Wellington Shire Council

Flood information for the Wellington Shire Council, encompassing local flood guides and a Municipal Flood Emergency Plan.

On this page:


Wellington Shire Council municipal map.
Wellington Shire Council municipal map.

Wellington Shire Council is home to the Thomson, Macalister, Avon, Latrobe, Albert, Tarra and Mitchell Rivers, Merrimans Creek and the Gippsland Lakes.  The Thomson Reservoir, Glenmaggie Weir and Cowwarr Weir are located in the Thomson / Macalister rivers and can impact flooding in areas below the reservoirs.

Weather systems commonly referred to as east coast lows can produce heavy rainfall on frequent occasions which can lead to minor riverine flooding with major flood events in both the rivers and lakes occurring more rarely.

For example, during June 2007, four major east coast lows occurred in succession with each one producing heavy rainfall.  The last east coast low brought up to 300mm of rainfall resulting in major riverine flooding across the Council area and the Gippsland Lakes rising 1.3m above normal levels.

A significant risk is isolation of communities, vehicles and recreational visitors through the area when rivers and creeks rise making roads impassable.

Households and businesses should refer to their Local Flood Guide or East Gippsland Shire Flood Emergency Plan for more information.

Are you at risk of flood?

The Avon River has a large funnel-shaped catchment that fills the river quickly. It flows through Valencia Creek, Bushy Park, Boisdale and Stratford before joining the Gippsland Lakes at Lake Wellington. It is fed by the Freestone and Valencia Creeks near Briagolong, Bushy Park and Valencia Creek.

Rain in the hills can cause the Avon to flood even if there is little or no rain lower down. This can catch you unawares, so it's important to pay attention to weather forecasts that focus on higher in the mountains.

The creeks in the foothills north of Briagolong and Valencia Creek can fill, isolating properties. If you live or travel in these areas, you will need a well-stocked home emergency kit. In a major flood, you may not have access out of the area for days.

It is dangerous to drive across flooded causeways and creek beds, even in four wheel drive vehicles. Shallow fast-flowing water can tip a car or push it off the edge of a narrow causeway. You won’t see obstacles under the water or know if the road is damaged.

Stratford sits on the Princes Highway between Sale and Bairnsdale. In major floods, the highway may be cut at the railway bridge on the Sale side. Apex Park and other parts of Stratford along the Avon River and Blackall Creek may also flood.

High water in Lake Wellington at the lower end of the catchment can slow flood water from draining and spread it over a wider area. This results in people below Stratford being flooded by a backwater effect rather than by direct flooding.

Floods are a part of life in the Avon River area. If you live, work, travel or camp there, take the time to plan ahead.

Are you at risk of flood?

Boisdale Flood map
  Click to enlarge.

Flooding in Boisdale is most common when significant rain has fallen on the ranges to the west and north of the community.

When this area becomes saturated, the runoff into the catchment then flows down the Avon River, Valencia, and Freestone Creeks.

This impacts the Valencia Creek community, lower-lying areas between Boisdale – Valencia Creek Road and Bushy Park – Valencia Creek Road, between Avon River and Maffra – Briagolong Road continuing down to the Llowalong area with significant overflow of water from the Avon between Llowalong Road and Boisdale Stratford Road.

While the upstream gauge on the Avon River (The Channels), is used to provide initial warnings for Boisdale and surrounds, the condition of the Wombat Bridge can also have a significant impact on flood duration for the immediate area due to gravel build up.

Wombat Bridge is located on the Avon River, 4 kms north of Valencia Creek entering the Avon River. History shows this is the first bridge to be submerged by flood waters with the second soon after being Valencia Creek bridge.

Locals know when the gauge on the Avon River at The Channels, (approx 8 kms up from Wombat Bridge), reaches 2.8m and combined with rain on Mount Wellington, it becomes apparent that significant flooding is about to occur, cutting off access to the bridge and isolating six families until water recedes.

While a new bridge has been constructed at Weirs Crossing, flood water disperses into a valley just shy of the bridge entrance, cutting off access. Access to this bridge is normally cut off at moderate flood level.

The map to the right shows the expected flooding in a major flood event for Boisdale area. A major flood event occurs at 7.50 metres on the Avon River gauge at The Channels.

Are you at risk of flood?

Holland Landing Flood map
  Click to enlarge.

In Hollands Landing, there are many low-lying properties at risk of flooding. Houses and roads
are so close to normal lake levels that there is not much difference in lake height between a minor flood and a major flood.

Flooding in the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon Rivers will impact the Hollands Landing area. Flooding in the Mitchell, Tambo and Nicholson Rivers can also cause properties to flood when there is a south easterly wind.

