Fake Image showing Townsville in Flood
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Townsville Flood Photograph Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

This image, which is circulating via email, supposedly shows severe tidal flooding along a seaside street in the city of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. 

The image shows “The Strand”, an area of the city very popular with both tourists and locals, apparently awash with sea water.

However, the picture is a hoax. It was created with image manipulation software using a genuine photograph of the flood-free Strand as a base.

According to an article that was published at the time in the Townsville Bulletin, the image was created by Townsville man, Kevin Fawcett. He used a photograph he took from his balcony at the Aquarius On The Beach apartments.

After Mr Fawcett created the fake image, he emailed it to a few friends as a joke. However, one or more of the recipients must have forwarded the image to others and it was soon hitting inboxes around the world.

Some Townsville residents have been contacted by overseas family and friends who were concerned for their safety after seeing the hoax photograph. Tourism Queensland has also been forced to reassure travel agents and tour operators that the image does not show a real event.

And Aquarius on the Beach staff have fielded calls about the picture from as far away as London.

North Queensland was experiencing heavy rain and some flooding around the time that the image began circulating, and this probably added credence to the hoax

Kevin Fawcett apparently had no idea that his creation would travel so widely and fool so many people and he had no malicious intent. The image, titled “High Tide at Aquarius” and other artwork by Mr Fawcett is featured on the DeviantArt website. 

Example:

Subject: Flooding on The Strand
Townsville Flooding Fake Image


Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer