Remembering the 2011 Queensland floods

Widespread flooding amongst houses in the Ipswich region, Queensland, 2011. Photographer: Dean Saffron. From Dean Saffron Queensland Flood photographs 2011. State Library of Queensland. Image number 28001-0001-0043

This year marks 10 years since the devastating Queensland floods of January 2011. Parts of Queensland including the Lockyer Valley, the Darling Downs, Ipswich and Brisbane were inundated with floodwaters. Approximately 5,900 people were evacuated from their homes during the crisis with 28,000 homes in need of rebuilding in the aftermath.The 2011 Queensland floods would also claim the lives of 33 people.

State Library of Queensland is committed to documenting events such as the 2011 Queensland floods through photographs, oral histories and other materials. 

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, State Library curated a selection of images, videos and other collection materials on our online engagement platform, Explorer. We encourage you to share your memories by creating your own Explorer account and adding your story by commenting or uploading a photo of your experiences.  

Here are some collection highlights.

28510 Amanda Gearing Queensland Flood Collection

A collection of oral history recordings, photographs, hand drawn maps, videos and speech notes relating to the 2011 Queensland floods and the major flood event that occurred in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley region on 10 January 2011: a flash flood (described as an 'inland tsunami') which devastatingly took 21 human lives. The collection, amassed by Toowoomba-based journalist Amanda Gearing for her Master of Arts degree, includes 86 oral history recordings of flood survivors and rescuers in Spring Bluff, Murphys Creek, Toowoomba, Withcott, Postmans Ridge, Helidon, Carpendale and Grantham as well as digital photographs and videos taken by a number of those interviewed including those taken by Amanda Gearing and other locals. This collection is digitised and can be viewed via our One Search catalogue.

N.S.W. Rural Fire Service helicopter flying over a collapsing house during the floods in Grantham, Queensland, 2011. Photographer: Amanda Gearing. 28510 Amanda Gearing Queensland Flood Collection. State Library of Queensland. Image 28510-0145-0084


28084 Premier Anna Bligh Speech Notes and Transcripts 2011

Digitised copy of the handwritten speech notes that then Premier Anna Bligh gave at press conferences on 10 and 13 January 2011, as the Brisbane River reached its flood peak. The Premier's speeches at these press conferences became famous for the lines 'It may break our hearts, but not our will' and 'We're Queenslanders...We're the ones they breed tough, north of the border...'. The collection also includes paper copies of the full transcripts of the press conferences, including questions from journalists and comments from Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson, and Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart.

We are Queenslanders; we're the people that they breed tough north of the border. We're the ones that they knock down and we get up again.

Excerpts from 28084 Premier Anna Bligh Speech Notes and Transcripts 2011. State Library of Queensland

Dean Saffron Queensland Flood Photographs 2011

A collection of 104 photographs taken by freelance documentary photographer Dean Saffron documenting the Queensland floods of 2011, including the devastation in the town of Grantham, in the Lockyer Valley.

Condamine publican Shane Hickey surveying the flood damage in his lounge room, Condamine, Queensland, 2011. Photographer: Dean Saffron. Dean Saffron Queensland Flood Photographs 2011. State Library of Queensland. Image number: 28001-0001-0011

27803 Brisbane flood photographs 2011 (photographer Leif Ekstrom)

Brisbane's South Bank, including the State LIbrary of Queensland building were inundated during the floods. Capturing over 300 images State Library's photographer Leif Ekstrom documented the rising floodwater around Brisbane's CDB, South Bank area, South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point and Archerfield. 

State Library of Queensland building during the January floods 2011. Photographer: Leif Ekstrom. Brisbane flood photographs 2011. State Library of Queensland. Image number: 27803-0001-0099

28005 Mud Army T-Shirt 2011

During the cleanup effort following the floods, large waves of volunteers pitched in to assist affected communities. These volunteers became known as the 'Mud Army'. A special t-shirt was created by a young New Zealand business-woman, Sonia Cuff, owner of a 'Computer Troubleshooters' franchise based in regional Queensland. This t-shirt is now part of our collection.

More collections

You can view more collection items related to the 2011 floods on our One Search catalogue


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