because it never has remained the same. Flat land has only occurred because higher lands have been eroded down to make that flat land. It is an unstoppable and never ending process which has been going on since the first wind blew and the first drop of rain fell. Not to mention tectonics.

There is a very interesting DVD called "Australia The Travelers Guide" by Professor Richard Smith (available from any ABC shop) and is a very interesting look at the geology of the Australian continent from its beginning back when it was a part of Pangea before Gondwanaland.

Worth getting for anyone interested in the Australian landscape or if you cannot find anything interesting on the TV. It is an eye opener.

Anyway, this has been a very interesting subject Kerry and Axle and thanks for raising the subject Axle.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:08

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:08
Gents,

Happened to find the photo below a couple of days ago, and scanned this arvo.

The mouth of the Clarence River, taken from the Yamba side of course, in Feb 2000.



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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:15

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:15
Good idea if I included the image!

Not sure if I'm pleased that the index finger is faster than the brain? :-)



Bob

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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:44

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:44
This was taken in 2013, The Macleay in flood.

GU RULES!!

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:50

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 18:50
Thanks for that Dave, as you know that flood in 2013 was not a big flood either. They have been bigger such as in 2001 and there will be a bottler one day I am sure.

Smithtown is a little low and as it is right between two bends in the river it cops a fair belting doesn't it.

there won't be much of that new bridge out of water when they get a decent flood on the Macleay. At least it won't hold back any water.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 21:09

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 21:09
Yes Bruce,
The 2013 flood was only a small one, We were only isolated for 2 days before the water went down.
It will be interesting to see how the bridge handles a big flood(which we are due for fairly soon.)


not a good place to fuel up after floods.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 07:05

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 07:05
I have around 300 photos of the 2001 flood in Kempsey taken by a mate in a canoe on the morning following the peak of the flood. It had gone down substantially by that time. He did go out into it on the evening of the peak he has no photos of that. He was saying that he sat in the seat of his canoe and he could touch the fluoro lights on the underside of the Shel Garage awning. That is how high the water went down there.

Of the several hundred photos there are many taken around Kempsey township showing the town still in flood and the peak height is still quite visible on many of the buildings.

Re fuel, the brother works in the car park service station there and they only just got the pumps and electrical gear out of the bowsers and the fuel lines capped before the the town became inundated.



Note the height the water got to, the top of the bowsers.
Provided the underground fuel tanks are in good order there should be no problem with the fuel as the systems are sealed except for the top of the vent pipes, which remained well out of water, luckily. This applies to the shell as well. Mind you, if the pump electrics get flooded then they have some serious problems related to metering, they don't work. Funny about that.

Gave the brother some headaches trying to work out the wiring when they put the bowser innards back in. They had it all back up and running 4 hours after they were allowed to go back in.

The Macleay is certainly something to see when she is in full flood.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: mike39 - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 19:01

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 19:01
Thanks Bruce and others for a top read.
Can you tell me when the Macleay cut though to the ocean, was that the '49 flood?
I lived in Coffs in the '60s and sometimes went out with Ted Ramsey who put the tankers on the buoys in Trial Bay.
His boat, the Yasabar was moored at Stuarts Point.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 21:08

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 21:08
Hi Mike,
I have no idea how long the Macleay River has been running out to the ocean but probably ever since this east coast of Australia, as we know it today, has been built. As I said previously, get a copy of that DVD called "Australia the Travelers Guide" from your nearest ABC shop, it is absolutely fascinating and explains why Lake Eyre is there. The East Coast of Australia used to a rough line between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Spencer Gulf in SA with a few humps and bumps here and there. Lake Eyre was a part of the Pacific ocean back then, or was it the Tasman Sea. Not sure as the East Coast was facing south at one stage. Anyway tectonics and vulcanism built the great divide and closed off the seaway and created what we know today. This is why the centre of Australia is below sea level. It was a sea once.

Needless to say that the Macleay has been running to the ocean since it first started to drain this eastern fall country of the Great Dividing Range from the top of its catchment to the bottom of its catchment, millions of years in other words. It certainly is a mighty river, when it is in flood.

The mouth has been altered by man to some extent but rivers only usually put up with that as long as it needs to. If enough silt came down the Macleay with enough water behind it to do the job it would cut a new path to the ocean I have no doubt.

There have been a couple of public works carried out to mitigate the flooding along the Macleay by cutting overflow channels and flood gates created to control flood peaks but these are OK in these small floods but if they ever get a really big one, 1949 was not a really big one, the river will do what it likes, or what it has to, it will be right over the top of the floodgates I don't doubt.

Man may think he is pretty smart but nature always has the upper hand.

It never ceases to amaze me as to the amount of water that goes under the Kempsey Train and Traffic Bridges. The whole rainfall of the catchment has to go through Kempsey so you can see that one day, if the event is big enough, the town will get a major surprise. It is coming. It may be a thousand years away or any time in between.

I would like to talk to some of the old time aboriginals who lived in this area because they would have had the knowledge passed down through the generations via the dreaming. I doubt any of the elders today would have that knowledge today.

Years ago they used to run steamers from Kempsey to Sydney and Brisbane and the river was continually dredged back in those days. It has silted up to such an extent now that it is hardly possible to get a canoe passed Fredrickton to Kempsey now.

