Blanchetown, South Australia usually nuzzles up alongside the River Murray about 45 minutes from the Barossa Valley. But thanks to the mind-boggling Flood of ‘23, Blanchetown now sits under the River Murray. In other words, to mix natural disaster metaphors, it is at the epicenter of the flooding.
Blanchetown is usually a Mecca for river-loving tourists, but the flooding is so extensive that almost everything has been shut down. No boating is allowed. No jet skiing. No water skiing. No fishing. And most of the vacation homes and hotels that line the river are under water, too. Under these extreme conditions, you might expect the town to be deserted, but just the opposite it true. This is a once in a lifetime event and people are pouring in from all over the country just to see the historic flooding for themselves.
We drove over on Thursday afternoon, took a few photos, had dinner at the Blanchetown Hotel (which sits on a promontory above the river), and then headed home.
You might look at this photo and think, “That’s a decent-sized river, but nothing worth writing about.” Well, my friends, that is not the River Murray. That is just a small portion of the flood waters that have overflowed its bank until they butted up against the cliffs to the east. To the west, the water has slowly spread across hundreds of square miles of low-lying plains.
In the photo above, look closely enough and you’ll see a small sliver of water about two-thirds of the way up the photo (above). That’s the River Murray way over there. And in the foreground, those are two story homes with their first floors completely under water.
Here is a shot of the western side of the river. Again, those are two-story houses, but the water has risen so high that only their top stories are visible. And these houses normally sit nowhere near the river bed.
Look at the grey tin shed right in the middle of the photo (above). Residue left on the side of the shed indicate that the water has already receded about three feet. They estimate that as many as 4,000 homes have been flooded.
The water is dropping quickly now, but it’s leaving behind some remarkable damage. The day will come when old timers bore their younger friends with tales of The Flood of ‘23. And we’ll be able to say, “We were there.”
Unbelievable. Do you guys have some thoughts that 🤔 “should we really come to Aussie”? Is this a message??😂
You got a couple words in the wrong order in that question, Wen. We thought “we really should come to Aussie.”
J.P. Travis says
The crocs are on the north side of Australia, right? Just asking for a friend.
Your “friend” will have nothing to worry about. The crocs are up in the tropical northern part of the country.
I hope the cemetery isn’t in the lowlands. (In the photo above the last one, there’s a street sign indicating a cemetery.) What a mess. Best wishes to the residents of Blanchetown.
Good catch, Traci. I’ll ask around and see if I can come up with an answer.