Flooding in Russell
Original photo © Russell Museum

The winter season is upon us, a time of wind, rain and sometimes flooding.

This photo is taken at 8.45am on 6 June 1925, from the hillside above Pitt Street and looking north to Maiki Hill. To the left is York Street with the Town Hall and Hananui’s fence. Far right is a house in Chapel Street now with a wisteria vine on its picket fence.

The land between York and Church Streets is obviously low lying and swampy – prone to flooding. There are stories of being able to use a dinghy to get from one place to another. The stream that drains the town obviously couldn’t cope. Since then many sections have been raised by fill and improved drainage has helped the area to shed excess water more easily.

But still in 1977 flash flooding caused problems in Florance Avenue, at Willowbridge Motel in Chapel Street and in Matauwhi Bay Road.

Eight large pipes were installed under Hope Avenue in 1985 to alleviate flooding on the flat caused by water from surrounding hills.

Today only ponding in Church Street near the cemetery is a problem and hopefully will soon be solved.