DROUGHT: Reflections in the reservoir water in Warwick, 1954 / Credit: SLQ archives
DROUGHT: Reflections in the reservoir water in Warwick, 1954 / Credit: SLQ archives

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The day the drought broke

In the Warwick Daily News latest series, Throwback Thursday, we examine the headlines of the past and take a big breath of nostalgia.

As a farming town, Warwick has always battled with droughts, but on this day in 1954, a “sea of water” beckoned the end of a horrendous 1950s dry spell.

While the 1950s Queensland drought is not as well-known as the Federation and Millennium Droughts. it was a huge blow to the region.

At the time, even Artist Sidney Nolan’s drawing collection, commissioned by the Courier Mail to demonstrate the reality of drought, were never published due to their confronting content.

In Warwick, dry conditions led to never-before-seen levels of hand feeding in the dairy industry.

But overnight on February 11, a stroke of luck hit the Southern Downs.

More than 130mm hit Warwick, cutting roads to Stanthorpe, Brisbane and Toowoomba and officially ending the drought.

The Daily News covered the reaction from locals.

“A motorist who arrived in Warwick from Toowoomba last night said that he had to obtain the services, of a tractor to help, his car across a section of Missen Flat, which was

covered by several feet of swiftly, flowing water,” the paper read.

“A passenger coach driver said that seven inches of rain had fallen at Aratula, on the main Warwick to Brisbane highway; and from there to Warrill View was ‘a sea of

water’.”

For farmers and the state president of the QDO, the news was just what they’d been longing for.

“We have been about the last to receive good rains, and as far as the Warwick district is concerned we require every drop,” he told the Daily News.

He also said the rains meant farmers “could go ahead with the planting of winter fodders, particularly oats”.

The rain also brought an end to a strict Wallangarra hosing ban, delighting apple and vegetable growers in the Stanthorpe region.



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