New Accession: Brisbane River Flood in January 2011 and The South Brisbane Sailing Club (Photographs taken by Mr Steve Fletcher)

Every afternoon, on my way home from work, I walk past The South Brisbane Sailing Club, situated at Orleigh Park in West End. As I look at the recently renovated clubhouse, I find it difficult to imagine that a year ago the building was affected by the flood, suffering a considerable damage.

A recent addition to the State Library’s Original Content collection documents a difficult period in the history of the Club—the month of January 2011.

A year ago, the Brisbane River flood caused damage to the clubhouse, with the disability access pontoon braking loose and floating down the river. The harm would have been much worse if volunteers hadn’t helped to save boats, memorabilia and other items from the clubhouse.



South Brisbane Sailing Club began its life in 1903, as the Victoria Sailing Club. Several years later, in 1906, the Club was reformed and continued to exist as the South Brisbane Sailing Club. In 1908 the Club had its rooms in Stanley Street, South Brisbane, with a very popular billiard table contributing funds to the Club’s revenue.

The clubhouse at Orleigh Park was officialy opened on 9 June 1956. In late January 1974, during the flood, the building narrowly escaped being washed away by the force of the river. Club members, some of whom had their own houses and businesses damaged by the flood, worked hard to save the boats and equipment and clean the mud from the clubhouse.

The Club’s attractive position in the park on the bend of the river unfortunately makes it vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, such as the 1974 and the 2011 floods.

The clubhouse has recently been renovated thanks to the financial help from the Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Bank of Queensland and McDonalds, as well as the efforts of volunteers.

The South Brisbane Sailing Club is holding a ‘Relaunch Day’ on Saturday 21st January to mark the official re-opening of the Club after the flood. Everyone is welcome to join the members for a barbecue and a tour of the clubhouse.


Helen Gregory, A century of sail: the South Brisbane Sailing Club 1903-2003

South Brisbane Sailing Club website:

Veronika Farley, Librarian - State Library of Queensland 


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