Historic flood levels are an important input to flood studies to help with hydraulic model calibration and to improve the precision of flood frequency analysis. A collection of old bridge plans from Victorian Railways (Victoria, Australia) is available that includes information on flood levels from some of the largest floods from the late 19th and early 20th Century. From newspaper reports, we know these were big floods, but information on levels is hard to find which means the observations noted on these plans are a valuable resource.
A link to a PDF file with 409 plans is here:
I’ve pulled out some examples in the following figures.
Mitchell River, 1870 flood level at Bairnsdale
Nicholson River, 1893 flood level at the Nicholson Bridge
The 1893 flood was a very significant event in this area, resulting in a change in course in the nearby Tambo River which isolated a wharf which was important for river traffic at the time (Erskine et al., 1990).
I’ve looked through all the plans and found flood levels for about 15 waterways as noted in the following table. Not all of these will be useful but there are a few gems such as the 1934 flood levels in Orbost which include velocity estimates.
|Waterway||Location||Page number in PDF||Comment|
|Back Ck||Taradale||381||“Max” flood level|
|Goulburn River||Toolamba||400||1870 flood|
|Jacksons Ck||Sunbury||361||1916 flood|
|Maribrynong River||168||‘Adopted’ flood level|
|Mitchell River||Bairnsdale||178||1870 flood|
|Moonee Ponds Ck||Jacana||221||‘Adopted’ flood level|
|MurrayRiver||Albury||265||Flood sometime prior to 1882|
|Murray River||Tocumwal||388||Flood prior to 1892|
|Nicholson River||Nicholson||275||1893 flood|
|Snowy River||Orbost||301||1934 flood|
|Thomson River||Sale||317||Flood prior to Nov 1874|
|Yarra River||Richmond||310||1863 flood|
|Woady Yallock Ck||405||1909 flood|