There used to be a steamer terminal behind Woolworths in Kempsey back then as far as I am aware. I have seen some photos of it.

I have read that the first train into Kempsey occurred in 1917 just after the bridge was built so that would have put pressure on the steam boats and taken their trade I suppose but I also read that there were still steamers calling in to the Nestles Factory in Smithtown as late as 1923. Nestles is the large building in the photo marked Smithtown. Steam boats were still working the Macleay as late as 1954 according to a news paper story I have dated 1954.

In 1961 the first delivery of petrol and diesel was delivered into the Trial Bay Oil Terminal tank farm owned by Shell at South West Rocks from the Oil Tanker "Tibia". About 10 years ago they closed down the Oil Terminal and the site has been lying idle since it was cleaned up for rehabilitation.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: mike39 - Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 08:17

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 08:17
Thanks Bruce.
My recollection of yarns with Ted Ramsey was that the Macleay once exited to the ocean at Stuarts Point but in reflection that was wrong.

However it is interesting that all the now Eastern flowing rivers originally flowed West creating the inland sedimentary basins.

On the top of the Divide where we live there is an intermingle of both East and West flowing rivers (its all a convoluted catchment system)

Eels exist in all the Eastern flows, non whatsoever in the West even though the spring systems are interconnected.
mike
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 12:57

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 12:57
Mike39,
Here's a bit of info for you, apparently the Macleay did exit at Stuarts Point.


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2013)

The Australian Aboriginal Dunghutti people are the traditional custodians of the land surrounding the Macleay River catchment and the Apsley River catchment, whose descendants are now concentrated in the lower Macleay River. Archaeological evidence of Aboriginal camp sites have been found on the upper terraces of the Macleay and Apsley rivers.[citation needed]

John Oxley, failed to realize the potential of this river in 1820 when he did not navigate far enough up the river to see the magnificent stands of timber and the fertile land. The river was vaguely referred to as the New River from descriptions given by Aborigines. In 1826 Captain Wright travelled overland from Port Macquarie and explored to the head of navigation at Belgrave Falls, a series of rapids to the west of the present town of Kempsey. Then called Wrights River, Major Archibald Clunes Innes, Commandant of Port Macquarie Penal Settlement, sent the first government gang of Australian red cedar (Toona ciliata) cutters to work here in 1827.[citation needed]

More cedar camps were established on the Macleay during the 1830s and the area was also a haven for escaped convicts. By 1841, about 200 cutters were working on the river area, where violence and theft of logs was not uncommon. Demand and prices dropped in 1842 and cutting along the Macleay diminished although it continued in the upper tributaries. When Europeans arrived in the area around the 1820s the river mouth was just south of Grassy Head, and almost a mile wide with a sand spit in the middle. The small town of Stuarts Point was established on the river just inside to serve arriving ships.[9]

The area from what is now South West Rocks around to Grassy Head is a wide delta with various channels connected to the river. Around 1885 English marine engineer John Coode advised on improvements to various rivers and ports in Australia, including the Macleay. The Department of Public Works prepared four plans for improvements to the mouth, Coode favoured improving the existing entrance. In 1893 a flood enlarged an opening near South West Rocks and the department elected to improve that, called the New Entrance, though Coode had thought it not enough to drain all the waters of the district. Work on the new entrance commenced in April 1896, improving the channel and adding training walls. A new pilot station was built in 1902, establishing the town of South West Rocks. Work was completed in 1906. Today the old mouth has silted up, leaving Stuarts Point on a dead-end reach.[citation needed]

Variously known as Wright River, Trail River, New and McLeay rivers it was named the Macleay River in honour of Innes’s father-in-law, Alexander Macleay, Scottish-born scientist and colonial secretary of New South Wales

Cheers Dave
GU RULES!!

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Reply By: gbc - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 06:18

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 06:18
The brissy river hit 8.5 odd metres above the guage twice in the 1800's. 1974 was 5.5, 2011 was 4.5. My dear wife works for the dept of natural resources (now DSITIA) - their drilling and testing of the Brisbane river valley has alluvial deposits out just past 20 metres above the
Make of it what you like, but it is all there on public record. The contour mapping is sobering to look at.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 07:30

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 07:30
Hi GBC,
That Brisbane flood was a flood and a half too wasn't it.
It was a sight to behold as well as terribly tragic. But such adverse things make us better people. Tougher, more stoic.

But they way you guys pulled together up there was a credit to all of you Queenslanders. Tops. We all felt for you.

I had been down the road beside the canal in Toowoomba about 12 months before the flood there and I could not believe the amount of water going down that canal. Toowoomba being right on top of the range, I thought "No way that could ever happen, not there" but there you go. Nature is a wonderfully terrifying thing sometimes.

I suppose when you look at it, the Lockyer valley, being around 3000squ K did not get so flat without some fairly horrendous floods in its history. There is some fairly flat ground around Toowoomba as well, namely around Cambooya, Clifton, Nobby, and many other areas about there so there have been many big flood there over millions of years I imagine.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Geobserver - Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 13:16

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014 at 13:16
Geoscience Australia is currently pulling together a product called 'water observations from space'. Click on the linkl at http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/hazards/flood/capabilities/wofs

It contains satellite imagery of surface water over time and may be useful to observe where water has been in the past as a guide to what can happen in places where records are sparse.
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