brisbane: the flood at its peak

439222-citycat-terminal The great flood of 2011 has damaged many of Brisbane's riverside neighborhoods and destroyed the wharves of the CityCat river-ferry system.  You can find plenty of images of the damage on the the websites of the Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media) and the Australian (Murdoch). 

Here is footage (starting at 0:20) of the destruction of the floating section of the Riverwalk, which connected downtown to the dense New Farm district and carried thousands of pedestrians and cyclists per day.  The huge piece of bridge was later intercepted by a heroic tugboat driver, who prevented it from crashing into the pylons of the Gateway Bridge.  Many also have images of the Drift Cafe, a floating restaurant just a few meters from our office, breaking away and crashing into a bridge.  And this jumped out from the Australian's coverage:

All buses to the city centre were cut off, trains continued to run but only sporadically, …  Military demolition experts were dispatched to the Moggill ferry – still hanging on by one of the two ropes it uses to help ferry vehicles across the river – to determine whether the safest option was simply to sink it.

Commenter InBrisbane writes:

Yes, thanks everyone all over the world for their support.

Our beautiful CityCat [river ferry] network is ruined. It will have to be rebuilt. Some of the city's favourite places like South Bank are covered with water, and you need a boat to go down Coronation Drive.

The transit authorities have done a stellar job moving trains out of the yard and parking them nose-to-tail in giant "snakes" to get them out of … stabling which could be flooded. Skeleton bus and trains running. …

the river was full of logs, pontoons and luxury boats hurtling down like missiles. Not sure where any of the citycats are.

My understanding was that the CityCat ferries are safe, but that most of their wharves have been destroyed.  UPDATE: Commenter Daryl Rosin advises that the ferries were moved out onto Moreton Bay, and berthed at Manly, where the river flooding won't affect them. 

Image of Gardens Point CityCat wharf, Peter Wallis, Brisbane Courier-Mail.

6 Responses to brisbane: the flood at its peak

  1. Darryl Rosin January 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    the Citycats were moved into Moreton Bay on Tuesday and are berthed at Manly.

  2. In Brisbane January 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Video here:

  3. GMichaud January 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I went through a major flood in in the region near St. Louis in 1993, I understand the difficulties. The Mississippi (and Missouri) Rivers are a powerful force.
    You probably aren’t ready to think about it yet, but, since you are a designer, the major question is how to rebuild with the river in mind?
    I don’t believe the question was thoroughly aired in the St. Louis Region, as a result it there are more flooding risks than previously. These concerns especially are important if major floods recur every 50 years in Brisbane and surroundings as I have heard on the news.
    The Missouri/ Mississippi River Valley has(had) vast bottomlands. it is heavily channelized now. Is there similarities or differences to Brisbane? (Also is there a global warming theory of less ice, more water equals more rain floating around?)
    Anyway Good Luck

  4. In Brisbane January 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    @ GMichaud
    Unfortunately, there is just no way to engineer one’s way out of something like this. We had a nice big dam upstream constructed after 1974’s floods, it reached 190% of capacity (i.e. 90% flood storage used up) so water had to be released, which has gone downstream.
    Many “Queenslander” type homes are built on stilts. These allow water to go straight underneath- unfortunately the newer buildings are on flat concrete slabs, and these newer building can’t do that.

  5. jack horner January 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Rising water certainly focusses the mind on small height differences.
    I once live on a reclaimed-swamp-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill street in inner Sydney. You would think the street was flat, but in fact one end was probably a foot or two higher than the other. I was grateful for that extra foot when the water was lapping at the underside of the floor joists.

  6. Kathy January 13, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    A posting from you must mean you are okay. I’m so sorry to hear about the massive flooding. I’ve been praying for Australia as I hear and see more coverage.