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High intensity rainfall between 12–14 January 2011 caused major flooding across much of the western and central parts of the Australian state of Victoria. Several follow-up heavy rainfall events including Tropical Low Yasi caused repeated flash flooding in affected areas in early February in many of the communities affected by January's floods.[2]

2011 Victorian floods
Werribee River in flood over cottrell street in Werribee.jpg
Werribee River in flood at Werribee
Date12 January  – 19 April 2011
LocationMuch of central and northern Victoria including cities of Horsham, Shepparton and Swan Hill as well as towns Charlton, Rochester and Carisbrook, Beaufort, Glenorchy, Rupanyup, Murrabit Echuca, Bridgewater on Loddon, Creswick, Clunes, Kerang, Warracknabeal and Skipton.
Deaths2 confirmed dead
Property damageA$ 2 billion[1]

Many of the towns were previously affected by floods in September 2010, however the 2011 event was more severe, affecting at least four times as many properties[3] with thousands of evacuations being called for by the State Emergency Service. As of 18 January, more than 51 communities had been affected by the floods.[4] A total of over 1,730 properties had been flooded.[5] Over 17,000 homes lost their electricity supply.[6] The floods forced VicRoads to close hundreds of roads; and train services were also disrupted. The floods devastated farms with 51,700 hectares of pasture and 41,200 hectares of field crops flooded and 6,106 sheep killed.[1] The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Victorian Farmers Union initially estimated that damages would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars,[5] but the Department of Primary Industries later calculated a damage bill of up to A$ 2 billion.[1]

Kevin Parkyn, a senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology said, "Victoria is experiencing one of its worst flood events in its history" after "a week in which rainfall totals have been smashed in parts of Victoria."[7] Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Terry Ryan said, "It's the worst flood in western Victoria in their history as far as our records go in terms of the depth of water and the number of places affected."[8] The Premier of Victoria, Ted Ballieu, has described it as "one of the biggest floods in the state's history."[9]



The strongest La Niña event since 1973[10] which fuelled the extensive flooding across Victoria in September 2010, brought wetter conditions across eastern Australia including the 2010–2011 Queensland floods. An already soaked state had the wettest January in its recorded history in January 2011.

A deepening low pressure trough over south-east Australia, fed with tropical moisture from the [[monsoon across the state as well as northern Tasmania, southern New South Wales and eastern parts of South Australia.[11][12][13][14][15]

During the downpour across the state flash flooding occurred in places such as Halls Gap and Beaufort, resulting in damage to businesses and homes. However, it was not until the downpour began to subside (and fair weather returned) that the accumulated water caused waterways across the region gradually to swell. As waterways began to break their banks, evacuations were called. Despite clearing conditions, flooding continued to spread during January and into February 2011 as it developed into what was increasingly described by the media as an "inland sea" across agricultural north-west Victoria.[16]

Early warning and evacuationEdit

Rising rivers led to evacuations in many other towns in central and western Victoria:[17][18]

Major waterways affectedEdit

Settlements affectedEdit

  • Beaufort - creeks running to Lake Beaufort broke their banks, flooding the town's main street[23] and over 70 houses[24]
Flooding of the Yarrowee River between the Ballarat suburbs of Redan and Mount Pleasant on 13 January
  • Ballarat - record rainfall in Ballarat (95 millimetres) caused flooding in the Yarrowee catchment. Twenty houses were flooded across the urban area including 10 houses in the outer suburb of Miners Rest as the Burrumbeet Creek overflowed[25][26] as well as properties in Alfredton and Delacombe.[27] The first spill-over of Lake Wendouree since 2002 occurred after it had been artificially filled in 2010 since drying up due to drought in 2007.[28] A road bridge at Ascot was destroyed, as was a pedestrian bridge over the Yarrowee at Whitehorse Road in Sebastopol and Mount Helen.[29]
  • Bridgewater on Loddon - two flood peaks were experienced, the first on 14 January and the second the following day. The floodwaters affected around 50 houses, as well as the police station, caravan park, hotel and other businesses.[30]
  • Carisbrook - covered by "four or five feet" of water and a total of 275 houses flooded.[31]
  • Charlton - more than 400 houses were flooded after the Avoca broke its banks.[32] An electrical substation was also affected, which caused power outages to 8,000 properties in the surrounding towns.[33]
  • Creswick - evacuated after the Creswick Creek breached its banks, flooding the town centre.[34] 35 houses and businesses were breached by water in the largest flood in the town's recorded history.[35]
  • Echuca - 200 non-levee protected houses were flooded as waters from the Campaspe peaked on 16 January[36]
  • Halls Gap - evacuated after flash flooding and landslides threatened to cut off the town.[37]
Flooding at Firebrace Street in Horsham, 19 January


Road closuresEdit


Rail closuresEdit

V/Line temporarily closed all passenger services.


