The ’55 flood: 500 photos

A commemorative display of 500 photos and historic films of the 1955 flood will take centre stage at the Maitland Town Hall. 

The display has been organised by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority and the NSW State Emergency Service and is part of the Maitland community flood education program.

CMA general manager Fiona Marshall said the recent severe flood events in NSW and Queensland made the 58th anniversary of the 1955 flood the perfect time for the community to learn more about the history of flooding in Maitland to help them prepare for the future.

“While the 1955 flood is well known as the most destructive and highest flood on record, there were many other major floods in that decade,” Ms Marshall said.

“Six major floods occurred between 1949 and 1955 due to a particularly wet period that caused frequent flooding in the Hunter Valley.”

The display will feature hundreds of historic photos and a collection of short films of stories from flood survivors.

There will also be an opportunity for residents to have their own recollections recorded on video.

Following the 1955 flood, the Lower Hunter Flood Mitigation Scheme was built, including spillways, levees and floodgates.

The scheme is designed to lessen the destructive impacts of floodwaters, but cannot provide total protection against major flood events such as that of 1955.

“When major flooding is predicted, it is important to be prepared, follow instructions from emergency services and evacuate if directed to do so,” NSW SES acting Hunter Region controller Ken Speer said. “No two floods are alike and a flood higher than the record 1955 flood will occur sometime in the future.”

- The display will be open on February 26 between 1pm and 3pm.

The 1955 flood was one of six major floods to devastate the city between 1949 and 1955.

The 1955 flood was one of six major floods to devastate the city between 1949 and 1955.


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