From the Archives, 1953: Furious hailstorm lashes Melbourne

In many homes not only were windows smashed but flywire doors and windows were also pierced by the hail.

Housewives found drying clothes left on the line torn to shreds.

Several people were treated for injuries after the storm.

The storm washed out the South African-Victoria cricket match at the MCG and transformed the arena into a miniature lake.

The Weather Bureau recorded 58 points of rain in 20 minutes. Within 15 minutes the temperature fell from 34 degrees, the highest for the year, to 21 degrees.

Collins Street was a thick carpet of hail.

Collins Street was a thick carpet of hail.Credit:The Age Archives

The Weather Bureau expects the humid weather to continue.


Trains Delayed, Fruit Crops Suffer Severely

Electric trains on the Heidelberg and Sandringham lines were struck by lightning in yesterday’s freak storm and services were delayed when power was cut off for more than half an hour.

Apple and pear crops in the Doncaster and Templestowe districts suffered heavy damage.

The 3.30 pm “up” train from Rosanna to Melbourne was struck and power was off from 3.35 pm to 4.15 pm between Rosanna and Alphington. Services were disorganized.

Between Heidelberg and Rosanna there was a small landslide, but this did not affect services.

At Brighton the 2.35 pm train from Melbourne to Sandringham was struck by lightning and there was a delay of 25 minutes until repairs were effected.

Some Doncaster and Templestowe orchards escaped the hail, but most will probably lose about 15 percent of their fruit.


One grower, Mr. WA Thiele, said fruit had been heavily bruised by hail.

All telephones served by the Tally Ho exchange were thrown out of service when an underground telephone cable between Hartwell and Tally Ho was flooded.

In the city water poured into the accounts branch at the GPO, Spencer-street and the postal hall at Elizabeth-street Post Office when hail jammed spouting.

Motorists who had cars parked in City-road, South Melbourne, returned after the storm to find water lapping the engines of their vehicles.

Many tourer cars had hood punctured and torn by hail.

Some offices and stores in the area were flooded.

At the corner of Roy and Park streets, South Melbourne, the roadway was two feet underwater.

Police sent to divert traffic found a 14-year-old boy diverting cars into side streets.

Several skylights were broken at the Law Courts and ivy was torn from the building’s façade.

For the first time in history a storm caused the adjournment of the Bankruptcy Court. One piece of ice bounced across the bench at Mr. Justice Clyne, narrowly missing him.


The Melbourne cricket ground resembled an English football arena in mid-winter at the height of the storm, when it was covered by a white mantle of ice.

Ten minutes later the oval was a miniature lake, with water covering two-thirds of the ground.

Shops in Burke-road, Camberwell, were flooded when water poured out from the gutters and swirled across footpaths. Barefooted shop assistants spent a busy half-hour sweeping and clearing water from shops.

Flooding at Camberwell Junction caused a hold-up tram schedules.

Several windows of the Applied Science section of the Public Library were smashed by hail stones.

No damage was caused to books in the library.

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