Residents flee floodwaters
Swollen by cyclonic rains, the usually dry Gascoyne River developed into a raging flood in mid-February, 1961.
Carnarvon had little warning of this as the mass of water surged downstream.
An emergency meeting of officials at 2am on February 14 decided Carnarvon should be evacuated. Those with telephones called neighbours while others door-knocked to spread the warning, which sent well over 2000 residents heading south in a variety of vehicles.
Some 16 hospital patients were transported by truck and station wagons.
About 40 people remained in the town, including some whose homes were on high ground and above the flood level.
The first stop for about 500 residents was the 40 Mile Road Tank on Great Northern Highway.
The rest continued on towards Geraldton, where Recreation Ground had been turned into an emergency tent city, with a camp kitchen and medical post.
It was washing day when this view of the tent city was taken.
The 40 Mile Road Tank camp was officially closed the next day by health officials after cases of dysentery occurred among some of the children and the people were moved on to Geraldton.
The Gascoyne River floodwaters quickly subsided and residents were gradually able to return to their homes, some of which had sustained severe damage.
Later came claims there had been wholesale panic about the evacuation, that the alarm was raised too early to allow residents to save furniture and goods, and evacuation was unnecessary.
An emergency tent city erected at Recreation Ground in Geraldton for Carnarvon flood evacuees in 1961.