Across the Outback

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					Across the Outback
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Number 15                                                                                                                          September 2004

Down the Oodnadatta Track:
                                                       Hats off to North-West Queensland
Cattle drive                                            Right:     Jules     Schmidt

nears William
                                                        from Robertstown, South
                                                        Australia, lost his hat – and
                                                        later his seat – during this

Creek                                                   ride at the Mount Isa Rodeo
                                                        in early August.
                                                        Jules, who works at Mount
  The 600 head of cattle involved in the                Isa Mines, was competing
‘Hoofs and Horns down the Oodnadatta                    at Kalkadoon Park, Mount
Track’ drive are nearing William Creek.                 Isa, for the first time. On
                                                        this occasion it was the
  The mob will arrive there on Thursday                 bareback     bronc     riding
September 23 in time for the campdraft and              event.
rodeo on the next day and the Australian
                                                        Other South Australians
Bronco Branding Championships on Saturday               remained seated a little
September 25.                                           longer in some cases. Scott
  The 220 km trip south began at Oodnadatta             Fraser stayed on the bull ‘Bad Boy’ for
                                                        eight seconds to win the open bull ride.
on September 3 with all but a few of the 210
guest droving places booked. The guests                 It was his second win at ‘the Isa’
                                                        – 10 years ago he won on another bull
include people from every State of Australia
                                                        coincidently also called ‘Bad Boy’.
and three from the United States.
                                                        The annual Mount Isa Rodeo, first
   The mob moved off after a ‘count-out’ at             held in 1959, is a three-day event and
Oodnadatta involving some of the more senior            is regarded as the biggest and richest
members of the district’s pastoral fraternity. The      in the southern hemisphere. This year
cattle are mainly young, dry heifers sourced            successful competitors shared a purse
                                                        of $200,000.
from S Kidman and Company’s Macumba and
The Peake stations; Allendale Station and the           Right: Hats were universal adornment for
Williams Cattle Company. Recent good rains in           Mt Isa patrons.
the district have ensured that the full mob was
able to make the trip.
   Oodnadatta celebrated the occasion with a
Friday night cabaret to which participants were
transported back from the first droving camp
                                                     Trust appoints                                 Inside:
                                                                                                    Pastoral Board news ....................... Page 2
about 8 km south of the town.                        new manager                                    Rangelands not a ‘dead heart’ ........ Page 3
   Head drover Max Gorringe of Elsey Station,
Mataranka, NT, took the ‘plant’ of 108 horses          Mark Sutton has been formally                Is the Channel Country unique? .... Page 3
from William Creek up to Oodnadatta, leaving         appointed  the   Outback    Areas              Battling boxthorns ........................... Page 4
William Creek late in August. With the help of       Community Development Trust’s new
                                                     Manager.                                       Are your stock really mad? ............ Page 7
five other ‘horse tailers’ he got the mob there
in a week. The horses included 30 that Max             Formerly   the    Trust’s    Community       GAB bore audit ................................ Page 8
Gorringe broke in last Christmas for the event.      Development Officer, he has been acting        Aridflo results summary ............... Page 10
   The two days of events at William Creek           as Manager since the departure of former
at the end of the drive will centre around the
new bronco branding yards and a new and
                                                     General Manager, Dean Gollan, late in 2003.
                                                        The Trust’s Chairman, Blinman pastoralist       Across the Outback
sizeable catering and community purposes shed        Bill McIntosh, says that Mark was selected        Produced for Outback SA with assistance
completed in time for the big weekend. The           from a strong field of candidates from both         from the SA Pastoral Board, Primary
                                                                                                           Industries and Resources at Port
shed erection was commissioned and facilitated       within and outside of Government.
                                                                                                       Augusta, the Arid Areas Catchment Water
by the William Creek Gymkhana Association.             Further appointments have also now been          Management Board, the Outback Areas
                                                     made to expand the Trust’s staffing at its        Community Development Trust, Tourism
  The cost was borne by the Association
                                                                                                                 SA, the Rangelands Integrated
and some private benefactors with funding            new office premises in Marryatt Street, Port                Natural Resource Management
assistance from the Outback Areas Community          Augusta. See ‘Among the Communities’,                     Group and the Dog Fence Board.
Development Trust and Tourism SA.                    Page 9.

