Damaged property is seen in Tully, North Queensland, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, as a result of category 5 tropical cyclone Yasi which swept through the region the night before. (AAP Image/Maryann Uechtritz) NO ARCHIVING
Damaged property is seen in Tully, North Queensland, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, as a result of category 5 tropical cyclone Yasi which swept through the region the night before. (AAP Image/Maryann Uechtritz) NO ARCHIVING MARYANN UECHTRITZ

Natural disasters that have rocked our nation

AUSTRALIA has seen some of the most horrific natural disasters in history and if the way we bounce back is a sign of our strength, then we're as tough as they come.   

Here are a few of the major natural disasters that rocked our country.   


1895-1902, the Federation Drought: Intermittent dry spells saw Australia battle through some tough years in the lead up to the Federation, but by spring 1901 Eastern Australia was in a state of emergency. Rivers in western Queensland dried up and the Darling River almost ran dry at Bourke in New South Wales. Murray River towns such as Mildura, Balranald and Deniliquin, which depended on the river for transport, suffered badly.  

1982-83: Low rainfall over four years saw a loss of about $7billion to the country's economy with the death of livestock and job losses rife in the regions. The effects of the drought contributed to the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires across Victoria and South Australia.  

1991-95: This drought in north-eastern New South Wales and much of Queensland, was the result of the lowest rainfall levels on record. A number of major water reservoirs went dry and many others fell to critically low levels. Average rural production fell by over 10 per cent and rural unemployment rose. Loss to the economy is estimated at around $A5 billion.  

1996-mid 2010, the Millennium Drought: From late 1996 to mid-2010, much of southern Australia experienced a prolonged period of dry conditions and ranks with the Federation Drought and the Forties Drought as one of the three most severe, widespread and prolonged dry periods since 1900.  


The 1967 Tasmanian fires: On the morning of February 7, 110 fires raged across southern Tasmania, burning 264,270 hectares in just five hours. Sixty-two people died and 1400 homes and buildings were destroyed making it, at that time, the largest loss of life and property from fire in Australia on any single day in Australia's history.   

Ash Wednesday bushfires, 1983: Victoria and South Australia were in the midst of a severe drought and a heatwave when 180 broke out across the two states on February 16. Forty-seven people dies in Voctoria and 28 in South Australia making it the deadliest bushfire in Australian history until the Black Saturday fires in 2009.   

Black Saturday bushfires, 2009: As many as 400 individual fires roared across Victoria on February 7. Winds blew in excess of 100kmh and temperatures rose above 46 degrees celcius. 173 people dies and 414 injured as a result of the fires with an estimated 7500 people displaced from their homes.  


Cyclone Mahina, 1899: Cyclone Mahina tore through Cape York in March 1899 and resulted in the greatest death toll of any natural disaster in Australia's recorded history. More than 400 people died, including the crews of around 100 pearling fleet vessels, and an estimated 100 local Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.  

Cyclone Ada, 1970: Tropical Cyclone Ada caused severe damage to resorts on the Whitsunday Islands including Daydream, South Molle and Hayman. The damage bill was estimated at $A390 million and 14 people were killed.  

Cyclone Tracy, 1974: It was Christmas Eve when Cyclone Tracy struck the the Northern Territory, hitting Darwin early Christmas Day. Winds of 250kmh flattened the city while 195mm of rain fell in less than nine hours. Cyclone Tracy remains Australia's most destructive for property damage. Seventy-one people were killed, many thousands injured and 25,000 left homeless.  

Cyclone Larry, 2006: The Far North Queensland coast was declared a natural disaster zone after the category five cyclone registered winds of up to 290 kmh. About $1.5billion of damage was caused to homes, other buildings and agricultural crops, but no loss of life occurred.  

Cyclone Yasi, 2011: Winds of up to 290kmh pummelled north Queensland on February 3 resulting in an estimated $655million in insurances losses. Tens of thousands of residents were evacuated ahead of the storm's anticipated arrival meaning there were no losses of life when it hit.   


Brisbane, Queensland, 1974: In January of 74, the weakening Cyclone Wanda brought heavy rainfall to Brisbane and many parts of south-eastern Queensland and northern New South Wales. One third of Brisbane's city centre and 17 suburbs were severely flooded. Fourteen people died and more than 300 were injured.   

Brisbane and Queensland, 2010-2011: Beginning in December 2010, three quarters of Queensland was declared a disaster zone including Brisbane, Bundaberg, Dalby, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Logan, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Roma, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Warwick and Redcliffe districts.   

Victorian floods, 2011: The Queensland floods were followed by the 2011 Victorian floods which saw more than 50 communities in western and central Victoria also grapple with significant flooding.  

Queensland and New South Wales, 2013: Flooding in the path of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald was the worst since European settlement in some areas of southeast Queensland, where rainfall in excess of 1000mm was recorded in 96 hours.   

*Courtesy of www.australia.gov.au  

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