The news media has an important role to play in constructing and maintaining memories of disasters. This paper examines newspaper reporting on the anniversaries of significant disaster events. In particular, the article focusses on the role of emotions in reporting of a devastating flood in the Queensland cities of Brisbane and Ipswich in 1974. The paper traces anniversary reporting in newspapers from 1975 until 2010, the year before another substantial flood hit both cities. We argue that, by ascribing particular emotions to various actors within the floods, the media set boundaries around possible responses to future disasters and failed to address changing social, environmental and political contexts. Given the likelihood of increased flood risk due to a changing climate, and in the context of government policies which define disaster management as a shared responsibility across the public and private sectors, the paper calls for more active forms of media memory-making which more effectively increase community resilience.