Hold it – and dam the risk, The Telegraph, 29 January 1974

Risk decision is all mine: Clem, The Telegraph, 29 January 1974

Mayor's order on dam puts tiny town in peril, The Australian, 30 January 1974

Mayor orders big dam shut, Courier Mail, 30 January 1974

At the height of the 1974 floods the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Clem Jones, ordered the gates of Somerset Dam be shut to prevent the release of floodwaters defying the recommendations of the

The Brisbane River floods. In the extreme episodes of natural disasters a boatload of stories flow from the mouths of people to comprehend their landscape.

Township and works at Somerset Dam, 1937

1 January 1937
15 April 2015
15 April 2015
Bureau of Industry

Collection of University of Queensland Library

Township and works at Somerset Dam, 1937. For the purposes of building Somerset Dam, a small township was established at the construction site.  As shown by this map, the township boasted a hospital, school, police station and even tennis courts. A ‘swimming pool’ was located downstream in the river. The workshops, storage sheds and crushing plant were located upstream. The stone quarry, used for dam building, was at the top of the hill. By 1937, 126 workers’ cottages were constructed. The inset in the top left corner shows the location of the dam above the junction of the Stanley and Brisbane Rivers. In a letter to the Brisbane Courier in 1935, H.P. Somerset explained that his name’s association with the dam and township was not in relation to his efforts to warn Brisbane back in 1893, rather, it was his suggestion of the site after writing to the Water Board in 1906. Somerset was flatteringly described as an ‘engineer’ for noticing the rock formation as well as its suitability for dam construction. Queensland Parliamentary Papers, Vol.2, 1937

Built around a tidal river, some 20 km from Moreton Bay, Brisbane often floods, usually in conjunction with La Niña events bringing heavy wet conditions and cyclonic activity across the state.

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