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Lowood's Life Boat (1895)

Memorial Park, Railway Street


Vernor family stranded in 1893 floodsVernor family stranded in 1893 floods

There were several major Brisbane River floods in the 1880s and '90s. The worst, and still the highest recorded (including 1974 and 2011), occurred in February 1893.

On 12 February 1893 at the height of the flood, four local men led by Major (later Colonel) Frank Flewell-Smith risked their lives in two small dinghys to rescue the Vernor family who had been stranded for over 24 hours in trees surrounded by the raging floodwaters. 

For their bravery the four Lowood heroes were presented with Royal Humane Society Bronze Medals by Sir Henry Norman, Governor of Queensland, at a special ceremony in Lowood.    

The lack of suitable rescue craft in the region prompted the Queensland government to donate special life boats to the communities of Goodna, Woodend and Lowood in 1895.

Custom-built in Brisbane, Lowood's life boat is made of riveted steel with a partial keel, although flat-bottomed boats were preferred as they wouldn't snag on fences or debris in flood waters. 

It was first used when the Brisbane River flooded in January 1898 but the life boat proved difficult to control and volunteers were reluctant to use it.

This display to preserve Lowood's life boat was created in 1980 by Lowood Lions Club in memory of the district's pioneers.