Heritage Sites

Lowood's Life Boat (1895)

Logo of Lowood's Life Boat (1895)



Memorial Park, Railway St



Lowood district flood prone

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.

Outstanding heroes

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 in the raging floodwaters between Lowood and Fernvale. 

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

Vernor family in 1893 flood  Frank Flewell-Smith 

Specialised rescue craft needed

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 handle and volunteers needed to be trained to use it. 

The Gig c1900

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


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