Local News - Victoria

Elwood, Eltham, Dandenong, Hawthorn, Glen Iris, Clayton, Noble Park and Springvale awash as heavy rains flood Melbourne and surrounding suburbs

Torrents of water spilled over the Eildon Weir retaining wall at 9 o’clock last night and the Weather Bureau has warned of a major flood threat to the entire Goulburn Valley.

Dandenong families have been forced to leave their homes by water three feet deep. The State Relief Committee last night sent blankets and comforts to the city.

Two Army “ducks” were sent to Dandenong at 9 o’clock last night. Others are standing by at Bandiana.

With the rain cam below-normal temperatures and 50 m.p.h. winds.

The downpour is easing slightly all over the State but moderate to heavy showers are likely for the next twelve hours.

Two and a half inches of rain poured on the city in the 24 hours to 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon. This was the third heaviest one-day fall since 1891. It brought:

  • Severe flooding to suburbs on all sides of Melbourne.
  • Damage to homes and property as Gardiner creek, the Yarra and Elwood Canal rose with alarming speed.
  • Evacuations from at least five homes at Dandenong.
  • Blocked roads and scores of car breakdowns as motorists tried to drive through swirling water.
  • One of the worst accident weekends for years.

More than 3000 telephones were out of order in the Sandringham, Elsternwick and Ascot areas. P.M.G. emergency gangs had their busiest days for many years.

Families Leave Homes

Five families in Frankston Road, Dandenong, had to leave their homes in which water was lying up to three feet deep. Some, who were caught unprepared, lost clothing and money.

Front page of The Age on July 14, 1952.

Front page of The Age on July 14, 1952.Credit:The Age Archives

Late last night water was crashing against the steel girders of the Gippsland highway bridge in McCrae Street. It was feared that the bridge might collapse as it was showing signs of stress and the earthwork was being eroded by the rushing torrent.

As the creek continued to rise last night Foster Street was a foot under water and water was creeping along Lonsdale Street.

Sections of Pultney Street were flooded and the sports oval adjoining Dandenong Creek and the main park were under two feet of water.

It is feared that flooding will increase today, especially if the high tide anticipated in the Bay backs up the Paterson River, into which the Dandenong Creek flows.

In that case many thousands of acres of rich grazing land and market gardens in the Keysborough and Bangholme districts will be inundated.

Many employees of industrial works on the south-east side of the town will be unable to reach work today.

All roads to Gippsland are closed. Rapidly rising waters from the Dandenong Creek have flooded the road to a depth of three feet.

The Clayton, Spring Vale and Noble Park districts were some of the worst hit areas.

The driver of a Trans-Otway truck had a narrow escape from serious injury when his truck was buried under 10 tons of earth and rock on the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Eastern View yesterday.

Lorne police said a Trans-Otway passenger bus passed the spot only a few seconds before the landslide. The truck was following and received the full force of the earth and rock.

The truck was wrecked but the bus driver was able to scramble to safety.

The landslide caused the road to be closed.

Worst Flood Since 1934

The extensive flooding throughout the metropolitan area was the worst since 1934.

The Gardiner Creek, a small stream, yesterday became a swift-flowing torrent. It broke its banks in several places, flooded streets, tore down one bridge and menaced another.

At Kooyong, several Scotch College sports ovals are under water and water is lapping the top of the retaining wall at the L.T.A.V. tennis courts.

The Kerferd Street Bridge, Glen Iris, sagged badly yesterday morning and shortly after midday caved in and collapsed across the creek.

Water flowed across the Winton Street Bridge, East Malvern. The rushing current weakened it, but it was still passable to traffic last night. A close watch on the condition of the bridge is being kept.

Yarra Rises

At Clarke Street, Gardiner, the creek broke its banks, and was more than 50 feet wide. The lower part of the road was up to two feet under water. Water lapped the doorways of all houses in this section of the street.

At Kai Koura Avenue, Hawthorn, low parts of the avenue were under water. Some families took up floor coverings and moved furniture ready for evacuation if necessary.

Nearer the city it has risen to within inches of flood level, and is higher than it has ever been since 1934.

The river has broken its banks at several points below Fairfield and low-lying land over a large area is under water. Late last night, however, no reports of the water endangering houses had been received.

Only one road is open to Yarra Glen. The main roads through Lilydale and the Maroondah Highway are cut. Road traffic now had to go through Christmas Hills and Eltham.

Water has entered the lower part of the township and is lapping against several houses. Property has been removed from two and the occupiers are ready to move out if the waters should rise any further.

At Seville, the baker, Mr. J. Toohey, was forced to evacuate his family when water entered his house, covering the floors to a depth of nine inches.

Altona can be reached only by going the circuitous route along Geelong Road to the turn-off near Laverton following the cutting of Millers Road by flood waters.

St Kilda and Foam Streets, Elwood, were flooded to a depth of more than two feet. Gardens were inundated and water entered a number of houses.

Householders in St Kilda Street yesterday afternoon took up floor covering and stacked furniture in preparation for possible flooding. In at least three houses water was over the floors in some rooms by last night.

In Foam Street water was up to two feet deep, gardens were under water and water was seeping under the doors of some houses. Many families had erected sandbag barricades across back and front verandahs.

The 9787-ton Orient ship Dorsetshire, with 494 British migrants aboard, berthed 10 hours late in Melbourne yesterday, after being forced to anchor in the Bay by rough weather.

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