News from the Pastoral Board                                                                             by Dog Fence Manager, Michael Balharry
Recognising sustainable                            support staff, the SA Farmers Federation and
                                                                                                      Stuart Shipard resigns
management                                         the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement have
                                                   membership.                                          Long-time member and Chairman of the
   The Pastoral Board has decided that                                                                Penong Local Dog Fence Board, Stuart
it will recognise properties that practice         Glendambo meeting                                  Shipard, resigned at the Penong Board’s annual
sound and sustainable management.                    A tentative date of Wednesday, November          meeting in July.
  It will feature these properties in articles     3, has been set for the Board to meet at              Stuart was a foundation member of the
in Across the Outback and will consider            Glendambo and then meet with members of            Penong Local Board when it was established
the possibility of awarding certificates of        the Kingoonya District Soil Conservation           in October 1975 and had been a member of the
recognition to the responsible lessees.            Board, and other local pastoralists, in a public   Vermin District Board before that.
  This decision was taken at the Board’s most                                                           At the July meeting Stuart also resigned
recent meeting, where there was an emphasis          Consideration is also being given to             as Chair of the Far West Dog Fence Boards
on policy review and at which the Board’s          conducting a plant identification workshop to      Association which he chaired for 15 years.
deputy members were also present.                  coincide with this meeting.
                                                                                                         He has been replaced on the Penong Board
Stock returns                                                                                         by Brian Dunn of Cundilippy Station (which
  As a follow-on from recent amendments                                                               abuts the Dog Fence). The new Chairman
to the Pastoral Land Management and                  Field Plant Guide                                at Penong is Craig Trowbridge and the new
                                                                                                      Association Chairman is Ricky Miller of the
Conservation Act 1989, the Board also
adopted a policy that amends the dates to
                                                     proves popular                                   Fowlers Bay Local Dog Fence Board.
                                                        The colourful Field Guide to the Plants
which statutory stock returns will apply.                                                             Local Board meetings
                                                     of Outback SA, released for sale late last
   Starting in this year ending June 2005, stock     year by the Pastoral Program, is proving            Dog Fence Board Chairman Don Nicolson,
returns will relate to the previous financial        to be a popular purchase.                        Fence Supervisor Bill Sandow and I attended
year and will be due by July 31 each year. The                                                        all six local board annual general meetings
forms sent out to lessees will be reformatted           Including the 300 copies that were sent
                                                                                                      during July.
to reflect this change. An adjustment will be        free-of-charge, one to each property held
                                                     under pastoral lease, 2,150 copies had             Other than Penong, the only change in local
made on the first returns lodged within the                                                           board membership occurred at the Central
new reporting dates to allow for the longer          been disposed of by the end of August.
                                                                                                      Local Board AGM where Ryan Rankin
period.                                                 The 304-page book – colloquially
                                                                                                      replaced James Gibson.
                                                     referred to as ‘the ute guide’ – was
Burial sites                                                                                          2004-05 Budget
                                                     prepared by Frank Kutsche and Brendan
  The Board has approved a policy on                 Lay of the Pastoral Program. It retails at          At its meeting on August 27, the State Dog
Aboriginal burials on pastoral leases. This          $39.50 and copies can be obtained by             Fence Board made its budget allocations for
policy is consistent with a protocol developed       contacting Lyn Taylor of the Pastoral            this current financial year.
by the Indigenous Land Use Agreement                 Program on (08) 8204 9433.
Pastoral Side Table on which the Board, its                                                             Private Fence owners are to receive a
                                                                                                      subsidy of $166 per kilometre while the six
                                                                                                      local boards are to receive $165,000 to upgrade
                                                                                                      their sections of the Fence.

Kangaroo survey data being analysed
                                                   that kangaroos were very patchily distributed
                                                                                                      Seven Water Holes has
  The annual aerial survey of the State’s
kangaroo populations was completed in              on the ground.                                     health clinic
August after an initial delay because of             When the survey data is analysed results           The opal-mining community at Seven Water
the cold fronts that passed over South             will be used to set quotas for the commercial      Holes on Lambina Station now has its own
Australia early in the month.                      industry in 2005.                                  health clinic.
  Ecologist, Kangaroo Management, with the           The survey results and proposed quotas             The clinic was officially opened last month
Department for Environment and Heritage,           will be discussed at the annual Kangaroo           by Dr Sally Cole, who has been running the
Lisa Farroway, says that although results are      Conservation and Management Public                 Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Remote and
not yet available, survey observers had noted      Meeting to be held at Port Augusta on              Rural Women’s Health Clinic there since 2003.
                                                   November 4. The venue will be the TAFE             Until the new transportable building arrived she
                                                   Lecture Theatre, 9-39 Carlton Parade, Port         was using the barbecue room at the back of the
            Don’t forget:                          Augusta and the time is between 1 pm and           community hall.
       the freecall number to                      4 pm.                                                Money for the project was raised by the
     the Pastoral Board office                       For further information on this meeting          Seven Water Holes Community Steering
          is 1800 678 447                          contact Rod Henderson (8648 5319) or               Committee with assistance from the Outback
                                                   Melanie Armenio (8648 5318).                       Areas Community Development Trust.

  13th Biennial Rangeland Society Conference at Alice Springs

Moving away from an image of the desert as the ‘dead heart’
    In all, 350 delegates attended the Rangeland Society conference at Alice
    Springs held between July 5 and 8. Merri Tothill, Society member, conference
    delegate and now trainee journalist, provided some insights into what many
    believe was the best conference yet.

  People need to move away from the                 Adapting to climate
image of the desert as the ‘dead heart’ to a
truer picture of a place of overwhelming            change
‘aliveness’.                                           Stocking based on seasonal
  Keynote speaker at the Alice Springs              climate forecasts, greater utilisation
conference, Paul Wand, Chairperson of the           of spelling, selection of animal
Desert Knowledge Co-operative Research              lines based on resistance to high
Centre, made this point while stressing the         temperatures, and modifying times
importance of establishing and maintaining          of mating and weaning ...
a desert knowledge base.                               These were some of the strategies
  “It’s about managing our natural resources        proposed by Mark Howden of
and we need people to do it,” he told the           CSIRO to cope with temperature
Conference. “Linkages are extremely                 increases arising from climate
important and we must work together to              changes. He presented a paper to         Some of the SA delegates celebrating on Cassia Hill in the
create enough critical mass”.                       the conference on managing the            West Macdonell Ranges at a conference social session.
                                                    risks of climate change.
   He said the Australian Rangeland Society,
through its holistic approach, had provided           He pointed out that temperature and carbon         currently being experienced by Moree, NSW.
the vehicle and the venue to cover the issues       dioxide levels had been falling and rising over         The effect of this would include more heat
in an integrated way.                               the last half million years or so, according to      stress and the need to drink more water, more
                                                    data obtained from ice core samples.                 often – and this would apply to domestic
  After a welcome to conference delegates
by Betty Pierce and Pat Dodds, representing            “Climate has always been variable but the         stock, native animals and humans.
the traditional owners – Lhere Artepe, the          difference today is that we are no longer working      “Warming trends will also substantially
conference was officially opened by the             within the bounds of variability,” he said.          increase the frequency of heat stress days,
Administrator of the Northern Territory, Ted           In the next 50 to 100 years we could expect       particularly in tropical climates, reducing
Egan AM, who paid tribute to the traditional        some temperature increases; changes in               productivity, decreasing reproductive rates,
people.                                             rainfall; sea level rise; increased wave activity    increasing mortality and increasing concerns
  His speech focussed on the ‘living in             and changes in ocean currents – all as a result      about animal welfare in intensive livestock
the outback’ theme and on the vital role of         of human activity. To put this in context he         handling activities such as live sheep
women in supporting families and educating          used the example of Melbourne that would             exports,” he explained.
children.                                           then experience the climate and weather                 “The correlation of heat stress tolerance
                                                                                                         and lower productivity breed characteristics
                                                                                                         means that the search for effective adaptation
                                                                                                         to more heat stress will be challenging”.
The Channel Country – an international                                                                   Positive feedback
comparison                                                                                                  The feedback received in relation to all
                                                                                                         aspects of the Alice Springs conference
 Australian’s who live and work in the Channel Country of Queensland and South
                                                                                                         – including the poster sessions, field trips and
Australia believe that it is unique in the world. But is this really true?
                                                                                                         social events – was overwhelmingly positive.
  At the Alice Springs Rangeland Conference, DG Phelps of the Queensland Department
                                                                                                            Merri reports that there is a sense the
of Primary Industries and Fisheries at Longreach considered this question by comparing the
                                                                                                         Society is getting much closer to reaching
Channel Country with the Okavango Delta in Botswana; the Southern Pantanal of Brazil; the
                                                                                                         its objective of providing a forum for open
Flooded Pampas of Argentina and Red Creek in Wyoming, USA.
                                                                                                         discussion of rangeland issues.
  His conclusions?
                                                                                                            “We are slowly coming to grips with the
• The floodplains of the Channel Country have many similar resource management issues                    integration and balancing of environmental,
  to other flooded systems of the world, including the potential for water diversion and the             social and economic outcomes – but there is
  interruption to natural flood levels and distributions.                                                still more work to be done. The evolution will
• The area (of the Channel Country) subject to inundation is not the largest in the world nor is the     continue as we attract new members from a
  level of productivity the highest.                                                                     wide range of fields,” she said.
• It is however unique in its combination of extensive and fertile clay soil floodplains that are           The next conference will be at Renmark SA
  intermittently inundated within an arid area.                                                          in September, 2006.
• The desire of, and the ability for, the community of the Channel Country to maintain relatively          Further reports on the varied papers
  unaltered natural systems for cattle grazing, resisting both cropping and extensive areas of           presented at the Conference will appear in the
  introduced pastures, also sets the area apart from the other great flooded systems of the world.       next issue of Across the Outback.

We’ve escaped the worst of the mesquite thickets
But four infestations                             on some stations, and there may
                                                  be more of these that have not
are still being                                   been recorded.
                                                    Constant vigilance is needed
eradicated                                        to keep mesquite and other
by David Cooke, Senior Weed Science Officer,      pastoral weeds out of SA. If you
    Animal and Plant Control Commission           have a plant on your land that
                                                  you suspect may be mesquite,
  South Australia has mostly escaped the
                                                  please call the Animal and
thorny mesquite thickets that infest nearly
                                                  Plant Control Consultants – Ben
a million hectares of northern Australia.
                                                  Shepherd or Bethany Greenfield
   Mesquite (Prosopis species) is a tough,        – on (08) 8648 5160 to get it
thorny shrub or tree resembling an Acacia,        identified.
with fern-like pinnate leaves and pale yellow
flowers in brush-shaped spikes. The seeds,
produced in woody pods, are long-lived in the
soil and germinate after major rainfall events.   Adapted grab used in Stage 2 of boxthorn
   Individual mesquites live for many years,
and can regenerate from their root reserves
                                                  removal program
after felling or drought.                              from Len Rule, Project Coordinator,           participated in extensive fox-baiting over an
   It is one of the 20 Weeds of National                    Rangeland Action Project                 area of 70,000 hectares. This was the first of the
Significance (WONS) because of its potential                                                         fox control baitings that will be conducted three
                                                    One of the success stories to emerge from
to displace native vegetation and compete                                                            times a year. A weed control program treating
                                                  the Natural Heritage Trust’s Rangeland Action
with pastures. Its dense growth also harbours                                                        artichoke and pepper trees along the Baldina
                                                  project is the coordinated on-ground pest
feral pigs, prevents stock access to water and                                                       Creek has also been conducted.
                                                  plant and animal control works carried out in
hinders mustering.                                the Eastern Districts by the Burra Rangeland         The combined inputs of landholders, the
   But why have we escaped so far? For            Group.                                             Eastern District Soil Conservation Board and
one thing, mesquite grows better in tropical                                                         the Department for Environment and Heritage
                                                     The group was formed initially because
climates with summer rainfall than in our                                                            has demonstrated the favourable outcomes that
                                                  of concerns about the introduction and rapid
rangeland habitats. And it was planted much                                                          an integrated approach can achieve over large
                                                  spread of pest plants and animals in its area.
more widely in northern Australia as an                                                              areas.
                                                  An initial survey identified foxes and boxthorns
amenity tree and as drought fodder.               as a major concern to landholders. Artichoke          The Rangeland Action Project was
  But in the pastoral stations and townships      thistle, pepper trees, horehound and onion weed    established to conduct on-ground activities
in SA where it was planted, it did persist        were also of concern in specific areas.            through a devolved grant process aimed
and often spread gradually by seed until                                                             at addressing issues of biodiversity and
                                                    The initial boxthorn program involved, as
eradication began in the 1980s.                                                                      sustainability. Currently further funds are
                                                  Stage 1, 300 hours of mechanical removal.
                                                                                                     available for a range of activities including land
   A survey funded by the Natural Heritage        Another 150 hours of mechanical removal has
                                                                                                     rehabilitation, revegetation and pest plant and
Trust last year revealed that four significant    now been carried out using a specially adapted
                                                                                                     animal control.
infestations are still being eradicated, the      grab (see picture below).
largest containing about 40 plants. These sites                                                        For further information about funding,
                                                    During Stage 2 of the program, 12 properties
will need to be checked for seedling regrowth                                                        contact Len Rule on (08) 8648 4126.
for many years.
  Other isolated mesquite plants still remain

