10 Years On: Brisbane floods inundate Suncorp Stadium

Austadiums   |  Monday 15th February 2021
Suncorp Stadium under water during the 2011 Brisbane Floods

Devastating floods hit Brisbane in January 2011 and while one of the most iconic images was Suncorp Stadium under water, there were many other venues also affected.

Flood waters crept into the 52,000-capacity stadium, eventually inundating it over the 11th, 12th and 13th of January, and the impact would be felt at the ground for well over a year.

Smoke was sighted at the stadium, causing panic for some, after flood waters caused a small explosion in the transformer room. The flames were brought under control quickly with minimal damage caused.

At the peak of the floods, water was 1.1 metres deep in the middle of the field of play. It was 1.3 metres deep in the seating bowl and 1.4 metres deep in the dressing rooms area.

Photos courtesy suncorpstadium.com.au

There were fears the entire playing field would have to be resurfaced, however remarkably, it was salvaged, but the same couldn’t be said for many of the stadium’s facilities on level one.

The water inundated all spaces on level 1 west including the player change rooms, gameday operations room, press conference room, stadium control room, building distribution room, and more, the Queensland Rugby League offices were also affected.

Additionally, a large quantity of essential equipment was destroyed or severely damaged, including the main stadium switchboard, eight lifts, elements of the air-conditioning system, the entire fire control system, the in-house television network, the telephone system, the CCTV system and the ticketing control system.

The stadium’s temporary closure prompted urgent talks between its present tenants, including the Brisbane Roar, who were scheduled to play an A-League fixture at the venue on the Sunday, but with the stadium off limits, the match was postponed and eventually relocated to the Gold Coast.

Temporary change rooms were built in the southern car park and they were in use for months following the event, while existing facilities were repaired and upgraded.

The Queensland Tennis Centre was another major venue inundated, with Pat Rafter Arena submerged by flood waters not long after hosting the Brisbane International, causing extensive damage.

Albion Park Raceway was, home of harness racing in the Queensland capital, was not for the first time, completely submerged in floodwaters. However, the adjacent Allan Border Oval was unaffected.

Ballymore was one of the lucky venues, with Queensland Reds players spent more than six hours sandbagging the rugby facility, and the hard work paid off, with the venue largely unaffected with the exception of waterlogged fields. However, it’s believed the aluminium grandstand at the northern end, adjacent to the Enoggera Creek, was damaged as a result of the floods.

Northern Suburbs Leagues Club, which produced Allan Langer among others, was entirely submerged, and it was a similar story for countless suburban venues in Brisbane and beyond.

Other venues had been used as refuges, ruling them out for any sports events – including the Brisbane Exhibition Ground which was due to host Brisbane’s four-match series in the Australian Baseball League, and QSAC which could have been a back-up option for rectangular sports.

In all, 97 communities across Queensland were impacted, either flooded or isolated from November 2010 onwards, with 33 people losing their lives. Ninety-four Brisbane suburbs were impacted by floodwater, and as many as 23,000 properties were completely or partially flooded. By the 'end' of the tragedy, 2.5 million people were impacted, and the damage bill soared past $5 billion.

View more photos of the devastating floods on the ABC website.

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Devastating floods hit Brisbane in January 2011 and while one of the most iconic images was Suncorp Stadium under water, there were many other venues also affected.
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