Flooding typically occurs one to three days after those rivers have experienced flooding with peaks slow to rise and recede, sometimes taking up to two weeks. Even small movements in lake heights will start to impact areas facing the lakes. During significant events, all roads in Hollands Landing are likely to flood to some degree, covering many properties in floodwater and isolating them for two weeks or more.

The map to the right shows flooding at the Minor Flood Level which is set at 0.7 metres on the Hollands Landing Gauge as well as the extent of the 2007 flood which measured 1.2 metres on the Hollands Landing Gauge.

Are you at risk of flood?

Loch Sport flood map
  Click to enlarge.

In Loch Sport, there are many low-lying properties at risk of flooding.

The Gippsland Lakes typically flood one to three days after flooding in the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister and Avon Rivers.

Flooding can also be caused by the Mitchell, Tambo and Nicholson Rivers where there is a strong
south easterly wind, increasing the lake levels around Loch Sport by up to 50 centimetres. Properties facing Lake Reeve and Lake Victoria have similar flood risk.

Lake Reeve will flood later because the Stockyard Hill Causeway restricts water flow at low levels. Once this causeway is overtopped at about 1.0 metre on the Loch Sport Marina Gauge. Lake Reeve levels rise quickly to meet those of Lake Victoria, flooding surrounding properties.

Floods in the Lakes are slow to rise and fall, sometimes taking up to two weeks.

The map to the right shows the Minor Flood Level (0.9 metres), the Major Flood Level (1.9 metres) and the 1% level, meaning there is a 1% chance of this kind of flood occurring each year.

Are you at risk of flood?

The Macalister River flows south from Glencairn and Licola, through Lake Glenmaggie, Tinamba, Riverslea and Bundalaguah to where it joins the Thomson River north of Sale.

Lake Glenmaggie is a small weir used to store water for the Macalister Irrigation District. It is not able to store large volumes of water or prevent floods. Water is released in a measured way to try to minimise the effects of floods downstream of the weir, if possible.

Floods in Tinamba may occur when 30,000ML/day of water are released from Glenmaggie Weir. This can result in water running through the intersection of the Maffra-Traralgon Road at Tinamba with businesses and homes at risk of flooding above floor level. Flooding within the town is limited. Rural areas in the vicinity of Maffra such as Mewburn Park, Bellbird Corner, Riverslea, Bundalaguah and Myrtlebank can have widespread rural flooding as the catchment spreads out and the water slows.

Local heavy rain can also cause flooding even when the upper catchment is dry, so be aware of local conditions.

Are you at risk of flood?

Rosedale flood map
  Rosedale 1% AEP (1 in 100 year) flood.
  Click to enlarge.

Rosedale can be inundated by water as a result of a range of differing flood scenarios. The largest flood to impact the community will come from substantial rainfall in the Strezlecki Ranges southeast of the town.

The rainfall will run off into a number of catchments including Blind Joe Creek, channelling the water down onto the low-lying agricultural land south of the town centre before flowing to the west of the town.

The community will also become inundated after approximately 150mm of rain over a short period. In the most severe scenarios flooding in Blind Joe Creek and Latrobe River will occur at the same time and can cause much of Rosedale to be flooded.

While Latrobe River is of considerable size and does experience flooding, the impact on the community from the Latrobe River alone would not be as significant, as the flood plain is expansive and can cater for increased water depth and flow.

The following streets would be impacted from this kind of large scale event:

  • Allen Court

  •  Mackay Street (northern end)

  • Queen Street and - Mill Lane.

Willow Park on the banks of the Latrobe River east of Rosedale is a popular stopping place for campers and caravans who could become stranded if the Latrobe River rises suddenly.

As a precaution, it is highly likely this camp ground will be given consideration to be closed to the public when flood waters reach minor flood gauge level (4.0m). Before the gauge reaches 4.15m, the park will be closed.

Widespread flooding across the Thomson, Macalister and Latrobe catchments will result in water remaining for a longer period of time and can increase the impacts to the community as a result.

Floods that occur in Rosedale can have the following impacts:

  • As the Latrobe River floodplain is quite vast, a major flood in the Latrobe River alone will only see Mackay, King and Queen Streets impacted in the Rosedale community.

  • During high intensity rainfall over Rosedale, the storm water drains will back up and cause additional flooding impacts to streets and roads.

  • Flood water from Blind Joe Creek will change direction, moving to the East when it hits the Railway line and Cansick Bridge due to lack of capacity under bridge.

Are you at risk of flood?

Sale flood map
  Click to enlarge.

Flooding in Sale is most common in the low-lying streets in the south and west of town, between Sale and the wetlands along the South Gippsland Highway such as Stephenson, Johns, Dargo, Stevens and Parks Streets and Billabong Road.

Flooding also occurs at the Port of Sale where the Sale Canal meets the Shire offices behind Foster Street. To the west and north-west of Sale, flooding can occur in the areas of Wurruk, Desailly Flats and Myrtlebank.

