Woden Flood MemorialPrint Page
The memorial was erected in memory of the seven victims of the Woden Valley floods of 1971.
In January 1971, a severe storm caused flash-flooding and seven deaths due to drowning and injuries. Widespread flooding occurred in Woden Valley, south-east of the city, which rapidly filled the concrete-lined creek that ran beside the Woden Valley freeway. At the time of the storm, the freeway was packed with commuters heading home.
As the deluge began, the traffic halted and culverts at one end of the valley became blocked with debris. The backup sent a flash flood surging onto the freeway which engulfed more than a dozen cars and swept them into its torrent.
|Address:||Service Street, Parkland near Melrose Drive, Curtin, 2605|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -35.335889|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Actual Event STart Date:||26-January-1971|
|Actual Event End Date:||26-January-1971|
|Actual Monument Dedication Date:||Tuesday 26th January, 2010|
WODEN FLOOD MEMORIAL
This memorial is dedicated to the memory of seven young people, including four children, who lost their lives in the Woden Floods on Australia Day 1971.
On the night of Tuesday 26 January a thunderstorm sudden in onset and severe in intensity broke of the developing suburbs of the Woden Valley. It was accompanied by torrential rain and in the flash-flooding that followed seven lives were lost. The drainage system at the intersection could not cope. Three cars were swept from the roadway.
The tragedy was exacerbated by the absence of depth indicators and warning signs. No screens had been installed to prevent build-up at the crossing. The roadway itself was constructed on the valley floor. The system was designed to overflow. At its peak, the water on 26 January 1971 topped the culvert by 1.5 metres.
Many selfless acts of courage by ACT Police. Emergency Services personnel and ordinary Canberrans took place on the night of the tragedy.
The design failures and lack of warnings were addressed in the wake of the tragedy. Major reconstruction work took place. An elevated roadway incorporating massive drainage channels was built at what is now one of Canberra's busiest intersections.
The history of the Woden Valley Floods is available from the ACT Heritage Library.
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