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The day Melbourne went underwater

15 October 2020

Melbourne's no stranger to wet weather, but it's not often you see people rowing down the streets of South Yarra!

When heavy rain burst the banks of the Yarra River 130 years ago, surrounding suburbs were inundated with water. Crowds of people travelled by train and tram to gather and watch the progress of the flood, which particularly affected the low-lying suburbs of Collingwood, Richmond, South Yarra and South Melbourne.

People were rowing down their streets, thousands were rendered homeless, and three lives were lost. The city held multiple fundraising events, raising over £15,000 for the flood relief fund.

Our latest From the Vault video offers an extraordinary glimpse into our city, underwater, during this catastrophic weather event.

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About From the Vault

From the Vault is a video series that delves into the surprising, poignant and sometimes funny stories behind the unique archival images held in the State Library Victoria collection.

Find out more and view all episodes.