While Central Australia has been getting hammered with rain recently, 60 years ago it was Katherine that was under water, brought by a 1957 cyclone that was centred at the mouth of the Daly River. This image shows the main street as ìan island, completely surrounded by water, no possible way to evacuate, as described in the photographer’s handwritten note on the back. The Katherine River broke its banks near the Sportsman Arms pub, with water flowing from there around the back of the airport and into town from the south. While reliable data is hard to come by, it ís thought that the river peaked at 19.28m, making it the largest and most significant flooding event prior to the floods of 1998.


Published: 22 January 2017


Picture: Library & Archives NT. Main street, Katherine, 1957, PictureNT, Henry & Gwen Scott Collection, PH0663/0015

Forgotten Territory was a weekly photo column of historic images in the Northern Territory News which I curated from 2016 until 2019 supported by the collections of the Northern Territory Library and other cultural institutions around Australia, as well as local history Facebook groups. 

Click on the images to read the story behind the image.

Warning: May contain images of people who have died.

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These works were made on Arrernte, Larrakia, Gaddigal and Lenape land that was never ceded