Little Para River Flood, 1963

The Little Para River, notorious for its flooding in earlier years, came down in a flash flood shortly after 5pm on the evening of April 25th, 1963 and cut Elizabeth off from Adelaide and suburbs south of the town.

Heavy deluges of rain falling on the catchment area brought the river down to overflow its banks and the bridges on the Main North Road, Commercial Road, Gawler Street, Happy Home and Port Wakefield Road, in what was reputed to be the biggest and shortest flood within living memory.

Little Para River in flood, 1960

Little Para River in flood, 1960

Citrus growers along the valley were accustomed to the river’s floods, which, although causing much damage also left behind a valuable legacy of silt for the citrus orchards. This time a tree trunk swept down the river and became lodged under the bridge on the Main North Road, causing the water to bank up rapidly and fill the dip in the road up to the Old Spot Hotel. Traffic to and from the city was stranded and commuters from Adelaide had to wait for their tea on one side of the newly formed lake over the bridge, while anxious wives waved to them from the Elizabeth side.

An hour or two later, the river fell rapidly and the traffic continued on its way.

No floods have occurred in the lower reaches of the Little Para since the construction of the Little Para Dam in 1977.

(Elizabeth, South Australia)

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