The year 1900 snow reports page 1

Epic Snowfall Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July 1901.

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Rating for the event "Epic Snowfall Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July 1901" on SA-wide 'snow distribution and amount' scale (min 1 to max 10) : 10. (Reviewed 27th December 2017 and kept at rating 10).

This was the only July 1901 snow event I found in a search of SA newspapers in the Trove database.

In terms of the area of land carpeted with snow and the overall volume of snow that fell, this may be the biggest snow event in South Australia's recorded history.

If you read the newspaper articles I've corrected on Trove and copied below, and looked at the photos, you can get a good sense of the sheer magnitude of the fall, in comparison to the kinds of falls we've experienced in recent times.

There are many South Australian newspaper articles of the time in the Trove database that refer to this snowfall and the reports here are not an exhaustive collection, so further searching on Trove would undoubtedly find more information. I imagine there would be many reports and comments on the snowfall still surviving in diaries and letters too, and numerous photographs from the time sitting often unseen for many decades.

To go to the relevant Charles Todd weather folios for this weather event, click on this link which takes you to a calendar for 1901, find July and click on the relevant days to go to the folios for those days. I suggest Friday 26th to Monday 29th inclusive would bracket the event. No reports were produced on Sundays, in this case Sunday 28th. For each day click on the images to see them at larger size and click on those to see them at full size.

Below are details from the Todd charts dated 9am Friday 26th, 9am Saturday 27th and 9am Monday 29th July 1901. There was no chart produced on Sunday 28th.

Todd chart dated 9am Friday 26th.

Todd chart dated 9am Saturday 27th.


Todd chart dated 9am Monday 29th.

To the extent that I can draw inferences from these charts above, they are consistent with the primary cause of the snowfall being a very cold airmass from the Southern Ocean moving northwards to southern South Australia on the western side of a low pressure system passing south of Tasmania. The presence of the high pressure system shown as centred over south-western West Australia may have played an important role by strengthening the pressure gradient on the western side of the low.

Perhaps there were secondary low centres with troughs and fronts embedded in the very cold airstream which enhanced the snowfall. Maybe an upper low contributed. Short of some amazing scientific discovery we will never I suppose be able to deduce what went on over the Southern Ocean south-west and south of Australia in the days preceding and during this perhaps biggest of all South Australian snowfalls.

Nevertheless I think we've now got enough examples of South Australian and eastern states snowfalls during the era of satellite images and upper level charts and various other modern scientific developments to have a reasonable understanding of the various atmospheric factors at play that can contribute to big snowfalls. We know of several key factors that could by chance on very rare occasions come together to produce that rarest of snowfalls, the biggest one since records began.

In the newspaper articles below there are one or two references to snow falling on Friday 26th. I'm a bit doubtful that snow did fall anywhere on Friday 26th. It may have been a slip by the correspondents who wrote and sent in the reports.

I haven't attempted a comparison with two other epic snowfalls yet, on August 29th 1905 and on and about July 19th 1951. Snow was reported falling in some Adelaide suburbs on the Adelaide Plains in the 1951 event and I haven't so far seen references to snow falling at such low altitudes in the 1901 event.

I've yet to see any comment either in the articles below or elsewhere that claim any bigger snow event in recorded history before 1901, although there are two references to what might have been a very big fall in 1840 or 1841. I've searched in the Trove database but I've not found a description of any such snow event in the newspapers of those two years.

I've included a few historical photos on this page giving examples of the magnitude of the fall in terms of depth of snow on the ground and blanket cover. There was no other snowfall in 1901 anywhere near as heavy or extensive as this 27-28th July fall so we can be very confident that any blanket cover snow photos, that have been dated only to 1901, are of this event.

Lobethal 28th July 1901.

Above photo: After a snowstorm at Lobethal, 28 July 1901.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
Photo B 35518
Permanent link: Permanent link B 35518

Burra 1901.

Above photo: Burra 1901, very likely on or about July 28th. The State Library of South Australia says the town was identified by the donor of the photo and by the Burra History Group as Burra, with the history group saying the double span Kooringa bridge is in the middle distance, St Joseph's Catholic Church is to the right with the spire, the two storey building in the centre is the National Bank and to the right behind this is the Burra Institutue, and to the far right are cottages in Bridge Terrace. There is a sign advertising Amgoorie Tea on the bank of the creek.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
Photo B 27683
Permanent SLSA link: Permanent link B 27683

Angaston 1901.

Above photo: Angaston after a snowstorm, 1901, very likely on or about July 28th.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
Photo B 26923
Permanent SLSA link: Permanent link B 26923

Saddleworth 1901.

Above photo: Snowstorm Saddleworth 1901, very likely on or about July 28th.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
NAME Grewar, B. J., photographer.
NUMBER B 42903.
HISTORY Snowstorm, Saddleworth taken from Spur Street.
Permanent link B 42903

Lobethal 28 July 1901.

Above photo:After a snowstorm at Lobethal, 28 July 1901.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
Photo B 35515
Permanent SLSA link: Permanent link B 35515

Lobethal 28 July 1901.

Above photo: After a snowstorm at Lobethal 28 July 1901.
Source: State Library of South Australia.
Photo B 35517
Permanent SLSA link: Permanent link B 35517

Now to the newspaper articles via Trove.