Marla/Oodnadatta SCB
revises district plan
  The Marla/Oodnadatta Soil Conservation
Board has announced the completion of the
revision of its district plan – and has made it
available on CD.
  In 2002 the Board commissioned Dr Frank
Badman to update the original 1997 plan.
  Board Chairman, Digby Giles of Wintinna
Station via Coober Pedy has paid tribute to
Frank Badman’s efforts, particularly in regard
to the inventory of the region’s biodiversity.
This has been described as a ‘terrific

Office relocation                                    NRM investments
   The INRM Group has outgrown its office
accommodation. The old office was not able
to cope with the influx of new staff (see article      The INRM Group is holding a two day
below) causing the Group to relocate around          workshop over September 28 and 29 to
the corner to 2 Marryatt Street. We have             develop projects for the new three-year
maintained the Outback SA concept, moving            Investment Strategy. The workshop
next door to the OACDT.                              will be held at Port Augusta. This is
                                                     a very important event for NRM in the
Staffing in the region                               rangelands and all interested people are
   A number of significant staff changes have        encouraged to attend. For more detail
happened within the INRM Group. Andrew               please see the insert in this edition of
White, Executive Officer, has left and               Across the Outback.
relocated interstate. For the interim period
before the new NRM Board is appointed and
becomes operational, John Gavin, formerly
                                                    INRM Plans available
NRM Regional Liaison Officer, has been                 Copies of the Rangelands INRM Plan
appointed Executive Officer. John will remain       and Investment Strategy are available from
in the position until July, 2005.                   the INRM Office. Please call and request
                                                    a copy and we will send one out. They can         At the local launch of the the INRM Plans, from
  Sandy Gunter has moved from PIRSA to
                                                    also be viewed or downloaded from a couple        left, Ned Luscombe (Chair Eyre Peninsula
take up the position of Programs Manager.
                                                    of different web sites:         region), Lorraine Rosenberg (EO Aboriginal
Sandy will be the person responsible for                                                              Lands), Minister Kemp, Chris Reed (Chair
                                                    or as are the
overseeing the management of the $2 million                                                           Rangelands) and local member Barry Wakelin
                                                    community consultation report and the
worth of NHT projects in the region.                                                                  who presented a report on the state of the
                                                    indigenous consultation report.                   region.
   Melissa Horgan has accepted the position
of Community Landcare Coordinator. Melissa
comes to the position with years of experience,      EPBC Unit workshop
having worked in the rangelands for a number           The Rangelands INRM Group has asked the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
of years with Greening Australia, but resigned       Conservation Unit to hold a workshop in the region to provide advice on the recent heritage
earlier in the year to have a baby. Melissa will     changes to the EPBC Act and how these may affect local residents.
initially be working part-time. Her main role
will be assisting regional groups in identifying     What is the EPBC Act?
funding opprtunities, developing projects and           The Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
completing applications.                             Act 1999, the “EPBC Act” is the principal piece of national environmental law. It brought
   Greening Australia has appointed Janet            in major changes in the Australian Government’s responsibility for protection of nationally
Walton in a new role as the Rangelands               significant natural and cultural heritage. This includes threatened and migratory species
Biodiversity Support Officer. Janet will be          and their habitat, threatened ecological communities, Ramsar wetlands, World Heritage and
working out of the new INRM office and her           National Heritage places, and actions by the Commonwealth.
role will be to coordinate project monitoring         The general rule is that “actions” that are “likely” to have a “significant impact” on a
activities within the region as well as advise       matter protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act must be referred to the Australian Government
on vegetation management. Janet is moving            Minister for the Environment and Heritage for assessment and approval.
to Port Augusta from Benalla, Victoria.
                                                        This approval is required in addition to any approval required under State or local laws.
Plan launched                                           The EPBC Unit has accepted an invitation by the Rangelands INRM Group to present a
                                                     workshop in Port Augusta on the operation of the EPBC Act. The EPBC Unit is a community
   Minister for the Environment and Heritage,
                                                     information service run as a joint project of WWF Australia, the Australian Council of
Dr David Kemp was in Port Augusta on July 1
                                                     National Trusts, and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.
to launch the INRM Plans for the Rangelands,
Aboriginal Lands and Eyre Peninsula regions.         Workshop details
The launch was a fairly low key event at the            When:     Friday, October 22, 1pm to 4pm
Arid Lands Botanic Gardens attended by                  Where:    Port Augusta Sporting and Social Club, Hannigan St, Pt Augusta
around 30 people (see photograph below).
                                                     What will the workshop cover?
                                                       The workshop will begin with an overview of the EPBC Act, looking at how the Act
                                                     works. The workshop will provide an outline for those unfamiliar with the EPBC Act and
                                                     an update for those already working with it. There will also be discussion of the Heritage
                                                     amendments that form the basis of Australia’s new heritage regime.
                                                        The second part of the workshop will be more interactive, working through some case
                                                     studies to put what was learnt in the first part of the workshop into action (before you forget
                                                     it all!).
                                                        Finally, there will be an open Q & A session. EPBC Unit publications will be available.
                                                       Please RSVP by Friday October 15 to 8648 5194, fax 8648 5161, or email gunter.sandy@

Diversification and                                       The combined
                                                         Rural Solutions
Innovation                                                       SA and
                                                             Roseworthy                                   Information
   This is a new community website dedicated               Centre stand
                                                         at the EP Field
to outback pastoral areas. Ann Johnston,
Rural Solutions SA, Port Augusta Office, is
developing this site, and we are trying to ensure
that it has relevant, up-to-date information and
links to other websites that are relevant to the
pastoral businesses in this area.
   The CNEFAP report and some of the case                                                             Success at the 2004
studies are already on the web, as are links to
other websites.                                                                                       Eyre Peninsula Field
  Need to know about MSDS (Material                                                                   Days
Safety Data Sheet)? Look on the web at              New Bestprac                                                                                         The 2004 Eyre Peninsula Field Days were
 What about Work Cover? Then visit
                                                    groups                                            held at Cleve on August 10, 11 and 12 with a                                  There have been two new Bestprac                crowd number of more than 23,000 visiting
                                                    groups formed in the Port Augusta and             over the three days. This was only slightly
  Even employment conditions and pay rates
                                                    Glendambo regions in the last few weeks           down from the number in 2002.
are there, at
                                                    and while these groups are in the early              Some very interesting weather was
  All of these and many more are on the
                                                    stages and only small numbers of people           experienced during the field days, from
website. If you would like to see something on
                                                    have made the preliminary meetings,               rain on Tuesday, to a perfect sunny day on
the website then please let me know.
                                                    there has been a positive reaction to the         Wednesday and extreme winds and dust
  I am also very keen to hear from others who       idea.                                             storms on Thursday, keeping the Bureau of
would like some assistance with Internet, email,                                                      Meteorology stand very busy.
                                                      Bestprac is a group-based benchmarking
word processing, spreadsheets or business
                                                    and continuous improvement program                   The combined PIRSA / DWLBC pavilion
planning. I will visit properties and work with
                                                    designed to identify business strengths,          showcased around 30 displays from
individuals as well as working with groups.
                                                    weaknesses, opportunities and threats.            government and private agency groups who
                                   Ann Johnston
                                                      The program is funded by MLA and AWI            travelled from all around Australia, including
                                 (08) 8648 5160
                                                    and is designed specifically for pastoral wool    Melbourne, Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Clare,
                                                    and meat producers.                               Murray Bridge and Port Augusta.
                                                       The groups are set up in regional areas that     Rural Solutions SA and the Roseworthy
On the move!!                                       have similar climate, country and concerns        Information Centre shared a combined
                                                    so that things covered at the meetings are        display that featured a diverse range of
  Sandy      Gunter,    Land     Management
                                                    relevant to everybody.                            publications and software available to
Consultant with Rural Solutions SA, has joined
                                                      We are looking to get a group going in the      primary producers and the agricultural
the Natural Resource Management Group in
                                                    Gawler Ranges in the near future and there        industry.
Port Augusta for a 12-month contract. Sandy
has worked tirelessly in all aspects of the         are opportunities to join in these groups.          Overall the three days were very successful
rangelands, and in particular with providing          If there are producers in pastoral South        for the stand, with very good sales achieved.
support to the Soil Conservation Boards.            Australia that would like more information,         The most popular publications this year
  Support for the Soil Conservation Boards          or to form a group they can call Jamie            were the Tractor Log Book, Feeding Sheep
will continue through the Rural Solutions SA,       McTaggart at Rural Solutions SA in Port           publication, 2004 Farm Gross Margins Guide
Port Augusta office. Good luck Sandy!!              Augusta on 8648 5160.                             and the Cereal Weed Spraying Chart.

                                                                                   UPPER NORTH
                                                                                  ANIMAL & PLANT
                                                                                  CONTROL BOARD

        Animal Health News

Are those                                        •
                                                     Plant toxicities
                                                     Other toxicities
                                                                                                   The Book Shop …
                                                 •   Metabolic diseases                            l      A guide to
sheep or cattle                                  •
                                                     Genetic diseases
                                                     Bovine ephemeral fever (three day
actually mad?                                        sickness)
                                                 • Listeriosis
                                                                                                          feeds      and
  If any of your sheep or cattle are             • A range of other causes                         rations, alternative
showing any one or more of the                      So please report anything unusual and          stockfeeds, methods
following signs we would like to hear            remember that you have nothing to lose and        of    feeding     and
from you. You may be eligible for                a lot to gain!                                    economics          of
compensation.                                                     Trent Scholz (0427 970 453)      production feeding.
•   Increased nervousness                                                                          It also includes
                                                                 PIRSA Industry Development
•   Staggery gait                                                                                  comprehensive
                                                                  & Animal Health Consultant
•   Muscle tremors                                                                                 chapters on sheep management in preparation
•   Unable to stand                                                                                for drought and lotfeeding of sheep.
•   Falling                                                                                           A wide variety of publications are available
•   Excessive nose and flank licking                                                               from the Roseworthy Information Centre, the
•   Head rubbing or pressing
                                                 Pastoral beef day                                 following are a ‘brief snapshot’ of current
                                                                                                   best sellers.
   Transmissible spongiform encephalopa-
thies (TSEs) are brain diseases that affect        A pastoral beef day is planned for              l A pocket-sized
sheep and cattle. Mad cow disease (BSE) of       October 28 at the Lyndhurst trucking              coloured guide the
cattle and scrapie of sheep are both TSEs.       yards.                                            help you identify
   Australia is currently free of TSEs and         Landmark Port Augusta is organising the         the most common
in order to confirm our continuing freedom       day, with some support from PIRSA and             weeds you are
from the disease we are required to test 400     other parties.                                    likely to encounter
cattle and 450 sheep brains per year with each     The program will consist of a series of         in crops.
State contributing proportionally, based on      presentations on                                  l A series of quality
numbers of sheep and cattle in that State.       • Beef Nutrition (Russ Tyler – DPI&F              publications covering
  The brains we need to collect for testing        – Queensland)                                   the advantages of
are from animals showing nervous signs, and                                                        organic       farming
                                                 • NLIS – Neil Buchanan (Manager, Animal
are similar to what would be seen if stock                                                         and providing easy-
                                                   Health Operations – PIRSA)
were affected with TSEs.                                                                           to-follow      advice
                                                 • Benefits of weaning cattle                      on how to convert
   Under the national TSE surveillance
                                                    There will also be a number of static          existing farms to
program (NTSESP), compensation is
                                                 displays for pastoral beef producers to get the   organic enterprises.
payable to producers with animals showing
                                                 latest information on:                              The Roseworthy
signs that are suggestive of TSE and meet the
age criteria, which is 30 months or older for    •    Animal health                                Information Centre
cattle, and 18 months or older for sheep.        •    Representatives from various beef breeds     has a free call telephone number: 1800 356
                                                 •    NLIS – tag readers on display                446 or, alternatively you can call the Rural
   If you see an animal with any of the above
                                                 •    Farm safety                                  Solutions SA Port Augusta office on 8648
signs, please contact your local PIRSA
                                                 •    Weigh scales                                 5160.
animal health officer (or private vet) so that
                                                 •    Numerous other displays                        A detailed catalogue is available (at no
they can euthanase the animal and remove its
brain for testing.                                 To register and for more information            charge), where the full range of publications
                                                 please contact Richard Earle at Landmark          is listed.    Rural Solutions SA, Port
  While ensuring that Australia’s valuable
                                                 Port Augusta on 8642 4344.                        Augusta office can request publications
export markets remain open, the program has
                                                                                                   on consignment for clients to view (at no
a number of benefits for producers as well.
Producers receive compensation for animals
                                                                                                     This is a great way to ensure the publication
that are tested:                                     Livestock quick                               that you are interested in, has ‘exactly’ the
    •   $25 for sheep
                                                     contacts:                                     information you are looking for. So … take
    •   $150 for cattle                                                                            some well-deserved time out and catch up on
                                                     • National Livestock Identification
... as well as further testing (AT NO COST                                                         some reading!!
                                                       Scheme (NLIS) ear tags: Rural
TO THE PRODUCER) to endeavour to
                                                       Solutions SA office, Port Augusta
determine the cause of the problem, given
                                                       – 8648 5160.                                           Don’t forget:
that it is highly unlikely to be a TSE.
                                                     • National Vendor Declaration Books:                the freecall number to
  There is a whole range of other conditions
that can cause nervous signs in sheep and
                                                       Meat & Livestock Assoc. – 1800 683              the Pastoral Board office
cattle including:
                                                       111.                                                 is 1800 678 447

GAB bore audit                                       No-one in Germany has hats

under way
                                                     as big as that! A German film
                                                     crew filming a documentary for
                                                     German TV about the Georgina
  If you have a GAB bore on your place,              Diamantina river came along
expect a call from a bloke called Kevin              to the Georgina Diamantina
                                                     Catchment Committee meeting
Dennis some time soon.                               and accompanied committee
   Kevin has commenced as the GABSI                  members on their field trip to
Extension Officer with the Department for            Cowarie Station. They are
Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation,           pictured filming David Phelps
taking the place of Mike Reynolds, who many          telling committee members
                                                     about a project to measure soil
of you would have dealt with in the past.            moisture and feed response
   In addition to his role with GABSI, Kevin         being done right across the
is one of a team working on an audit of GAB          channel country.
bores which will map out the condition of the
Far North’s bores and associated piping, and
identify which bores, if any, require additional
work to be brought up to a suitable construction
                                                      In cooperation with the Catchment Board,
                                                   the Government has agreed that the risk           Water rules – do
standard.                                          assessment of bores will be independently
                                                   reviewed. The Board is currently working
                                                                                                     we need any?
   Following the Bore Audit, a risk profile will
be established from each bore, which should        with the Government to find a suitable              Soil Board representatives from around
give a clear picture of the future maintenance     candidate for this independent review.            the Outback met with the Catchment
needs for Far North bores.                            Field inspections for the Bore Audit will be   Board in Roxby Downs on August 16,
   This risk assessment will be crucial as we      conducted along the Birdsville and Strzelecki     to talk about what types of rules, if any,
draw up a business plan for some type of           Tracks in early September; in the Marree and      would be needed to control activities
insurance scheme for landholders to fund future    Frome embayment area in later September           that might affect water resources under
bore repairs and maintenance. It will give us a    to early October; and along the Oodnadatta        the new catchment water management
very good basis for estimating future costs.       Track and western margin from late October        plan in the Arid Areas.
                                                   to mid November.                                     The general consensus from the meeting
   The terms of reference for the bore
                                                      Kevin and his team will be calling             was that some type of regulation is desirable
audit and the risk assessment can be
                                                   pastoralists individually to arrange times for    to protect the watercourses and other water
downloaded from the Board’s website –
                                                   field inspections.                                resources.
                                                                                                        No-one wants to see dams or other
                                                                                                     structures built that might cause problems for
                                                                                                     downstream users or the environment.

Georgina-Diamantina Plan now out                                                                        There was concern from all participants
                                                                                                     that any regulation be user-friendly, and that
                                                                                                     it should not make it difficult for people to
  The Queensland Government released               Board’s Executive Officer, David Leek, made
                                                                                                     carry out their normal day-to-day operations.
the    Georgina-Diamantina     Water               a presentation to the Committee about water
                                                                                                        The Catchment Board is anxious to ensure
Resources Plan on August 9.                        needs and planning ‘south of the border’, and
                                                   Board member, Sharon Oldfield showed the          that all the effects of regulations are taken
   The plan defines water management and
                                                   Committee around Cowarie Station. It was          into consideration.
allocation rules that will apply on the river
                                                   great to see so many Queensland members of           Details of how regulations will work
system for the next decade.
                                                   the committee make the trip.                      are being developed. The Board will be
   The real detail of the plan, however, will
                                                     For a copy of the Georgina-Diamantina           consulting widely on those details in the next
be included in the Resource Operation Plan,
                                                   Water Resources Plan, either log on to            few months.
which is still being developed.
                                          or call Simon              If you have a view on how any regulations
   It is obviously crucial that the Queensland
                                                   Wiggins on (07)323 93267 or 0427 427 291.         should work, please let us know.
plans continue to take into account the needs
                                                                                                        Many thanks to John Mengersen, Anne
of South Australian users of the river system,
                                                                                                     Scammell, Andrew Smart, John Read, Angus
and the Catchment Board will continue to
press that case.
                                                                  McTaggart, Dion Robbins and Ian Ferguson
                                                    for the latest news about water in               for taking the time to come and discuss these
   It was heartening to see the Georgina-           the rangelands – or join our email               issues with the Board. We look forward to
Diamantina Catchment Committee meet                 list for automatic updates                       talking to Soil Boards again soon about this
in Mungerannie on July 26 and 27. The

Among the Communities
                         with the Outback Areas Community Development Trust

New appointments                                    Roma Mitchell House, North Terrace.                Township land inventory
 The process of fully staffing the new Port           Leith Yelland will continue his five-year
                                                                                                         At its July meeting the Trust resolved to
Augusta office has gained some significant          association with the Trust from that office.
                                                                                                       commit some funds to a project aimed at
momentum.                                           Contacts                                           determining the use, occupancy and status of
   After acting in the                                                                                 unallotted Crown land allotments in nominated
                                                      Another reminder that the Trust’s Port
position for almost seven                                                                              townships and settlements in the outback.
                                                    Augusta postal address is PO Box 2353,
months, Mark Sutton,                                                                                     The work will be completed early next
                                                    Port Augusta, SA 5700. Mark Sutton can be
formerly the Trust’s                                                                                   calendar year and will assist both the Trust
                                                    contacted on 8648 5171; Brenda Honan on
Community Development                                                                                  and the relevant community associations to
                                                    8648 5972 and Julie Warde on 8648 5970. The
Officer, has been formally                                                                             ensure that projects are not carried out on land
                                                    Trust Freecall number remains at 1800 640 542
appointed Manager.                                                                                     over which the tenure is inappropriate to the
                                                    and the facsimile number is 8648 5971.
   Trust Chairman Bill                                                                                 proposed land use.
                                                      The postal address for the Adelaide outpost is
McIntosh says that Trust members are very
pleased with the appointment, which was made
                                                    PO Box 8021, Station Arcade,SA 5000. Leith’s       Indigenous Land Use
                                                    phone number is 8204 8708 and the facsimile
from a particularly strong field of applicants
                                                    number is 8204 8734.
who had responded to job advertisements                                                                    The Trust continues its involvement with the
placed both within Government and externally.       Meeting on Town levy                               working party looking to develop a process that
   Mark has now been joined in the Trust’s new         Trust Chairman Bill McIntosh and new            will facilitate the development of Indigenous
Port Augusta premises at 4 Marryatt Street by:      Manager Mark Sutton were present at a general      Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) over outback
                • Julie Warde, who began            town meeting at Andamooka on Sunday,               township and settlement areas subject to native
                work in early August as the         August 8, attended by about 115 residents.         title claim.
                Business Support Officer who           The meeting, which had been called by               The working party, which is Chaired by the
                will assist Mark and be the         the Andamooka Progress and Opal Miners             Chair of the ILUA ‘main table’, Ian Dixon,
                first point of telephone contact    Association Inc. to discuss a community cost-      includes representation from the Trust, the
                for most people ringing into        sharing fee or levy, was chaired by the Member     National Native Title Tribunal, the ILUA team
                the Trust.                          for Giles, Lyn Breuer.                             from within the Attorney-General’s Department
                • Brenda Honan, who began              There were some objections to the principle     and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement.
                work this month as Finance          of a levy to assist with town maintenance and          It is planned that the first draft of a regional
                and     Executive      Assistant.   improvement but overall the meeting accepted       template ILUA to cover outback townships,
                Brenda will be responsible          that it was inevitable. The general consensus      and identify clauses that could be included
                for all financial inquiries and     from the meeting however was that it should be     with individual settlements, will be ready
                payments and will support and       a compulsory levy rather than a voluntary one      for consideration at the next working group
                arrange all Trust meetings,         so that all residents contribute.                  meeting later this month.
including the preparation of agendas and the
follow-up of outcomes.
   To complete the initial planned staffing         North East community interest in Bimbowrie
of the new office, the redesigned position of
Community Development Officer has now                 The Department of Environment and                   Regional Conservator for the Yorke/Mid
been called. Applications closed on September       Heritage (DEH) recently acquired the 730           North Region, Trevor Naismith, says that
10 and the selection process is under way.          sq km Bimbowrie pastoral lease in the              the new park will be included in DEH’s Mid
   This position requires some accounting           North East Pastoral District.                      North District and will be managed by District
skills and the successful applicant will be            Bimbowrie, which is home to a number            Ranger Ian Falkenberg.
responsible for, among other things, assisting      of threatened species, including the Yellow-          Future    management       directions   for
remote communities with accountability              footed Rock Wallaby, is the latest addition        Bimbowrie were outlined by senior DEH
issues and for the facilitation of community-       to South Australia’s reserve system and will       staff to a well-attended meeting of North East
based external funding bids. There has been         become the first park in the Olary Ranges.         community members at the Olary Hall in July.
considerable interest in the position and it has       The Minister for Environment and                A number of questions from the floor were
been advertised both locally and nationally.        Conservation, John Hill, says that DEH             addressed.
   To keep contact with project funding             plans to build upon the station’s long-term
sources, to facilitate necessary approvals and      involvement in the area – and the good               Don’t forget you can call the Trust
to assist with inter-agency submissions, the        relationships it had developed with its              on Freecall 1800 640 542 provided
Trust is maintaining an Adelaide presence           neighbours – to further a ‘landscape approach’      you live in the unincorporated areas.
within the Office of Local Government in            to restoring conservation values.

