History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Snow in Parkes Shire

The headline highlights the contrary Australian weather! The front page of the local newspaper featured two boys on holiday with their parents and stopping off in Parkes on the very day that it snowed! Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 1

The headline highlights the contrary Australian weather! The front page of the local newspaper featured two boys on holiday with their parents and stopping off in Parkes on the very day that it snowed! Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 1

Mentioning the weather of the Parkes Shire, to residents or those further afield, and most people will immediately think of the summer heat! The summer heat can be memorable, but the four seasons are quite distinct within the Parkes Shire. Winters can be quite chilling, and in some cases, so cold that it snows!

HistoryParkes has researched the reports of snow in Parkes, from modern day snowballs in 2005 to records of snow in the 19th Century. It is enlightening reading, made all the more enjoyable if read in front of the fire with a hot beverage!

The first recorded account of snow was in July 1898, with light snow falling in Bumberry (in the newspaper it is spelled Bumbury). There was significant snow two years laters as the weather effected the running of Koh-I-Noor mine. The snow caused damage and the workers had difficulty locating firewood for the modern wood-fired boiler which provided power to the mine.

A little snow - although lacking in exact statistics, this is the first newspaper report of snow falling in the Parkes District. Source: Western Champion Friday July 29, 1898 page 4

A little snow – although lacking in exact statistics, this is the first newspaper report of snow falling in the Parkes District. Source: Western Champion Friday July 29, 1898 page 4

Snow again in Bumberry, this time June 1899. Source: Western Champion Friday 16 June, 1899 Page 8

Snow again in Bumberry, this time June 1899. Source: Western Champion Friday 16 June, 1899 Page 8

Extract from a report of snow in Parkes, including snowball fights in Clarinda Street! While not mentioned, this perhaps is the snowfall that did damage to Koh-I-Noor mine. To read the full report click here Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900 page 4

Extract from a report of snow in Parkes, including snowball fights in Clarinda Street! While not mentioned, this perhaps is the snowfall that did damage to Koh-I-Noor mine. To read the full report click here Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900 page 4

A local poet highlighting the seasons of the Parkes Shire. Source: Western Champion Friday 3 February, 1899 page

A local poet highlighting the seasons of the Parkes Shire. Source: Western Champion Friday 3 February, 1899 page

While snow might be a photographer’s dream landscape, it can be a severe natural disaster in waiting. While falling and on the ground, snow can damage mining and farming equipment and also cause livestock to perish. Once snow melts, it can cause flooding which again effects livestock and country roads. The extract below reports snow registered at depths of 11 feet (3.35 metres) at Molong, with snow also falling at Bumberry/Bumbury and Manildra.

One year later there was report of snow at Kadina (in between Bogan Gate and Gunningbland) as well as light snow in Parkes

This article reports snow in Molong and Condobolin. While Parkes and Forbes did not receive snowfall, the devastating effects of snow were seen, with flooding and damage to livestock and roads. Despite the damaging consequences, there is still humour evident - the desire to preserve the snow and serve it during the hot summer months of January and February! Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900 page 8

This article reports snow in Molong and Condobolin. While Parkes and Forbes did not receive snowfall, the devastating effects of snow were seen, with flooding and damage to livestock and roads. Despite the damaging consequences, there is still humour evident – the desire to preserve the snow and serve it during the hot summer months of January and February! Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900 page 8

The heavy snow at Bumberry (spelled Bumbury in the newspaper report) caused damaged to trees and made weather the main talking point among locals. Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900, page 10

The heavy snow at Bumberry (spelled Bumbury in the newspaper report) caused damaged to trees and made weather the main talking point among locals. Source: Western Champion Friday 13 July 1900, page 10

A different way that snow played havoc with livestock. This extract is from an encounter reported by Parkes District Court with the dispute over a missing cow! Source: Western Champion Friday 19 July 1901 page 11

A different way that snow played havoc with livestock. This extract is from an encounter reported by Parkes District Court with the dispute over a missing cow! Source: Western Champion Friday 19 July 1901 page 11

While experiencing some cold winters, snow didn't appear near Parkes again until 1905. Manildra and Cookamidgera expierenced three to four inches of snow. Source: Western Champion Friday 8 September 1905 page 8

While experiencing some cold winters, snow didn’t appear near Parkes again until 1905. Manildra and Cookamidgera expierenced three to four inches of snow. Source: Western Champion Friday 8 September 1905 page 8

Snow in October! Winter stretched well in October with cold blasts throughout the Parkes Shire. Bumberry/Bumbury experienced snow and severe frosts, damaging vital crops. Source: Western Champion Friday 6 October 1905, page 10

