The 60th anniversary of the highest and most destructive flood on record in the Hunter Valley will be commemorated with a series of events this month.
The 1955 flood saw thousands of people rescued, hundreds of homes washed away and destroyed and 14 lives lost, including 11 in Maitland.
Workshops, walking tours, exhibitions and bus tours will be staged for the community to learn about Maitland’s dramatic flooding history, while increasing awareness about today’s flood risk and how to prepare for potentially dangerous flood events.
A key event is the 1955 Hunter Valley Flood Exhibition to be held over two days at Maitland Town Hall on February 21 and 22.
The exhibition will be officially launched on Saturday, February 21 at 9am with interactive displays, a photo exhibition, film screenings and flood boat displays.
The series of events will be delivered by NSW State Emergency Service Hunter Region and Hunter Local Land Services throughout February.
“Major floods are not events which remain in our past, they pose a real, modern day threat to the community,” NSW SES Hunter Region controller Amanda Williamson said.
“Major floods the size of those we experienced in 1955 will happen again.
“The commemoration is also important to reflect on the unprecedented flooding that affected."
Free workshops will be held as part of the commemorative activities.
“I encourage everyone in the community to attend to learn about our flood risk, discover how the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme operates in time of flooding and what actions they can take right now to better prepare their homes for future natural disasters,” Ms Williamson said.
The Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme is funded by Hunter Catchment Contributions, a catchment levy collected through Hunter council rates and managed by Hunter Local Land Services.
A positive factor that came out of the 1955 flood disaster was the passing of the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Act which was constructed the following year, Hunter Local Land Service general manager Brett Miners said.
“Maitland now has a comprehensive system of spillways, levees, control banks and designated floodways designed to lessen the impact of floods,” Mr Miners said.
“Hunter Local Land Service continues to fund the maintenance of the mitigation scheme today.”
The scheme can not protect against all the impacts of major floods.
For more on the 1955 flood: