As a brief distraction from the incoming weather warnings, here’s a flashback to a time where people were actually rowing in the streets in Melbourne.
The above photograph of Toorak Road was taken during the Great Flood of Melbourne in July of 1891.
Two days and two nights of non-stop rain saw the Yarra break its banks and flood surrounding suburbs. The disaster left more than a thousand people homeless, predominantly in Richmond, Collingwood and Prahran. At least one person died, although there may have been more. It was reported that two large lakes formed on the east and west sides of Chapel Street.
An article from The Bendigo Advertiser reads: “From Prince’s bridge for several miles upwards the Yarra resembled an inland lake spreading out into innumerable lagoons to right and left.
The water had risen considerably during the night, and had crept into scores of houses and factories which the previous night seemed to be out of danger. Residents of Toorak on the river side looked out at breakfast upon a great expanse of water, in which many of the cottages built during the “boom” period on the low ground were buried, some of them up to the eaves.”
It’s neither the first nor last time Melbourne has faced extreme flooding. The city suffered a serious flood in 1863, again in 1934, and in 1972 when Age photographer Neville Bowler captured this Walkley Award-winning image.