1893 floods in Brisbane – Queen St. in the CBD. Source: Wikimedia
We have all been shocked by the devastating floods in southern Queensland and our hearts reach out to those living through this destruction. This is not just a crisis in one city, three quarters of the state has been affected by floods over the last three weeks.
At last count over eighty six towns and cities in Queensland have been either flooded or isolated due to floods. There has been constant reference to the floods of 1974.
The image above indicates that these floods are not an aberration - they have been occurring ever since European settlement and there is evidence of flooding prior to this.
We live in a country that is very dry, often drought-stricken and prone to fierce bush fires and paradoxically suffers periodically with floods.
Like two years ago when Victoria had devastating bush fires at the same time as north Queensland was suffering from severe flooding, this time southern Queensland has suffered from a huge torrent of water while firefighters in Perth, Western Australia were battling a large bushfire.
The floods in Queensland, as well as the floods in New South Wales
and Sri Lanka
, will have consumed countless photos, diaries, letters etc. At the moment the priority is where it should be – saving lives and creating safe living conditions. There will be little time or resources to save personal memories.
Natural disasters such as these floods are terribly damaging to our historical records. All the homes that have been flooded will now have waterlogged photo albums, diaries and hard disc drives. While the State Library of Queensland has given good advice on how to save some of these precious memories, in many cases owners will not be able to restore them.
Even the State Library of Queensland has been affected. The photos of the library taken before and during the floods show how badly flooded their building was.
State Library of Queensland before April 2010. Source: Zayzayem on flickr
After: State Library of Queensland 12 Jan 2011. Source: @jonoH on twitpic
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