Young families were expected to struggle the most as much of Bundaberg evacuates ahead of a 10-metre-high flood peak.
As many as 5000 people are being moved in the central Queensland city ahead of the Burnett River's expected 71-year-old flood-peak record.
Bundaberg's Civic Centre and Christchurch Anglican Church were accommodating an increasing number of flood-affected residents on Monday.
Planning is under way to open St Luke's Anglican School in the city's east as classes are cancelled across the city.
Christchurch rector Cliff Greaves says the psychological affect of the latest flooding is likely to be even worse than it was when he headed the parish during the floods of early 2011.
"I was here for the last flood two years ago and this is a lot worse probably because it was so sudden," he told AAP.
"Many people haven't quite recovered from the floods and they're confronted again - it's much more devastating this time."
Father Cliff said that with the city's high unemployment, young families would have even more trouble coping with losing their belongings again.
"It's young families - they're doing it the toughest with kids," he said.
"They've either lost jobs or are struggling to hold onto their job.
"They're struggling to pay mortgage and rents, and just past Christmas their finances are at their weakest."
Father Cliff said most older people were taking the evacuations "in their stride, as an adventure" but a small minority were suffering anxiety as nursing homes were evacuated.
The Burnett River has risen to 9.1 metres and is expected to reach at least 9.5 metres on Monday, and possibly 10 metres on Tuesday.
That's well beyond the levels recorded in 2010/11 and in 1942, when the record was set.
All of north Bundaberg is under a mandatory evacuation order.
A mandatory order is also in place for low-lying parts of south and east Bundaberg, with authorities warning of deaths if people fail to leave.