The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Tuesday 30 July 1901 Page 8.

Quoting the whole article:


ANGASTON, July 28— The peaceful calm which usually broods over a country township on Sunday morning until a fairly advanced hour was dispelled today by an occurrence unprecedented during the civilized occupation of the country. A few habitually early risers were astonished to find that during the night snow had fallen and covered the whole landscape to an average depth of about two inches. The effect was electric. Neighbours and friends were hastily aroused, and shortly after sunrise nearly the whole township was astir. The younger residents, and not a few of the middle-aged, indulged vigorously in the unwonted pastime of snowballing, and, as the snow was in prime condition, the sport was enjoyable and harmless. The old inhabitants discussed the phenomenon with great interest, but, despite experiences, in some instances to close on 60 years back, there was no suggestion of belittling the present by references to the past, and, although one resident did recollect a heavy snowfall in 1846, which singularly enough also occurred between Saturday and Sunday, no superiority was claimed for it, and you may fairly regard the present fall as a record for this district. During the intervals of snowballing a number of youths erected on a prominent hill a life-size "snow man"— in all probability the first of his kind here, and others rolled gigantic snowballs on the hillside. Amateur photographers were to be seen rushing from point to point to secure souvenirs of an occurrence as unique as a royal visit. The snow, with nature's kindly instinct, had obliterated or transformed unsightly objects and conferred enhanced charms on the beautiful. The familiar woodheaps and other useful but not artistic accessories were for the nonce transformed into fairy pictures, and in the morning sun the trees and shrubs sparkled with the pure jewels of snow. The sight was fully appreciated by young and old. Up to about 11.15 snow fell at frequent intervals, occasionally heavily, and the landscape retained its white mantle; but the sun had gained power, and by dusk the only visible remaining snow was the base of the snow man. The fall extended well south along the course of the Barossa Range, and fine as was the spectacle in Angaston it was much finer in the hills. From some of the higher points commanding extensive panoramic views the whole visible landscape was snow-covered, and the effects on the rocks, bushes, fallen timber, ferns, and herbage, especially the grasstrees, were very beautiful. The fall was heavier than in Angaston, averaging fully three inches. In some cases the tracks for several miles were obliterated, and where the land was clear large areas presented an unbroken surface of virgin white. Snow fell at intervals until well into the afternoon, and at 5.30 p.m., although a thaw had begun, the higher lands still retained their snowy mantle.

BLYTH, July 29.—A sight unique and beautiful was witnessed by all the residents of Blyth plains and hills on Sunday morning. Shower after shower of hailstones during the night covered the plains with an icy coat, which remained till long after midday. But the high ridge of hills which shelter Clare and Watervale were enshrouded with a magnificent mantle of snow. From Blyth a part of the range, fully 12 miles in length, could be seen glistening white, the bare hills showing up in all their snowclad glory against the darker background of rocky or timbered peaks, while deep drifts of snow filled up the small gullies and creeks which seam the hillsides. All over the western sides of the range the snow lay from 3 to 6 inches deep, and in sheltered spots the pines and oaks were festooned with the snowy mantle. During the day many residents drove up to the hills for a nearer view of the rare sight, which was rendered all the more beautiful by the sunlight which shone at fitful intervals. At midday a second fall of snow took place, so that in many places the ground remained covered till nightfall. Snowballs were made and thrown by the lads and lasses, and more than one huge ball was rolled headlong down the hillsides.

BULL'S CREEK, July 29.—On Saturday evening we were visited by the heaviest fall of snow ever seen in the district. In the evening the featherly flakes began to fall lightly at first, but became heavier every moment, until by 8.30 p.m. the whole country was covered in a beautiful mantle of white. The sight in the moonlight was beautiful. On Sunday morning the snow was lying inches deep, and from the tops of the hills to the valleys beneath everything was white. At noon today the snow began to melt, causing the creek to rise a banker. Last night the children played at snowballing. Another slight fall of snow occurred at 11 a.m. today. It was amusing to watch the cattle wandering up and down, not seeming to understand the disappearance of the grass.

BRINKWORTH, July 29.—Yesterday a light fall of snow occurred about 9 a.m. The Bungaree Ranges to the east of Brinkkorth presented quite a pretty appearance, the fall being heavier there than here.

CLARE, July 28. — For several, days the weather has been bitterly cold, with occasional showers of rain. On Saturday afternoon rain gave way to snow, and the fall was heavy and continuous for more than an hour. Everything looked wintry and bleak; but "young Australia" was not only charmed, but engaged in snowballing contests, to the delight of the more staid onlookers. It was expected that with the coming morning nature would assume her usual garb, but, to the surprise of one and all, Sunday morning dawned with a vesture of white. The earth's carpet had a covering of from two to three inches of snow, and the trees and shrubs bent their heads under the weight of their newly acquired mantle. The young people were almost frantic with joy as they witnessed, the snowclad hills and valleys. Some set to work to make huge balls, and others of a more artistic turn were trying their prentice hands in making statues of the Duke of Cornwall or less-noted personages. Husbands and wives, parents and children were seen snowballing each other in a most enthusiastic manner, and there was much shouting and singing of youthful voices. In some of the churches the choirs could not refrain from singing "Beautiful snow." The lesson read from one pulpit was about hoar frost and snow, and the preacher illustrated his theme by a reference to the purity of the snow.

CLARENDON, July 29.—It is still exceedingly cold. There was a heavy fall of snow yesterday to the south of Clarendon. The ground was completely covered beyond Kangarilla and Dashwood's Gully. The Onkaparinga is running a strong stream over the weir.

FARRELL'S FLAT, July 28.—After a spell of intense cold weather, we had an unusual sight on Saturday afternoon in a downfall of snow, which occurred at intervals all the evening. The fall was heavy during the night, as the country was covered several inches deep on Sunday morning. More snow fell today, and it looks like winter in earnest. It was a very pretty sight for those who were unaccustomed to it.

JAMESTOWN, July 29.—During Saturday and Sunday we had splendid rains. Snow fell during both days at intervals. On Sunday the heaviest fall took place. The fall was sufficiently heavy to cover the ground, fences, and buildings with a layer of snow. The rain, however, which fell later soon caused it to melt. Snowballing was indulged in by young and old whilst the snow lasted. Mount Jock, Canowie and Yongala Ranges, and the surrounding hills looked exceedingly picturesque. The weather is still very cold and wintry.

KEYNETON,July 29.—On Sunday morning a splendid fall of snow occurred. It commenced about 1 a.m., and continued all day. The country was completely covered, quite 4 in. deep, and in places it was a foot deep. The sight was a splendid one. Snow-balls were made 5 ft. in height.

LEIGHTON, July 28.—The weather has been exceedingly cold during the last week. On Thursday 0.58 points of rain fell, and on the two following days 1.10 was registered. On Saturday afternoon it began to snow, and the ground was covered to a depth of 4 inches before Sunday morning. In some places whither it had drifted the snow was 2 feet deep. The young people indulged in snowballing, and some of the old folk who had not seen so much snow since they left the old country could not resist joining in the fun. It is still very cold.

MANNANARIE, July 29.—During the past week we have had some rather unusual experiences in reference to the vagaries of the weather. During Friday night about 73 points of rain fell, accompanied by an unusually heavy fall of snow, which in places lay fully 6 inches deep. It lay along the sides of the hills, from foot to summit, from Mount Loch to beyond Yatina northward, giving the appearance of a white mantle. Showers of snow and sleet fell during Saturday and yesterday, and this morning it is still raining lightly. Altogether 1.45 has been registered.

MARRABEL, July 29.—On Sunday morning the residents of this district were favoured with a grand and unique sight. During the night a phenomenal fall of snow occurred, covering the ground a depth ranging from 2 to 6 in. for miles. Housetops, trees, posts, haystacks, and everything exposed to the weather presented a beautiful sight. The Belvidere Ranges on the west and the Julia Ranges on the east were snowcapped, and added beauty to the scene. Snowballing was indulged in by young and old, and snow men were a common sight. Saturday was bitterly cold, and one or two slight falls of snow occurred, followed by a good fall at 9 o'clock at night, and continued at frequent intervals throughout the night.

MEADOWS SOUTH, July 29.— An unusual scene was witnessed here during Saturday evening and Sunday. At about 6 o'clock on Saturday evening snow began to fall, and continued for several hours, and, seen by the moonlight, presented a beautiful spectacle. Young and old alike, who were quickly out snowballing and rolling balls, many of which weighed three ond four hundredweight. During the early hours of Sunday morning a heavy fall again took place, and the sight in the morning is not likely to be forgotten, as the ground and roofs were covered from 2 to 3 in. thick for many miles around, and old residents say it is a sight they have never witnessed since arriving in the colony. The cold was intense, the thermometer registering 33 deg. During yesterday a few light falls occurred, followed by rain, which has cleared most of it up.

MOUNT BARKER, July 29.—We had an unusual experience on Saturday evening in the form of a heavy fall of snow. The weather had been bitterly cold, and on Saturday evening about 6 o'clock snow began to fall; at 7 o'clock there was another fall, and very shortly the ground was complelely covered with a beautiful white mantle. For fully three-quarters of an hour we had a continuous fall, while later further flakes came down, and in the morning the snow was quite two inches thick, as far around as the eye could see. The spectacle was charming. By moonlight the landscape presented a beautiful sight; and when the sun shone out on Sunday morning the panorama was even more wonderful. Snowballing was liberally indulged in on Saturday night, and residents—young and old—took a delight in pelting passers-by. Several windows were broken through shots going astray. On Sunday the juveniles busied themselves in making snow "men," and though the sun shone out brightly in the morning, snow was lying in sheltered places throughout the day. It was a record fall.

MOUNT COMPASS, July 29.— Hail fell on Saturday night. On Sunday we had strong, cold winds and heavy rain. There was a fall of snow between here and Hungry Swamp, and on the top of the Willunga Hill a sight never seen before by many residents here.

MOUNT GAMBIER, July 28.—The weather is boisterous, wet, and cold. There was a beautiful fall of snow between 1 and 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, which lasted for a quarter of an hour. It is said there was another fall this morning, but too early for many to see it.

MOUNT PLEASANT, July 29.—Never before had Mount Pleasant been visited by such a long-continued snowfall as we experienced on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday the picture presented by the township and surrounding hills was remarkably beautiful, especially to those who had never seen snow in any quantity before. The town was for some time the scene of furious contests, in which snowballs were the plentiful, if unfamiliar, ammunition. Snow men were built up in all directions and giant snowballs rolled. The township was covered with a mantle of white over 6 in. deep, affording such a magnificent transformation scene as will never be forgotten by the native-born of the mount.

OAKBANK, July 28.— It snowed continuously from 7 o'clock on Saturday evening till 8 o'clock on Sunday morning, and then folks saw the sight of a lifetime. Trees were bending over with the weight of snow, hedges and fields were perfectily white, and snow was heaped up in every corner. Snow-men and snowballing were the order of the day, and in lanes and on roadsides white modellings from 6 to 10 feet in height were common. A beautiful sight was presented when the sun shone, but it was not lasting. The accumulated snow on the leaves of trees slid off, the snow on the ground melted, and in a little while the river had risen considerably.

PENWORTHAM, July 28.—On Wednesday night and Thursday morning we had steady rain, and nearly an inch on Friday night. On Saturday afternoon snow started. This morning, the whole country was covered about 3 inches deep, and there were drifts of 12 inches against the southern walls. The rain guage is full of snow, and will not register. The sight is most unusual. The old thatched roofs recall pictures of ''home" at Christmas. Trees are snow laden. The wheat is quite out of sight. Skilly and Penwortham creeks are running high, and will probably overflow if a sudden melting comes. It is still snowing, with every appearance of continuing.

PETERSBURG, July 29.—The last few days have been the most wintry that we have experienced for some time. On Saturday morning the Mannannarie Hills were covered with snow. During the day several falls occurred here, but as most of them were accompanied by rain it did not accumulate on the ground. Yesterday morning, however, the whole town was covered with a white mantle, extending about a mile westward, and as far as the eye could reach in other directions.

STRATHALBYN, July 28.— The early risers in our district were met with a sight on Sunday morning last which will live long in their memories. The whole of the range of hills as far as the eye reached were clothed in a white mantle of snow. The effect was sublime, and at once induced reflections of times gone by when in "Auld Reekie" some five and twenty years ago. Old residents in our district have not hitherto seen such a sight as met their gaze on Sunday since settling in the south, and many are now realizing how for years past the seasons have been gradually changing.

TANUNDA, July 29. —Early on Sunday morning the people were aroused by others who had got up earlier, to see the very heavy snowflakes falling. Several showers fell up to 9 o'clock. These were so thick with flakes that it was hard to see or recognise people 100 yards distant. Snowballing was a great treat to young and old. and caused considerable amusement. The older residents said that this was the first snow they ever saw in Tanunda, while some of them had not seen any since they left the old country. The hills on the eastern side of the township were almost one sheet of snow. Messrs. Goers, Heinrich and Goers drove to the hills (Kaiserstuhl). At 11 o'clock snow was lying over 12 inches thick, in large patches.. The higher the travellers went the thicker they found the snow. Several snowmen were made to the height of 10 ft.

TARCOWIE, July 29.—About 2 in. of snow covered the country on Saturday morning. There was a heavy fall about 8 o'clock. On Sunday morning the whole of the range towards Booleroo and Pekina was covered. Several falls occurred during the day.

TEROWIE, July 29.—The snow, which commenced on Saturday, continued on Saturday night, when an exceptionally heavy fall was experienced. On Sunday morning the whole country was covered with a mantle of white, and presented a beautiful spectacle. The residents of the town built several monuments in the street, some 9 ft. high. Mr. W. J. Thompson, photographed the piles, and also the railway yard, from the overway bridge.

TRURO, July 28.— A novel and interesting sight was witnessed by residents who were about at 6.30 this morning. Snow fell thickly, and in about half an hour the hills, trees, buildings, and everything was covered with a beautiful white mantle. Snowballing was carried on by some of the young people, as the snow was sufficiently plentiful to render the manufacture of white missiles easy of accomplishment. Snow continued to fall at intervals to about 11 o'clock, and long after that it could be found in more sheltered places. Last Friday night and during Saturday we had some fine showers of rain, which extended over a portion of the eastern hundred.

WATERVALE, July 28.—On Friday evening and night we had one of the best falls of rain of the season, about 1˝ in. being registered. Saturday came in cold and bleak, with some rain, and during the afternoon some snow fell, but it was left for the night to pass to reveal on Sunday morning one of the most interesting and unique sights that it has been the lot of most of us to see. Snow must have been falling during the most of the night, as the whole country as far as the eye could reach was enveloped in a thick and beautiful mantle of snow. Mount Horrocks was especially attractive, and the. ranges to the west were also picturesque. The young people were highly delighted, and it was not long before the old English pastime of snowballing was in full swing. Many went up to the mount, where the snow was lying from 4 to 6 in. deep, and there the fun was fast and furious, snow men being rapidly built and then snowballed down again.

WHYTE-YARCOWIE, July 28.—A snowstorm began early on Saturday afternoon. It must have fallen very heavily during the night, as the ground wits covered to a depth of about four inches this morning. The weather is exceedingly cold, and the fun of the hour is snowballing.

WILMINGTON, July 29.—The weather has been phenomenally cold and wet since Friday evening. The air became intensely cold, and as the sun rose on Saturday morning a most picturesque sight presented itself from the Flinders Range, the crests being capped with snow. and it continued for some distance down the sides. This was particularly noticeable on Mounts Brown and Remarkable, the whitened covering of which gave an exceedingly pretty effect. On Sunday morning early snow and hail again fell copiously. From north to south as far as the eye could scan the hill crests and sides were one thick mass of snow and hail. In the town the roofs of houses were completely white with snow and fine hail, as also the ground for a considerable distance.

WIRRABARA, July 28.—The hills to the west were a lovely sight on Saturday morning, being covered with snow, and during the afternoon a few flakes of snow fell in the township. The creeks were running a banker, and the Melrose maildriver was not able to cross the creek into Wirrabara. He had to get a fresh trap this side, and take a back road to Laura with the mail, arriving there just in time to catch the train.

YONGALA, July 28.— Flakes of snow continued to fall at intervals on Saturday, and during the night there was a fairly heavy fall, the ground being white this morning. The heaviest fall, however, occurred at about 10 o'clock this morning, and lasted for nearly an hour. A strong southerly wind which was blowing at the time caused the snow to adhere to the sides of the houses, posts, &c., the effect being picturesque. The weather is intensely cold, but as the ground has now received a good soaking farmers generally are hopeful for a fair season.

We have to thank a number of correspondents who have forwarded us interesting accounts of the snowstorm. Most of the descriptions had been covered by earlier contributors, which will account for the non-publication of their letters.

Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
IN THE COUNTRY. (1901, July 30). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 8. Retrieved June 1, 2014, from


Below are some quotes relating to the July 27-28th 1901 epic snow event, copied from various newspaper articles on the Trove database. In each case I've given a link to the source of the quote on the Trove website.

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954) Wednesday 31 July 1901 Page 2.

"—The weather on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday last was the oddest we have so far enjoyed in this very cold winter. The wind was blowing strong from the south-west and south, and heavy showers of rain and hail were frequent, especially on Saturday and Sunday. At about half-past twelve on Saturday a snowfall occurred at Mount Gambier, but varied considerably in density at different places. In the southern part of the town it was much heavier than in Commercial-street, and at the Hospital it was still heavier. It was so dense at South-terrace that objects 200 yards away could be very indistinctly seen, and the fall lasted a quarter of an hour there. Part of the time pure snow fell, but as soon as the flakes touched the ground they melted. The fall was observed with delight by hundreds of people. The atmosphere was intensely cold just before it. It is reported that in some places in the district, notably near Glencoe, it snowed for an hour, and snow lay so thick on the ground that snow-balling could have been practised. Sunday was equally as cold as Saturday. There was thunder and lightning in the early morning, and a snow and hail shower about 7 a.m. The snow in this case remained on the ground with the hail for a considerable time in some places, particularly at Attamurra and to the south of the Mount. There were several hail-showers on Monday. On Monday evening the wind fell, and yesterday it blew from the south-east, and the showers ceased. During the last eight days, from 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the rainfall at Mount Gambier was 96 points."


Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954) Wednesday 31 July 1901 Page 3.

{Narracoorte was apparently the spelling used in those days}
(From our own Correspondent.)
July 29."
"The cold weather we have been having has been the general topic of conversation. Saturday was intensely cold, and so was Sunday. We had light falls of snow on both days, and many residents saw snow flakes falling for the first time. Heavy rain also fell on Saturday and Sunday, and the weather was altogether of a wintry description. On Saturday evening several people saw snow falling, and on Sunday morning there was another light fall. To-day is still cold, and showers are falling. Since Thursday we have had 93 points of rain."


The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Monday 5 August 1901 Page 6.

" CLEVE, August l.—On July 26 the hoisting of the flag was celebrated at Boothby School in the presence of the local dignitaries and Bushman- Trooper Cabot, lately back from South Africa. Rain cut short the open-air programme. The rain proved to be the heaviest for eight years, bringing all the big creeks down. Next day snow fell on the hills."


I haven't seen any reports indicating that snow fell in any other places in the west of SA during this event, than at Yardea in the Gawler Ranges, and near Cleve - "snow fell on the hills" as mentioned above.

I haven't come across reports from any other years I've so far examined that snow fell more extensively in the South-East than this 1901 fall as described above. So it could be the most extensive fall in the South-East in our recorded history.


Now here's an article I corrected on Trove, published in The Advertiser on Monday 29th July 1901.

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) Monday 29 July 1901 Page 6.

{quoting whole article}





Snow in South Australia is somewhat of a novelty. In exceptionally severe winters it has been seen in small quantities in the hills districts, and occasionally a heavier fall occurs in the higher altitudes of the upper north, but it has seldom, even under the most unusual circumstances, extended continuously over any considerable area. The fortieth parallel of latitude is, roughly speaking, the boundary line at which snow falls except on hills of considerable altitude. As the whole of South Australia is well within this margin, the winter temperature is generally mild and some degrees above freezing point. Owing to special conditions, resulting from a disturbance which, travelling from Tasmania, has included portion of this State in its scope, the mercury fell several points on Saturday, and the cold, sleety rains of the earlier part of the day were succeeded in many places as evening drew on by snow. Naturally the Mount Lofty Ranges, where the atmosphere is, under normal conditions, some degrees cooler than that of the city plains, was the scene of the principal part of the storm's activities, and as the night advanced a picturesque prospect was presented in the neighborhood of Mount Lofty and Aldgate.

A snow-clad landscape at all times makes a scene of beauty, although under the conditions which prevail in some parts of Europe and America, much of the poetry is eclipsed by the widespread inconvenience and personal suffering entailed by the severity of the storms. In the British Isles snow is a regular feature of the winter season, but, with rare exceptions the downfalls are of a comparatively light character. In some parts ot Norch America, however, the annual average reaches from 4 to 7 ft., and the heavy snowstorms of Canada necessitate special protection being provided for the permanent way on parts of the great railway systems. Fortunately South Australia is free from such conditions as these, and a fall of frozen vapor which spreads a carpet of white to a depth of a few inches over many miles of country is an event of a life-time, and as such attracts much attention, and is a source of general comment.

Mount Lofty as seen from the city, on Saturday night, when the moon found its way from behind the banks of the clouds, which hung heavily over the place was to unaccustomed eyes a source of vast delight. The silvery light playing on the hilltops and defining the most conspicuous landmarks, and showing in phantom whiteness the outlines of the trees and shrubs, was a sight long to be remembered. Eagerly the children of the district, and indeed some who have long since outgrown childhood, found amusement in the time-honored pastime of snowballing. It was a new experience to many, and the sensation of the crisp, invigorating freshness of the snow was heightened by the sense of novelty.

It was not, however, until Sunday morning that the full splendor of the scene was realised. All night long the snow continued to fall, and as the grey morning light broke over the ranges a scene of whiteness, unprecedented within the memory of the oldest inhabitants, met the gaze of those whose duty or pleasure called them out at that early hour. Later in the morning it was discovered that the extent of the snow-beautified country was considerable. Indeed, from Mount Lofty to within a few miles of Murray Bridge it was uninterupted, and the view from the Melbourne express was marvellously beautiful. Indeed, one passenger was heard to exclaim, "I have never witnessed anything more delightful. Switzerland gives you the idea of grandeur, with its high-climbing mountains —the home of the eternal snow—but for beauty, peaceful, alluring and enchanting, this surpasses all I have ever seen." Nor was the praise extravagant, for no place could better lend itself to spectacular effect than the hills and meadows, the ravines and gullies, the nestling villages, and the cosy homesteads of this district. There is a touch of nature in her somewhat fanciful moods throughout the locality, and this was heightened by the pure whiteness which met the eye in every direction, and on which the rays of the morning sun scintîllated, emphasising its purity by a continual sequence of shimmering, sparkling reflections. Although the entire extent of the white mantle was attractive, it was, perhaps, most impressive as the train passed through Nairne, where the far-reaching prospect of snow-clad hill and valley could be taken in at a glance.

Seen from the city in the early morning the Ranges made a fine picture. Ridges of snow, varied at intervals by wider stretches on the hillsides, contrasted pleasantly with the greenness of the lower altitudes, and little knots of people gathered together at nearly every point where a view could he gained, and with the aid of telescopes and field-glasses scanned the phenomenon, and were lavish in their expressions of gratification. Excursions were made into the hills by a large number of persons, both by rail and by road. The drive proved exhilarating and exciting. In many instances young people were looking on a snow-clad landscape for the first time, and the magnificent spectacle called forth exclamations of astonishment and delight.

From the summit of Mount Lofty the scene was unspeakably beautiful. In the foreground trees, shrubs, and rocks were burdened with feathery masses of snow, while roads and open spaces formed an unbroken dazzling sheet of white. Roofs of buildings were covered, while fences, hedges, and all the surroundings of the homesteads resembled more nearly an English Christmas scene than portion of an Australian landscape. On some of the hillsides the epacris (native heather) was in bloom, and the spikes of crimson flowers rising above the snow- laden foliage had a peculiarly charming effect. During the morning snow fell heavily, at times coming down softly and silently in an almost vertical direction, at others swept as by an Arctic blast it appeared to resent the intrusion of the excursionist, the wind meanwhile shaking from the bending branches their feathery burden. In the background was spread out a magnificent panorama. For miles upon miles on every side to the south and east and west ranges of snow clad hills, separated by white-robed valleys, stretched as far as the eye could reach. The extensiveness of the scene in itself had in most instances a great attraction, but it was when the details came under pervue that the greatest gratification was felt. The trees, whose foliage, white and glistening, hung with graceful contour, the bushes and shrubs, whose fringe-like leaves transformed to correspond with the general purity, swayed easily in the breeze; the gardens and orchards bleached in a night were new, and fanciful and suggestive, and made a picture never to be forgotten by those who travelled far to see it.

Sir Charles Todd informed us on Sunday night that reports had been received from several places, showing that the fall had been very extensive. Yardea, in the far distant Gawler Ranges, reported snow lying on the ground, and Blinman reported snow and sleet and rain. News had reached him from Georgetown that the hills were covered with snow, and over an inch and a half of rain had fallen. From Williamstown word had been received to the effect that there had been a good fall of snow on Saturday. At Hallett snow had fallen intermittently since Saturday morning, and on Sunday was continuing to fall and was lying a foot deep on the ground. The scene was said to be undescribable; and Nairne also reported a fall of snow.

Numerous telegrams came to hand from our country correspondents on Sunday night, showing that the snowstorm had been the heaviest and the most widespread in the history of the State.

Mr. Walter C. Torode, of Aldgate, writes: —"A snowstorm started here on Saturday afternoon, and by 8 pm. the whole of the country for miles was covered in snow. The effect by moonlight was beautiful in the extreme. On Sunday morning a more extended view could be obtained. Every hilltop and valley right away to Mount Barker, and all surrounding parts, presented a sight not soon to be forgotten. In the still morning nothing could be more beautiful than the appearance of the trees, shrubs, fences, &c. Roofs of houses, grass, and lawns were entirely covered to an even surface at least 3 in. thick, and many snow men and snowballs were put together. A little sunshine, while beautifying the effect for a short interval, soon disturbed the more delicate parts. Snow continued falling at intervals during the day, and cattle turned out had a bad time, all grass being more or less covered with snow. Persons travelling on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning presented an unusual appearance, hoods of traps, umbrellas, &c., being all covered in snow. It is the heaviest fail in the hills district during the past 20 years."

Watervale, July 28.

We have experienced phenomenal weather this week. Over 2 in. of rain has fallen, followed by a wonderful fall of

snow, which continued throughout last night. This morning the district was a panorama of beauty, the snow lying 6 in. deep. The occurrence has caused great excitement amongst the young colonials, the fun of snowballing proving irresistible. Mount Horrocks presented a lovely appearance to-day.

Eudunda, July 28.

The temperature to-day fell to 32 deg. On Saturday and during last night snow fell lightly, but this morning it fell heavily, presenting a pretty sight. The hills to the south-east are thickly covered.

Mount Barker, July 28.

We have had an exceptionally heavy fall of snow, commencing on Saturday night and continuing to-day, Snow is lying fully 2 in. thick on the ground. This morning snow-pelting was indulged in, and some windows and street lamps were broken. The snow lay on the ground the whole of today, and presented a beautiful sight. It is the heaviest fall in the knowledge of the white man here.

Riverton, July 28.

Yesterday evening the novel experience of a beautiful fall of snow took place, the heaviest ever seen in this district, the grass on which it fell being quite white. It had been snowing during the day a few miles out. This morning hail with some snow fell, the hail covering everything thickly, the whole country being quite white for a couple of hours. The Peter's Hill Range for a greater part of the day was covered with white, and it looked beautiful. Since Friday evening a splendid rain has fallen, but the weather has been very cold.

Mount Gambier, July 28.

Yesterday and to-day unprecedented weather prevailed. The temperature waa extremely low, heavy hail falling. At noon yesterday there was a light fall of snow in town, but the fall in the country was much heavier. At Glencoe snow fell for some time, and the ground was covered to the depth of an inch in several places.

Hallett, July 28.

There was on unparalleled fall of snow here last night and early this morning. The surface of the country for miles is covered with a thick carpet two inches deep on level ground, and several feet against walls and in sheltered nooks. Snowballing is the order of the day. A pyramid of snow 10 ft. high and 20 ft. in circumference has been built.

Terowie, July 28.

A heavy fall of snow occurred at Terowie this morning, between three and four inches covering the country for miles around. The oldest residents of the town say they have never seen anything like it here. Two pyramids 9 ft. high and 4 ft. thick were built in the main street, one by Mr. Engleton under the Terowie Hotel verandah, the other by Mr. Hunter, and they were photographed during the day by Mr. Thompson, of the Imperial Hotel.

Mount Pleasant, July 28.

Heavy rains fell on Friday afternoon and evening, over an inch and a half being refistered. A slight fall of snow occurred during Saturday afternoon, lasting for half an hour, and at 8 o'clock in the evening an extraordinary fall of snow commenced, continuing all night. The snow now lies from 6 in. to a foot deep over the whole district. The like has never been seen here before.

Melrose, July 28.

There has been a heavy fall of snow. The top of the Mount is covered. It was the biggest fall for many years. Splendid rain fell last night, registering 1 in., and it is still showery. About 2 in. has fallen in three days.

Auburn, July 28.

This morning the hills and houses were covered with snow. There have been splendid rains.


Another arctic wave passed over Victoria yesterday, and to-day, as result of which snow fell in several portions of the hill country. In the mallee welcome falls of rain delighted the settlers.

{end quote of whole article}

Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
BEAUTIFUL SNOW. (1901, July 29). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from


A recollection from 1949 of the 1901 snowfall by Lucy Webb.

Northern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954) Thursday 21 July 1949 Page 11.   

"Lucy Webb's Diary
[By Lucy Webb.]
Victor Harbor, Thurs., July 20, 1949 Record Snowfall At Clare in 1901.

WHO remembers "Snow Sunday" July 28th,1901, when Clare was wrapped in a covering of white. When I looked out in the early morning, the town looked like a Christmas card. I ran round the family and told them to get up and see the snow; I was not well received or believed, till they saw for themselves, and then there were exclamations of delight at the beautiful sight. Everyone went mad over the snow. Elderly buffers snowballed each other like schoolboys, and snow men stood at every street corner, complete with hat, pipe, and black coals for eyes. The animals floundered about in the unaccustomed elements, and the birds being light of build, hopped about on the surface, and only left light tracks. The snow slipped over the leaves of eucalypts and other native trees, but the firs branches bore their burden bravely as to the manner born. It was bitterly cold, and church goers froze to the boards. Next morning there were only patches of snow in corners to remind one of the beautiful fall of yesterday."