Snow in October! Winter stretched well in October with cold blasts throughout the Parkes Shire. Bumberry/Bumbury experienced snow and severe frosts, damaging vital crops. Source: Western Champion Friday 6 October 1905, page 10

While Tullamore has yet to experience snow, another severe cold snap meant that Tullamore had thick frost which at first glance looked like snow. Source: Western Champion Thursday 25 July 1918 page 24

While Tullamore has yet to experience snow, another severe cold snap meant that Tullamore had thick frost which at first glance looked like snow. Source: Western Champion Thursday 25 July 1918 page 24

August 1921 saw snowflakes at Trundle, although more frost was recorded as well as heavy rain. Source: Western Champion Thursday 4 August 1921 page 16

August 1921 saw snowflakes at Trundle, although more frost was recorded as well as heavy rain. Source: Western Champion Thursday 4 August 1921 page 16 Also on page 10 there were reports of snow across the Parkes district.

1921 saw such severe cold temperatures that there are also recordings of snow at:

In 1922 there were reported snowfalls in:

August 1923 there were reports of snow at:

Only one mention of snow in 1925 (at Bumberry). Next reports of snow were in 1929 at:

While 1929 also saw another report of snow in Parkes in Septemberit was the sudden cold in November that saw newspaper reports about local stores scrambling to order in overcoats!

Following a hot northerly wind, the Parkes Shire experienced a cold snap requiring stores to requisition overcoats! Snow also fell in the Wyalong district. Source: Western Champion Thursday 29 November 1929 page 8

Following a hot northerly wind, the Parkes Shire experienced a cold snap requiring stores to requisition overcoats! Snow also fell in the Wyalong district. Source: Western Champion Thursday 29 November 1929 page 8

Front page of The Western Champion declares it - Snow in Parkes! Source: The Western Champion Monday August 26th 1929 page 1

Front page of The Western Champion declares it – Snow in Parkes! Source: The Western Champion Monday August 26th 1929 page 1

In 1933 there were reports of snow during winter at Parkes with a thick frost looking like snow at Trundle.

1948 saw the next reported instance of snow, occurring west of Parkes. The rain accompanying this snow was of “considerable benefit to growing crops”. There was also a newspaper report of snow falling at Alectown (The Champion Post Thursday August 26, 1948 page 7)

The newspaper article heralds the benefits of the snow, mainly the rain that followed for thirsty crops. Interesting that it reports this is the first snow for 40 years. This is not necessarily inaccurate, depending on where the actual snowfalls occurred. The rainfall is quite high, using the Bureau of Meteorology's conversion calculator 82 points = 20.8 mm; and 150 points = 38.1mm (http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/calc.shtml) Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday August 23, 1948 page 1

The newspaper article heralds the benefits of the snow, mainly the rain that followed for thirsty crops. Interesting that it reports this is the first snow for 40 years. This is not necessarily inaccurate, depending on where the actual snowfalls occurred. The rainfall is quite high, using the Bureau of Meteorology’s conversion calculator 82 points = 20.8 mm; and 150 points = 38.1mm (http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/calc.shtml) Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday August 23, 1948 page 1

It was nearly twenty years before snow was recorded as falling in the Parkes Shire again. In 1966 saw another chilly winter come to Parkes, coincidentally at the same time that Great Britain were in Parkes to play Western Division in a game of rugby league.

Snow in the hills surrounding Parkes, conditions that Great Britain would have been more used to seeing than their hosts, Western Districts. Source: The Champion Post Monday July 18 1966

Snow in the hills surrounding Parkes, conditions that Great Britain would have been more used to seeing than their hosts, Western Districts. Source: The Champion Post Monday July 18 1966. This newspaper article featured in another historyparkes blog post Pioneer Memorial Oval – 1950s and 1960s

Parkes airport was closed and flights delayed due to snow. Source: Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday July 23, 1968 page 1

Parkes airport was closed and flights delayed due to snow. The cold weather also had an impact on the demand for electricity. Source: Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday July 23, 1968 page 1

The headline on the front page tells a tale of winter in Parkes. 29 degrees Fahrenheit is -2 degrees Celsius using the BOM calculator http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/calc.shtml. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday July 26, 1968 pages 1-2

The headline on the front page tells a tale of winter in Parkes. 29 degrees Fahrenheit is -2 degrees Celsius using the BOM calculator http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/calc.shtml. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday July 26, 1968 pages 1-2

1980 is the year of the next recorded snow in the Parkes district. It was so cold that many sporting fixtures were cancelled! Four years later Arctic conditions came to most of Australia bringing with it snow – with snowfalls recorded at Parkes and also in Toowoomba! (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald July 4, 1984 page 1)

