- JoNova - https://joannenova.com.au -

Unprecedented hail, phenomenal damage in Canberra: 1871, 1877, 1897, 1919, 1936, 1956, 1963

Yesterday hail the size of golf balls fell on Canberra:

Windows, cars, gardens smashed. Already there have between 15,000 insurance claims made and it’s been declared a catastrophe. (Tough few weeks for insurers in Australia).

Not too good for solar panels:

Canberra aims to be 100% renewables (but they aren’t cutting the line to the coal power). Will we ever find out how much the bill for the solar panel damage was?

One hundred and thirty three years ago:

h/t John in Oz.

Canberra hail, severe damage, 1877

… (Click to enlarge)


Queanbeyan is Canberra’s twin city, 15 minutes from Parliament House but in the next state. Long before Canberra was even founded, there were shocking hail storms. At a glance, terrible hail storms appear more common in summer.

January 7, 1871: Queanbeyan  Hail of “large jagged shapes”, “bigger than pigeon’s eggs” shattered “hundreds of glass windows”, “cut ripe paddocks of wheat to pieces”, was “ruinous on fruit” crops, vine and trees. Many buildings were damaged. Hail lay in “deep drifts on the ground”.

Dec 29th, 1877: Extraordinary Hailstorm in Queanbeyan — large as “oranges” and “cricket balls”, cut through corrugated tin, killed “40 lambs”, knocked down foals, felled a horse.  Left a trail of “terrible” destruction.

 Sept 7th, 1897: Phenomenal Hailstorm:  “the hailstones so large that two of them filled a pint pot”.

Dec 15th, 1910:  Hail as “large as hens eggs” hit Weetangera. The crops were “a woeful sight”. Two and a halff inches of rain fell in Burra. 30 sheep drowned in Mt Campbell. At Woden Creek wire fences were washed away.

Dec 2nd, 1919: Destructive hailstorm:  “on roofs with the noise of musketry, while others came with such force upon the ground as to bury themselves deep in loose soil, or to rebound from harder lodgements, especially the roads and streets, like tennis balls, two or three feet high…”

Dec 28th, 1936: Hailstorm in Canberra: Hailstones the size of hazelnuts battered … Canberra. … Hail pierced the hood of a sedan car.

Jan 24, 1951: Hailstorm causes Severe Damage in Queanbeyan “Hailstones almost as large as hen eggs and golf balls weie reported from several parts of the town.”  “Police described the storm as the worst they could remember”.

Feb 16th, 1956: Hailstorm Canberra’s Longest:   …lasted 29 minutes. Some of the largest hail ever seen… “4.8 inches” fell on Yarralumla in 12 minutes. The hail caused “up to 100% losses in stone fruit”… “the most disastrous storm for many years”. 182 points of rain fell on the suburb of Griffith.


Hail, Canberra 1877.

1877 Hail storm part b. (Click to enlarge)







10 out of 10 based on 61 ratings