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Disasters in Australia – not a new normal, just normal

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The recent spate of large natural disasters in Australia has a lot of people asking whether we are in some sort of “new normal” of regular catastrophic disasters. I believe such comments demonstrate a lack of sense of history – disasters, even catastrophic disasters, are a regular feature of the Australian landscape. Disasters ARE normal, there’s nothing new about it.

I thought I’d take a look at another 10 year period to demonstrate; I’ve picked the 1930s. Here’s a brief summary of significant disasters in that decade:

  • 1930 – Widespread flooding in Queensland – 6 deaths
  • 1932 – Bushfire in Gippsland – 9 deaths
  • 1934 – Cyclone in North Queensland – 99 deaths
  • 1934 – Flooding in Melbourne and Victoria – 35 deaths and 400 homes destroyed
  • 1935 – Cyclone in Broome WA – 141 deaths and pearling fleet destroyed
  • 1938/39 – Heatwave, 438 deaths, and the Black Friday bushfires with 71 deaths in Victoria, 6 in NSW and 1000 homes destroyed.
  • 1939/40 – Heatwave 112 deaths
  • 1940 – Burdekin Flood, Queensland – 3 deaths

Sources: Wikipedia and EM Knowledge Hub

1 Comment

  1. Daniel Dwyer says:

    Well said Ben!

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