Gympie during the Flood of January 2013

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Photo: Courtesy David Stehbens, Pathfinder Aviation

Gympie is a significant urban area in Queensland with a population 0f 19510 (2011 census). The city began as a goldfield and so parts of the city are located and arranged according to the sites of alluvial workings and various shaft mines. The original business district, Mary Street, is one such area that is unfortunate to be inundated by major floods. While most of the city is wel above flood peaks and adjusted to floods, the adjustment of land use is still not complete and so each major flood Gympie makes the headlines as a city that is flooded.

The 2 bridges that cross the Mary River in Gympie were both flooded by this flood: Kidd Bridge is underwater near the centre of the photograph, and Normanby Bridge can be seen just above the flood further upstream. These bridges connect the two parts of the city.

Road and bridges connecting the city to the rural areas that it serves, as well as intercity road links are still not designed to be flood free.

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Comments (7)

bdeh on February 7, 2013

Great shot but awful for the victims, hope that the insurance company will pay for the damage Ian. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on February 7, 2013

Greetings Berend,

Aerial images are a good aid in getting to know how a particular flood behaved. A few days before this flood we were in drought conditions.

The flood resulted from a tropical cyclone that moved onto the continent from the Coral Sea, then it became a rain depression and was inter-bedded in a major weather trough. While the depression moved quite slowly, it almost became stationary over the Fitzroy and Burnett catchments producing very large floods, in fact a record flood in Bundaberg.

In several places the rain event was extreme, with falls of 500mm in 24 hours and as much as 1500mm in 8 days!

We received about 200mm in each of 2 consecutive days, with a total of around 520mm in this rain event.

When it rains, it RAINS!!


bdeh on February 8, 2013

1500mm rain in 8 days, that's a lot Ian. Due to the climate changes it's raining heavier than before, also in the Netherlands. We're thinking now too make the streams of the rivers wider and we're making the dikes higher. Also we made places were we can store rainwater temporary. I hope that Oz will have some solutions to avoid this kind of floods in the future. Greetings Berend

Ian Stehbens on February 10, 2013

Greetings Berend,

During my only visit to NL, I intentionally visited the Delta Project not too far from your place, Wieringemeer, Flevoland and Afsluitdjik to understand the scale of the preventative engineering, to hear the stories and see the images of past disasters.

In flood the river can rise to 25M in Gympie, so it is not easily tamed, directed or ignored. What is always best policy is to adapt to the vagaries of floods especially through wise landuse management. What we are currently finding difficult are 2 things in my opinion: 1. New records being set such as never-before flood heights as has just happened in Bundaberg; and 2. designing and locating infrastructure (highways, bridges, water supplies, electricity reticulation, telephone networks and phone towers) that is not destroyed by such events as flood.


bdeh on February 10, 2013

I think that it's wise to be sure that infrastructure will not be affected be floods in the future Ian. In the Netherlands all electricity and telephone cables are in the ground. So if we have a storm that the electricity and telephone is not affected. Greetings Berend

Geerten on February 15, 2013

nice to read this stuff!

Ian Stehbens on February 15, 2013

Greetings Geerten.

Thanks for your interest. Keeping our roads and bridges up to standard is a challenge in this big land, with all its vagaries of weather and climate.

Hope you are going well.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on February 7, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens