The John Oxley Library recently received a beautiful sepia photograph of a family group relaxing on the banks of Murphy’s Creek in the Lockyer Valley, ca. 1900.
The serenity of the scene belies the dormant power of the creek which caused catastrophic flooding in January 2011. This flood tore a path of destruction through the Lockyer Valley, resulting in loss of life and significant damage to property in the area.
However this was not the first major flood of Murphy’s Creek. The following article appeared in the Queenslander newspaper of 28th June 1873:
Murphy’s Creek (From a Correspondent) June 18
Never was such a flood known in the memory of the oldest resident here as has just swept over the face of this extensive and fertile district. The one that occurred some six years ago, I am confidently assured, did not reach the flood mark so high by many feet. All along the circuitous and eccentric bends of the main creek, from its head, where the first springs rise, near Ballard’s Camp, for a distance of some nine to ten miles to the Quarries, its swollen waters flowed and eddied like a roaring torrent. Huge trees of the forest floated down incessantly for two days and two nights, here and there damming up the rising waters as they caught the numerous knolls and corners on their way, undermining the banks at various spots for many yards and carrying swiftly away tons of earth, silt, sand and soil. Finch’s Pocket, a small peninsula, was nearly all under water, and here and there stray huts and dwellings became so suddenly threatened, that the inmates, quaking with fear, passed many a restless hour, and prepared themselves for flight to more fortunate neighbours on higher ground. A very substantial bridge, only some twelve months erected, at Macdonald’s Crossing, had its approaches entirely washed away.
The photograph may be viewed at the John Oxley Library, Acc: 28851, Box 17209. A digitized version will shortly appear on our catalogue.
Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland