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South Australia and Snow - Opposites do attract!

By Phil Bagust editor's note: this page has the same content as Phil's original webpage here but some layout and code has been modified so it's desktop-friendly and mobile-friendly - Miles.

A new cold outbreak - July 22nd 1969

I recently discovered a new cold outbreak thanks to the fact my parents had kept the Advertisers published during the Apollo 11 moon landing in late July 1969. Of interest are the dates mentioned by 'old timers' with respect to previous outbreaks. As usual, I welcome any information from either SA or the eastern states corroborating these stories.


The great cold outbreak of 1951

July 1951 in SA was extraordinary because it contained 2 cold outbreaks - either of which would be considered exceptional in this day and age. The first, on July 7, brough the kind of snowfalls to areas that might expect a fall every few years. It was the July 20-21 outbreak howerver that saw amazing falls to sea level in many parts of the state that certainly haven't seen the white stuff since. Possibly only the big year of 1901 brought bigger falls. This kind of information certainly has the potential to fire off debates about long term climatic change - I'd kill to have another fall like this one inthe next few years!

Obviously these outbreaks had major effects in the eastern states as well.

Each section contains the 'Advertiser' MSL chart for the day, and the relevant front page story. As these copies are taken from the microfilm records their quality is poor, and I have included in point form the main occurances of each outbreak. What is very interesting are the MSL level charts, these were the early years of frontal analysis, and of course with no weather satellites there was no way to get the 'big picture'. These charts certainly look very 'front-happy' compared to today's charts! I assume this reflects a change in methodology [or could it actually reflect a change in the weather patterns? Comments anyone?].

July 7

60mph gales 1/2 inch of snow at Mt Lofty
3-4 inches of snow in the Terowie/Peterborough area


July 20-21 

Snow in the south and south eastern suburbs "piled up against fences"
Snow around 8am at Glenelg "piling on car windscreens" [at sea level!]
Snow also at Westbourne Park and the Northern suburbs [Golden Grove, 150masl]
Snow falls on the west coast [!]
Snow fell throughout the day of the 20th in the mid-north and the Adelaide hills
Snow visible on the hills from the city
Snow at Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley [~200masl]
Snow fell in Clare and Peterborough
"Several inches" on ground at Williamstown
In the mid-north described as the biggest fall since 1927, 1901, 1870 or 1889
Snow fell in the "Port Augusta district" [!]
Snow lying deep over Horrock's Pass [only about 350masl in the Southern Flinders]
3 inches on the ground at Caltowie
Drifts reported "several feet deep" in the Canowie hills
Heaviest fall in 35 years?


Below: The start of my compendium of SA snow photos.

These are mostly taken from local histories of the Mid North area. Snow here was, and is still, not unknown, but was still unusual enough to be commented on and photographed. Most towns are elevated to some extent, the lowest here being Eudunda at about 400m asl, the highest Hallett at 600m asl. I have seen accounts of snow as low as 200m. The first decade of the 20th century seems to have been a cold one!
The dates are given as they appear in the respective books. Full bibliographies will appear on a dedicated web page soon. [More photos to come soon also!]

Above: [1] Burra, July 31 1901 [one of the heaviest and most widespread falls in the state's history]


Above: [2] Burra, July 31 1901

Above: [3] Terowie 28/8/1905

Above: [4] Terowie 28/8/1905

Above: [5] Eudunda 'early 1950's'

Above: [6] Terowie August 1919

Above: [7] Hallett 1920

Above: [8] Melrose [looking towards Mt Remarkable] September 1905 

Above: [9] Wilmington [on Mt Brown] August 1929

Above: [10] Hampden [near Eudunda, was this the day snow fell in Adelaide?] 20/7/1951

Above: [11] Spalding [on the Brown's Hill Range] 1951

Above: [12] Hallett 1930s? [kindly sent to me from the collection of John and Sue Boylan]

[This is the link back to the page "Some historical snow photos taken in South Australia" if you came here from that page.]


Below: Minor interest here. After the May 25 snowfalls in 2000 I recorded these images straight from the TV [cheap chasing!]. They show the mid north landscape from a helocopter after the falls.


July 1998

Above: [1] The humble Truimph just after a snowshower! On Range Rd. Mt. Lofty Ranges, 600m ASL, July 1998

{July 28th 1998 - Miles}

Above: [2] Snowing heavily here and just starting to accumulate. On Range Rd. Mt. Lofty Ranges, 600m ASL, July 1998 {July 28th 1998 - Miles}


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