If there’s one party that understands the mantra “never let a good crisis go to waste”, it’s the Greens.
In reaction to the flooding across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales over the last few days, the Greens have blamed climate change and our coal and gas industries.
Greens leader Adam Bandt and his Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters wrote “we’ll suffer more fires and flooding if warming exceeds 1.5 degrees. We MUST get out of coal and gas”.
Larissa continued, “as climate change accelerates, periods of intensive and sudden rainfall like this will become more and more common.”
Just open a bloody history book or a Dorothea Mackellar poem for once.
As explained in a letter written by Mr N. Bartley to The Queenslander on Saturday the 19th of September 1885, Australia ALWAYS was and ALWAYS will be a land of droughts and flooding rains.
“From 1782 to 1792, Captain Flinders landed at intervals in various places on the south and east coasts of our continent, and he found traces of drought and bush fires invariably”.
Then came a wet period, and in nearly every year from 1799 to 1806 there were high floods in New South Wales. The Hawkesbury River, it is stated, rose 101ft. at the town of Windsor, crops were destroyed, wheat cost 80s. a bushel, and there was almost a famine, as may well be imagined.
Excessive rain ruled till 1810, when it stopped, and in 1811 water was sold at 6d. a bucketful in Sydney. From 1811 till 1826 there were more floods than droughts, and the Hunter River rose 37ft. in 1820; but from 1826 to 1829 was the longest, continuous, and recorded drought in Australia, and 4d. a gallon was paid for water in Sydney in 1829.
In 1830 came the first great flood for eleven years, and Windsor, on the Hawkesbury, was, once more, an island pro tem.
After this, however, the years were moderately but decidedly dry ones, and A.D. 1837, 1838, and 1839 brought a three years’ drought, which almost exterminated the sheep and cattle of Australia, and dried up that great “father of waters” the big Murrumbidgee River itself, leaving the very fish to putrefy in the dry bed thereof, and anyone who has seen and crossed this river in flood time, ten miles wide (as I have), can imagine what weather it took to dry it up, for the main river, though narrow, is very deep.
Then came more floods after the break-up of this drought; and, in 1841, was the highest known flood in this part of the world. The Brisbane and Bremer rivers were both in flood at once, and the water rose 70ft. at Ipswich.
From 1841 to 1849 there was rather more rain than was wanted, but the latter half of 1849, all of 1850, and the early part of 1851 gave us another severe drought, and “Black Thursday,” 6th February, 1851, “boxed” the scattered bush-fires of the colony of Victoria into one vast wide blaze, before a northerly hurricane, which blew coaches and men-of-wars’ rowing boats over like hats. Farms, buildings, fences, crops, and lives were lost of course.
This drought broke in May, 1851, and in 1852 came a flood that swept the town of Gundagai, on the Murrumbidgee, away, and drowned a score or two of the in-habitants. 1857, 1863, 1864, 1870, 1873,1875, and 1879 saw floods of more or less height in the Brisbane River, with boats rowing in Mary-street and Stanley-street, taking people out of houses in the first four years named.
1869 and 1877 were dry years; 1882 and early 1883 were wet, and then, after the Java and Sumatra earthquake of August, 1883, came the constant evening glow and iron drought that has scarcely been broken since; the present is, no doubt, one of the periodic heavy droughts (like the 1826 and 1838 ones) which visit us at times, and become forgotten in the flood intervals, and it seems to be further complicated by the Krakatoa earthquake of August, 1883, on which occasion the pent up subterranean gases which usually form a comparatively harmless vent in ordinary volcanoes became increased, and found it needful to burst up a large area of sea and land in order to find escape.”
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