The Princes Highway at the Thomson River Bridge between Wurruk and Sale does not flood until the Major Flood Level of 4.0 metres is exceeded at the Sale Wharf Gauge on Flooding Creek.

Flooding across the South Gippsland Highway between Longford and Sale affects travel in the area. Whilst this section of road has now been re-built above the wetlands and the caravan park has closed, flooding still occurs on the western edge of town where the South Gippsland Highway leaves for Longford.

Sale is also prone to flash flooding when large rain events overwhelm the storm water drains in town and Flooding Creek, impacting internal roadways such as the intersection of York (Princes Highway) and Macarthur Streets.

While the upstream gauges of the Thomson River and Macalister River, particularly at Lake Glenmaggie, are used to provide initial warnings for Sale, the condition of the Latrobe River at Longford, where it meets the Thomson River, can also have a significant impact on flood duration and severity. This means that warnings from these gauges do not always align to what will happen in Sale.

The severity of flooding in Sale itself is measured at the Sale Wharf Gauge on Flooding Creek, and the Port of Sale behind the Shire Offices in Foster Street, Sale.

This map to the right shows the areas of Sale, Myrtlebank and Wurruk that are prone to flooding, and is a useful planning tool.

Are you at risk of flood?

Seaspray flood map
  Click to enlarge.

Seaspray can be affected by a range of flooding types including riverine flooding from Merriman Creek, flooding from the Gippsland Lakes via Lake Reeve and localised stormwater flooding.

A levee bank system, that protects part of the town, was constructed in 1987 to reduce the impacts to the community. Currently this levee is undergoing works and depending on the type of flooding, its ability to hold back floodwaters can vary.

Extreme flooding occurs when floodwaters overflow the levees and travel over the low lying land. This can be expected during a 1 in 100 year flood event as see on the map to the right.

Local flooding is also controlled by the town drainage system which consists of two pumping stations. Each pumping station has two pumps; each can pump 180 litres of water every second. The pumping station near the south west end of Irving Street pumps water into Merriman Creek, whilst the Centre Road pumping station discharges excess water into the Lake Reeve Floodway. If power fails, water will remain until pumps can be re-activated.

Flooding at Seaspray will most often result from consistent rainfall over a 36 – 48 hour period across the upper catchment area of Mount Tassie and Balook area. It can be a useful strategy to monitor local rainfall totals via the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Significant rainfall totals in the localised area will have more rapid impacts as opposed to rain that has fallen higher up the catchment. The current storm tide level does not pose a flooding risk, but this may change under predicted sea level rises by the year 2100.

The map to the right shows the expected flooding extent in Seaspray during a 1% flood event. A 1% flood (or 1 in 100 year flood) means that there is a 1% chance of a flood of this size occurring in any given year. This size flood would measure 6.36 metres on the flood gauge located on Merriman Creek at Prospects Road Seaspray.

During a large flood in Merriman Creek, the sand bar at the creek entrance may not allow water out due to high ocean levels. However, the flood risk is still higher from the creek flooding rather than flooding from the sea.

What is the Gippsland Lakes Flood Warning System?

Until recently, there was no way to measure the depth of water in the Gippsland Lakes in a way that would help predict floods. This meant that it was not possible to warn people of the possible impacts of flooding. Height gauges have now been installed in five locations on the Gippsland Lakes at Metung, Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Hollands Landing and Loch Sport. These gauges give information to the Bureau of Meteorology about changes in lake height. The Bureau combines this information with data about river flows, wind and tide heights to make predictions about possible flooding in the Gippsland Lakes.

About Flood Guides

Communities can use local flood guides to identify and better understand their local flood risk. They include information about: flood history, how to prepare & respond to floods and who to contact.

Contact Information

For more information, contact the Gippsland (East) Region Headquarters.
For information on flood warnings, see the VicEmergency website.
Visit the Wellington Shire Council website.
Your local Catchment Mangement Authority: West Gippsland. 

Local VICSES Units

  • Sale Unit:
    37-37 Union Street,
    Sale, Victoria 3850
  • Stratford Unit:
    53 McFarland Street,
    Stratford, Victoria, 3862
  • Maffra Unit:
    90 Landy Street,
    Maffra, Victoria, 3860
  • Yarram Unit:
    Railway Avenue,
    Yarram, Victoria, 3971
  • Rosedale Unit:
    47 Cansick Street,
    Rosedale, Victoria, 3847
  • Loch Sport Unit:
    National Parks Road,
    Loch Sport, Victoria, 3851

Municipal Flood Emergency Plan (MFEP)

Municipalities can use Municipal Flood Emergency Plans to prepare, respond and recover from flood and storm events.
Wellington Shire Municipal Flood  Emergency Plan - Updated June, 2016.