Four more newspaper reports from Trove added below on 28th December 2017.

Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), Tuesday 6 August 1901, page 3.

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

MOUNT BRYAN EAST, August 5.— The residents of this district, who were so highly favoured on July 27 and 28 by the heavy fall we experienced, can still feast their eyes on the "beautiful snow," as it remains on the side of the mount in favoured spots to a thickness of about a foot. Two or three days after the fall the mount looked a picture of indescribable grandeur, and it is a pity it could not have been photographed at that time. The country to the east at a distance of 30 to 40 miles received a light fall. The residents there declare it has never fallen before in their remembrance.

Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
A SOUTH-EASTERN; PORT. (1901, August 6). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 3. Retrieved December 27, 2017, from


Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), Tuesday 6 August 1901, page 3

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

COWELL (Franklin Harbour), August 1
We have had snow in the hills.
MORCHARD, August 3.— ... . We have had very severe frosts since the
recent snowstorm.

Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
THE SEASON. (1901, August 6). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 3. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from 


Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), Wednesday 7 August 1901, page 3. 

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

[From our own Correspondent].
July 29.

On Saturday evening about 9 o'clock the very unusual sight of a fall of snow was witnessed by our local residents. It continued falling for about half an hour. Snowballing was freely indulged in, some rather amusing incidents occurring. During the night several more falls of snow occurred, and on Sunday morning the country was a sight worth seeing. Our town is usually considered a pretty place, but pretty was no word for the view which presented itself to our eyes then. The whole country was covered with a carpet of snow, roofs of houses shone with it, and the hills round the town looked beautiful in their robes of spotless, Trimming's Hill, north of the town looking particularly fine. This is the first time Auburn has ever been favoured in this way.

Article identifier 
Page identifier 
APA citation
AUBURN INTELLIGENCE. (1901, August 7). Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from 


Bonzle gives the location of Chucka Bend as where Bow Hill is on the River Murray, and says "Chucka Bend is about 63m above sea level".

Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), Wednesday 7 August 1901, page 2

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

From our own Correspondent.

CHUCKA BEND, August 2.
Early risers were rewarded last Sunday morning by the sight a few falling flakes of snow, which, however, melted on reaching the ground.

Article identifier
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APA citation
CORRESPONDENCE (1901, August 7). Burra Record (SA : 1878 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from


Another newspaper report from Trove added below on 10th January 2018.

Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954) Fri 2 Aug 1901 Page 2.

{quoting snow-relevant text from longer article}

Snow.— On Saturday and Sunday last South Australia was visited by falls of snow which were unprecedented since the State became a British possession. All the uplands of the province put on a mantle of white and great excitement prevailed, especially where the phenomenon made its appearance for the first time. On Saturday we had it as near to Gawler as Yattalunga and Williamstown. The best fall, however, took place on Sunday morning. Mount Lofty presented a beautiful sight to the residents of the city and notwithstanding the bitterly cold atmosphere hundreds journeyed to the spot by train and revelled in a closer acquaintance with the attractive substance. At Williamstown and Mount Crawford the flakes fell thickly and caused a deposit several inches thick in places. The trees took their share of the glistening material and presented a very picturesque sight. The luxury of snowballing was indulged in on all sides and a huge snow man was built, the camera was in great requisition, and there was general activity excited. The range to the east of Lyndoch and Tanunda bore immense patches of white and presented a unique sight. This could easily be seen from Gulf View, and a large number of Gawler people wended their way thither on Sunday and caught a glimpse of snow for the first time in their lives. On Monday morning a bucketful of the interesting substance was brought to our office by Mr. John Mitchell of Williamstown and was the subject of as much interest and curiosity as if it had been a bucket of gold.

Article identifier
Page identifier
APA citation
No title (1901, August 2). Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved January 4, 2018, from 


Readers may recall that I earlier posted the following enigmatic reference to a snow event in 1840 in a letter written in 1852. Could this have been a fall to rival the July 1901 fall? This is what I wrote:

The following reference to an 1840 snow event in the Mount Lofty Ranges was written in 1852 by a person on the Victorian goldfields. So far I've not been able to find any reference to snow falling in South Australia in 1840 in the three SA newspapers on the Trove database that were publishing in that year.

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Saturday 11 September 1852 Page 3.

(quoting the snow-relevant part of a longer article written I presume on the Bendigo Creek gold diggings)

[From our Special Correspondent.]
Letter VIII. Bendigo Creek, 20th August, 1852.

"We are now enjoying bright frosty weather, and consequently pick and spade, cradle and tin dish, are busily plied in all directions. Until the last few days work was at a stand still. Hail, snow, and sleet, as well as wind and rain, assisted to convince us that winter has really arrived. I have seen snow here only three times, and each time it fell in small quantity, and was of brief duration. I believe such falls as we experienced in Adelaide in 1840—when the snow-drifts remained on the Mount Lofty range of hills for more than a week—are not uncommon here; but at present a game at snow-balls has been an unobtainable luxury."
{end of quote}

It may be that the comment "... when the snow-drifts remained on the Mount Lofty range of hills for more than a week ..." refers only to the Mid-North's Mt Bryan Range part of the Mt Lofty Ranges which would be a more likely scenario. Intruiging - I wonder if we'll ever know what happened?


End of page "Epic Snowfall Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July 1901."

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