Power outagesEdit

The flooding caused power outages across the state including areas supplied by the Charlton Zone Substation which was directly affected by rising waters. [47][48]


On 18 January, a police diver found the body of a boy who went missing in a flooded billabong, off the Goulburn River, on 17 January at Shepparton in north-east Victoria.[50]

On 5 February, the death of a man after falling off the roof of his Glen Waverley home trying to stem a leak was attributed to the flash flooding.[51]


The Australian Defence Force (ADF) assisted the Victorian State Emergency Service (VICSES) from 14 January 2011.

The South Australian State Emergency Service sent a deployment team over to the emergency base in Horsham working up north along the Yarriambiack Creek. The 20-person team made up from units in Adelaide, Mt. Gambier, Murray Bridge, Renmark, Berri and Keith spent 5 days assisting the Victorian SES between 18 January 2011 and 22 January 2011.

Premier Ted Ballieu toured flood affected areas on 17 January, announcing an A$7 million relief package, including a A$5 million clean-up fund and a A$1 million public appeal coordinated by the Red Cross. On 18 January, the Federal Government pledged A$4 million in relief funds.[52]

Three platoons from Victoria's 4th Reserve Response Force (4RRF), under the command of Headquarters 4th Brigade, conducted Rapid Impact Assessments (RIA) on townships identified by VICSES since 20 January, to provide information on the impact of the floods on community and private infrastructure.[53]

ADF personnel delivered relief items including almost 200,000 sandbags, various emergency stores, fuel, sand, water and bedding to a number of communities in the flood-affected region. In addition, a RAAF aircraft transported 76,000 ADF sandbags from Townsville and Brisbane to Melbourne on 22–23 January.[53]

By 24 January, RIAs had been completed for the towns of Charlton, Hamilton, Glenorchy, Halls Gap, Rochester, Bridgewater, Carisbrook, Dunolly, Clunes, Creswick, Appin South, Kerang West, Skipton, Newbridge and Horsham.[53]

On 24 January the ADF committed two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Seahawk helicopters for providing support to Victorian flood relief and recovery efforts in addition to approximately 100 personnel and more than 40 land vehicles.[53]

The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, toured flood affected areas from 28 January.[54] Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu publicly criticised the Prime Minister for forgetting her home state while she pushed for a controversial flood levy to repair Queensland's flood damage.[55]

In March 2011, the Queen's eldest grandson, Prince William, toured the affected areas in Victoria, as well as those damaged by the floods in Queensland.[56]

