With the 2017 floods still fresh in our memories, we might have some appreciation for the devastation and loss of our forebears as they dealt with the deluge of 1887. The new Logan Bridge (which has since been rebuilt and renamed, Macleans Bridge) was only built the decade earlier and had given travelers clear passage from the top of each bank of the river rather having to inch their way down the steep sides to the low-level crossing previously.
Peaking almost 2 meters higher than the 2017 floods, Logan West’s highest flood on record came “suddenly and unexpectedly” at around 5 am on the 22nd of January 1887, according to one local correspondent.
The Telegraph, Tuesday Evening, February 1, 1887, Page 5
“About 5 am on the 22nd the water was spreading on the grass at the corner of the Mundoolun road, Jimboomba. I was awakened by the waves beating on the floor of the house; the water was rising then about 5 feet per hour.”
“Down at McLean Bridge the water rose to Mrs. Lawson’s veranda; the bridge was totally covered, the top of the suspension towers were invisible from Saturday midday till 9 on Sunday morning. Down towards the village Mr. R Stevenson was obliged to fly in the night on to the higher ground, but then everyone up and down are upset — cattle swept away, all manner of crops destroyed, houses washed away, and those places where the water backed up to and covered were rendered unfit for living in, stinking with mud, and all inside made useless. Those whose places were above the water and safe gave every assistance, and shelter to those washed out. I hope again never to see such a flood. Things won’t resume their usual course for months.”
After leaving town, Cooper’s Plains had been badly flooded. A large culvert had been washed away before. On getting to Logan Bridge miles of the flooded country have to be passed over, and the roads are in a bad state, but the Yeerongpilly Board are promptly effecting repairs, and in a few days the dangerous places will be made safe.
The Logan Bridge, which is built on piles, is about 90ft above the water at present, but it was completely covered with the flood. The railing in parts is washed away, and the approaches are in a dangerous state, and great masses of debris hang on the bridge. At this spot, the river banks are very high, and the water must have risen at least 120 ft.
McLean’s house on the opposite side, which is on a high hill, escaped, but the watermark is 3in. from the flooring. On the hills in the vicinity, the flooded settlers are camped. A poor widow named Edmonds, whose husband recently died in the Brisbane Hospital from the result of an accident, was dependent for her living upon the produce of her bees and orange trees, which were all swept away, leaving her with five children in want of immediate relief. From McLean’s onward, except an occasional ridge, the whole country has been covered for fully ten miles, and the roads are inches deep in slimy mud.
Near Mayne railway camp, Whittaker, a storekeeper, lost everything. The floodwaters came up so suddenly that he and his household had scarcely time to save themselves. Whittaker was carried through the water by young Strachan, who had to swim for it. Whittaker’s house and store were subsequently covered.
The railway camp was scarcely touched. Mr. Hassell, the engineer in charge, took the levels of the flood and found that it was 16ft 9in above the mark of that of 1864.
The whole countryside looks black and dreary, and riding along the road one sees the flood marks and debris on the trees 50ft overhead.
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