So cold that even many sporting fixtures were cancelled! However it wasn't all bad news, as the cold snap brought some much needed rain for farmers. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday July 2, 1980 page 3

So cold that even many sporting fixtures were cancelled! However it wasn’t all bad news, as the cold snap brought some much needed rain for farmers. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday July 2, 1980 page 3

A high pressure system dragged with it a huge cold air mass from the southern oceans. This resulted in The Sydney Morning Herald reporting of snow as far north as Toowoomba! The Arctic conditions brought snow again to Parkes. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday July 4, 1984 page 1 and Parkes Champion Post Friday July 6, 1984 page 1

A high pressure system dragged with it a huge cold air mass from the southern oceans. This resulted in The Sydney Morning Herald reporting of snow as far north as Toowoomba! The Arctic conditions brought snow again to Parkes. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday July 4, 1984 page 1 and Parkes Champion Post Friday July 6, 1984 page 1

While it may not have snowed when the World Cup came to Parkes, the cold night will still send a nostalgic shiver down many spectators’ spines. The following excerpt is from another historyparkes blog post Pioneer Memorial Oval – 1990s to 2015:

 While winters in Parkes can get particularly chilly (average minimum temperature for June is 5.3°C /41.5 F Source: weatherzone.com.au) June 27 was a particularly cold evening. Sleet and a cold southerly wind made for inhospitable conditions (Parkes Champion Post reported the weather that night at -6.5 degrees). When HistoryParkes caught up with former Parkes Promotions Officer and current Councillor Michael Greenwood, he recalled a conversation with Laurie Daley and other Australian footballers who played that night. They informed him that for cold you can forget about European winters, Pioneer Oval in Parkes was the coldest conditions they had experienced as players!

The front page of the local newspaper highlights the contrary nature of Australian weather. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 1

The front page of the local newspaper highlights the contrary nature of Australian weather. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 1

A reader sent this photograph to the local newspaper sharing their own Winter Wonderland during the snowstorm. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 3

A reader sent this photograph to the local newspaper sharing their own Winter Wonderland during the snowstorm. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday June 24, 2005 page 3

Demonstrating that a cold snap in November in Parkes is not a one-off, this newspaper report records cold temperatures for a Central West that is almost farewelling spring for summer. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday November 24, 2008 page 3

Demonstrating that a cold snap in November in Parkes is not a one-off, this newspaper report records cold temperatures for a Central West that is almost farewelling spring for summer. The unseasonal weather also meant that the Forbes Swimming Carnival had to be postponed as those coming from Bathurst, Blayney and Orange would have had to go through snow to make the carnival! Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday November 24, 2008 page 3 and Parkes Champion Post Friday November 28, 2008 page 41

Photograph of Koh-I-Noor Mine from Ian Chambers' fascinating book Parkes: A Photographic History. Chambers states that the mine was situated on land between the present golf club and the Forbes Road. The photograph dates back to the turn of the century and displays the "modern" wood-fired boiler (the shed on the right). Serious losses were experienced in winter due to the damage to the mine by the snow and also lack of procuring firewood for the boiler. Sources: Chambers, I. (1988). Parkes: A Photographic History. Parkes, N.S.W.: I. Chambers; and Western Champion Friday 7 December 1900 page 11

Photograph of Koh-I-Noor Mine from Ian Chambers’ fascinating book Parkes: A Photographic History. Chambers states that the mine was situated on land between the present golf club and the Forbes Road. The photograph dates back to the turn of the century and displays the “modern” wood-fired boiler (the shed on the right). Serious losses were experienced in winter of 1900 due to the damage to the mine by the snow and also lack of procuring firewood for the boiler. Sources: Chambers, I. (1988). Parkes: A Photographic History. Parkes, N.S.W.: I. Chambers; and Western Champion Friday 7 December 1900 page 11

Searching through Trove there are reports of snow in the following areas going back to 1898. The stars indicate snow reported in or around these areas. The higher altitude places - such as Bumberry Hills and Mount Canobolas (in Orange, not on map) regularly have had snowfall. However Parkes and Forbes have experienced snow albeit less often. The towns were listed as receiving snow in Western Champion between 1898 and 1934 Map credit: Google maps

Research has revealed there are reports of snow in the following areas going back to 1890s. This map shows where snow has been recorded as falling at least once. The higher altitude places – such as Bumberry Hills and Mount Canobolas (in Orange, not on map) regularly have had snowfall. Parkes and Forbes have experienced snow albeit less often. Map credit: Google maps Information sourced from Trove and Parkes Champion Post microfilm

Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in making this post possible:

If you have stories or memories that you are willing to share about snow in the Parkes Shire please contact Parkes Shire Library via library@parkes.nsw.gov.au so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.

REFERENCE LIST

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