In April 2011, Scouts Australia's Victorian Branch replaced its traditional Hoadley Hide hiking event with the Hoadley Project, where hundreds of Venturer and Rover Scouts assisted residents of Charlton, Rochester and Murrabit in the continuing cleanup effort.[57]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Darren Gray and David Rood Victorian damage bill to hit $2bn The Age 26 January 2011
  2. ^ Scott, Jason Ex-Cyclone Yasi Triggers Evacuations of Victoria State Towns Business Week 5 February 2011
  3. ^ Hewitt, Sue (15 January 2010). "Thousands evacuated in Victoria as rising flood waters go north". Courier Mail. News Limited. Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Nervous wait for flood-affected Horsham". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b Stewart, Cameron; Rout, Milanda (20 January 2011). "New Victorian flood front ruins farm sector". The Australian. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Floods cause power outages in Victoria". Herald Sun. Australian Associated Press. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b Turnbull, Jeff (15 January 2011). "More Victorian towns to be evacuated". The Age. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  8. ^ Cauchi, Stephen; Craig, Natalie (16 January 2011). "Wettest month in history for state's north and west". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  9. ^ Willingham, Richard (18 January 2011). "Significant financial hit to state, Baillieu warns". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  10. ^ "La Nina to break down later this year". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  11. ^ Hunter]] trough over northern Australia, resulted in record levels of humidity for Victoria (over 96%). Heavy rain and severe thunderstorms formed, Thomas (12 January 2011). "Victorians warned to prepare for more floods". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  12. ^ Weber, Micaela (13 January 2011). "Western NSW should prepare for more heavy rain". Weatherzone. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Wind, rain and storms batter southeast Australia". Weatherzone. Fairfax Media. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Record January rainfall causes flooding in the southeast". Weatherzone. Fairfax Media. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2011.
  15. ^ Scott, Edwina La Nina to continue into autumn Ninemsn. 20 January 2011
  16. ^ Russell, Mark Frustration rising on state front line The Age. 30 January 2011
  17. ^ Harris, Amelia; Flower, Wayne (14 January 2011). "Towns evacuated, major river warnings issued as floods sweep Victoria". Herald Sun. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  18. ^ a b Hunter, Thomas; Millar, Paul (14 January 2011). "SES orders residents out amid flood warnings". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  19. ^ Neal, Matt (17 January 2011). "Allansford, Jubilee Park residents evacuated". The Standard. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  20. ^ Hipsley, Anna (18 January 2011). "Flood fears remain in Victoria's north-west". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Kerang evacuating as levees compromised". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  22. ^ "Yarra River bursts its banks". The Daily Telegraph. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  23. ^ Jamali, Dellaram (15 January 2011). "Beaufort: More than 100 people evacuated". The Courier. Farfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  24. ^ Burin, Margaret (14 January 2011). "Homes evacuated after torrential rain causes floods in western Victoria - ABC Melbourne - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  25. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (15 January 2011). "Miners Rest: Floods take residents by surprise". The Courier. Farfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  26. ^ 20 January 2011 (20 January 2011). "MEDIA INFORMATION : Voice FM :: Ballarat Community Radio". Voice FM. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  27. ^ Dellaram, Jamali Workers assess flood damage The Courier. 18 January 2011
  28. ^ Williams, Erin (15 January 2011). "Ballarat region floods as record rains fall". The Courier. Farfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  29. ^ Flood repair and mitigation works underway at Delacombe Thursday, 19 May 2011
  30. ^ Whitney (17 January 2011). "Victorian flood cost soars". Bendigo Advertiser. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  31. ^ Jackson Saunders (24 January 2011). "Lunches lift Carisbrook locals - Local News - News - General". Bendigo Advertiser. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  32. ^ Tippett, Gary (15 January 2011). "Charlton residents flee as Rochester braces for worst floods in history". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  33. ^ Flower, Wayne (18 January 2011). "6500 properties remain without power in Victoria". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  34. ^ Shuurman, Evan (15 January 2011). "Creswick: Residents survive second flooding". The Courier. Farfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  35. ^ Gullifer, Brendan (15 January 2011). "Clunes: Rising water hits 35 houses and businesses". The Courier. Farfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  36. ^ Fogarty, Daniel Floodwaters inundate Echuca Herald Sun. 17 January 2011
  37. ^ Millar, Paul; Sexton, Reid; Beck, Maris (14 January 2011). "Flash flooding hits Victoria". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  38. ^ Roberts, Greg (18 January 2011). "Sandbags stem Horsham flood crisis". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  39. ^ Randall, Michael. "Floods cause chaos for Narre Warren, Pakenham, Koo Wee Rup, Berwick - Emergency Services - News - Berwick Leader". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  40. ^ Howard, Jonathan Newbridge damage assessed Bendigo Advertiser 2 Jan 2011
  41. ^ "Too early to estimate Skipton damage bill: mayor - ABC Ballarat - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". 17 January 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  42. ^ Brown, Emma (15 January 2011). "Town businesses left reeling". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  43. ^ "VicRoads - Road Closures & Traffic Alerts". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  44. ^ O'Keefe, Mariza (14 January 2011). "Victoria floods cause road closures". AAP.
  45. ^ 14 January 2011 10:39AM (14 January 2011). "Victoria floods cause road closures". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  46. ^
  47. ^ 14 January 2011 9:24AM (14 January 2011). "Floods cause power outages in Victoria". Herald Sun. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  48. ^ "La Nina to continue into autumn". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  49. ^ Akerman, Pia (27 January 2011). "Swan Hill dry but long isolation likely". The Australian.
  50. ^ "Missing boy's body found". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  51. ^ "Victoria flash floods claim first victim". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  52. ^ "Flood relief for Victorian councils". Government News. Intermedia Group. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  53. ^ a b c d "ADF lifts support to the Victorian flood response". Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence. Department of Defence. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  54. ^ "Prime Minister Julie Gillard visits flood affected Victoria - ABC Central Victoria - Australian Broadcasting Corporation". 28 January 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  55. ^ Rout, Milanda (28 January 2011). "Ted Baillieu expresses fears over PM's plan". The Australian.
  56. ^ "Prince William to visit Australia". ABC. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  57. ^ "Victorian Rovers - Hoadley Project - Day 2". Retrieved 29 December 2011.

External linksEdit