A correspondent of the Grafton Observer writes to that journal as follows:

“From observations made by those who have had the best opportunities of forming a correct opinion, there is little doubt that Australia is subject to long periods during which dry seasons prevail, and again, intervals of some years, in which there is a prevalence of floods; and it may prove of interest to some of your readers to have before them a record of the observations made since the colony was first established, which bear upon this subject.

“I therefore append at foot, an account of all the recorded floods and droughts which have taken place since the colony was established. It must be borne in mind that these observations are of necessity confined to those districts which were settled at the various periods, and will not, until lately, refer to any part north of the Hunter or Port Macquarie.

“This table was for the most part prepared by Dr. Jevons, and I extracted it from a document in the Sydney Observatory.

“The theory of alternate long period or prevailing wet or dry seasons may be confirmed in the mind of any one who will observe the numerous small swamps in which there is a growth of gum trees, which must have required a period of at least fifteen years, during which there was no standing water on the ground, and after they had attained their present growth, a succession of hot seasons has left sufficient water on the ground to kill them.

“It is, of course, impossible to predict that any particular year will be wet or dry, but we may reasonably conclude that there is every probability of a greater number of dry seasons than floods during the next fifteen or twenty years, and those whose interests are likely to be affected either way, will, in my opinion, be acting prudently, by taking precautions rather against droughts than floods.

“I am, Sir, yours, &c.,


“Grafton, October 3rd.”

DRY period

1789 Drought
1791 Drought
1797 Drought


1799 Flood
1800 Flood
1801 Flood
1805 Flood
1806 Flood
1808 Flood
1809 Flood
1810 Flood
1811 Do, slight drought
1812 Flood
1814 Severe drought
1815 Severe drought
1816 Flood
1817 Flood
1818 Slight drought
1819 Flood
1820 Flood
1821 Flood


1823 Slight drought
1824 Slight drought
1826 Flood
1827 Do., severe drought
1828 Severe drought
1829 Severe drought
1830 Flood
1831 Flood
1832 Flood
1835 Slight drought
1836 Slight drought
1837 Extreme drought
1838 Extreme drought
1839 Extreme drought
1840 Flood
1841 Slight drought


1842 Flood
1843 Flood
1844 Flood
1845 Drought
1846 Flood
1847 Flood
1848 Flood
1849 Drought
1850 Flood — drought
1851 Flood
1852 Flood
1853 Flood
1856 Flood
1857 Do., slight drought
1859 Flood
1861 Flood
1862 Flood
1863 Flood
1864 Flood

Source: Empire Sydney, Australia