1914-1915 Australian Drought Led To Complete Crop Failure

The drought of 1914-15 became seared in the memory of Australians, primarily due to the disastrous failure of the wheat crop that year.

The first signs of drought became evident in 1913, when rainfall in western Victoria, central areas of Tasmania, and settled areas of South Australia, was well below average in the normally wet April-July period. Timely rain in early spring then saved the wheat crop and gave good pastoral prospects. But there was to be no such respite the following year, a strong El Niño year. 1914 started off very hot, and southern Victoria suffered from widespread bushfires in February and March. Good rains fell over most of eastern Australia in March and April, but thereafter extremely dry conditions set in over most of the southern half of the country.

Except in coastal NSW, drought became widespread and severe from July to October. Across large areas of the southern states the period May through October 1914 remains the driest such period on record. As conditions worsened, stock were transported as fast as the railways could carry them to more favoured locations, where – naturally – prices for agistment rose substantially. From the Deniliquin district alone over half a million sheep, and thousands of horses and cattle, were moved out. Rivers throughout southeastern Australia fell to extremely low levels. The Murray River at Echuca fell to its lowest level ever recorded to that time, to just 2 percent of its normal flow by December. Downstream of Swan Hill the Murray was reduced to a series of stagnant pools.

By the end of October the national wheat crop was a total failure. In southwestern Australia – often spared when drought afflicts the eastern states – less than half the normal rainfall fell during the critical May-October period, leading to complete crop failure in some districts, and easily the lowest Western Australian wheat yield of the century.

BOM – Australian Climate Extremes-Drought

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7 Responses to 1914-1915 Australian Drought Led To Complete Crop Failure

  1. Andy Oz says:

    I was born and grew up 50 km from Deniliquin.
    The irrigation canals from the Murray River to the region were built in the 1930’s after this drought and during the Great Depression. They made the Riverina the food bowl of south eastern Australia. Along with the Snowy Mountains Scheme, they secured water for the bulk of the nation agriculture.

  2. Aard Knox says:

    The seven day forecast for Deniliquin begins with 38 degrees C (100F) tomorrow and heads north from there up to 45C (113F) Thursday, cooling down to 36 next Saturday.
    I expect the media will panic over this heat wave. The word “unprecedented” will get another workout. CAGW will be blamed.
    In 1939 the temperature at Deniliquin was above 100F every day from January 1 to January 14. The top temperature was 118F. I was conceived during that fortnight within 25 miles of the town.
    There was no air conditioning then. Birds and animals dropped dead (along with a handful of humans) but no one panicked because the old timers had seen it all before and people listened to them instead of the ranting of over-educated idiots.

    • Andy Oz says:

      So you were conceived “In the heat of the night”??

    • Billy Liar says:

      If you live in a hot country you can hardly complain that it’s still hot, can you?

      • Andy Oz says:

        Spot on Billy. Soy Latte sipping wimpy alarmists complain about everything when Australia has had a hot dry climate for millennia. If they wanted cold and wet, they should move to New Zealand, England or Seattle.

  3. Rosco says:

    World record heatwave occurred in 1923/24 –


    “The world record for the longest sequence of days above 100°Fahrenheit (or 37.8° on the Celsius scale) is held by Marble Bar in the inland Pilbara district of Western Australia. The temperature, measured under standard exposure conditions, reached or exceeded the century mark every day from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924, a total of 160 days.”

    Oodnadatta, in South Australia, recorded 50.7°C on 2 January 1960 – the highest recorded in Australia.

    Combine that with the incredible heat elsewhere during the 1930’s especially at Death Valley and today is slightly warm.

  4. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Thanks to the UN IPCC, government funded climate scientists, Greenpeace, NASA, BoM, CSIRO, WWF, industrial wind farms, solar panels, carbon taxes, Al Gore, Barack Obama and the redistribution of hundreds of billions of your hard earned money, Climate Change disasters like the 1914-1915 Australian drought that led to complete National crop failure, will never happen again.

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