                            News from the Lake Eyre Basin
ARIDFLO – Key results summarised:
Eight ‘typical’ hydrological phases
    by Michael Good, Senior Environment
    Officer, Department of Water, Land and             2004 LEB Conference
            Biodiversity Conservation
                                                       in Alice Springs
  The Environmental flow requirements
                                                          The Biennial Lake Eyre Basin
for Australian arid zone rivers project (or
                                                       Conference will be held in October this
ARIDFLO for short) reached a milestone
                                                       year in Alice Springs.
in September 2004 with the completion of
the final scientific report.                              It will take place at the Crown Plaza Hotel
                                                       from 27 to 29 October and will follow the
   This is the first major report on the ecology of
                                                       first Lake Eyre Basin Indigenous Forum.
the Lake Eyre Basin Rivers, and is the result of
                                                       The conference themes will be ‘Working
four years’ hard work by a dedicated team. The
                                                       Together’ and ‘Sharing Knowledge’.
report will be officially launched later this year
at the Lake Eyre Basin Conference in October
at Alice Springs. In the meantime, copies will
be available to interested stakeholder groups.        but sometimes can congregate at larger refuge
   The report is a no lightweight piece of
work! It is more than 700 pages and deals             • Large regional flood
                                                         The big floods, as everyone knows, trigger       Top: Lily Lagoon waterhole disconnected after
with some complex analyses. Fortunately, the
                                                      remarkable changes. Successive floods are           flows cease
team has summarised the project’s new key
                                                      even more important when they are close             Above: The same lagoon during a sub-catch-
understandings around a series of generalised                                                             ment in-channel flow.
diagrams describing critical phases in flow           together as they provide further opportunity
                                                                                                                       Pictures courtesy Queensland Environmental
patterns of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers.               to utilise the abundance of food, and breeding                                            Protection Agency

   Besides the scientific report, the key project     habitats, increasing the likelihood of juveniles
results have been summarised in a community           surviving beyond youth. Adult fish and birds
report that is due out in the next month for          can also migrate with a greater chance of           impacts on the river ecology. Depending on
consultation.                                         survival.                                           what biota get trapped in each waterhole
                                                         Huge areas of floodplains get flooded, often     and the local conditions, the biota of each
   The project has identified eight ‘typical’
                                                      for long periods, and the rivers keep running       waterhole, over time, can become very
hydrological phases that have impacts on the
                                                      even longer. This means that there is time for      different. Natural changes of land and water
ecology of the Lake Eyre Basin rivers. The
                                                      all sorts of different aquatic life to breed, and   management can influence local conditions.
project was incredibly fortunate to have all
                                                      lag times in responses by different animals and     This interaction of conditions and events has a
eight river phases – from flooding through
                                                      plants can be seen. There are huge booms in         big role in determining the health and diversity
to drying out, occur during the time that we
                                                      everything – from algae to waterbirds.              of aquatic animals and plants across the Lake
were in the field. Some of the river phases
                                                         Because there is water covering the              Eyre Basin.
are obvious, such as large regional floods,
but others, like flows that do not break out          floodplains and channels the same types of          • Sub-catchment in-channel flows
of the banks, are not so obvious. But all have        animals tend to occur everywhere although              Small local flows can occur in just one
ecological impacts.                                   juvenile and adult fish will tend be in different   part of a catchment and these can be very
   The eight phases and some of the ‘typical’         areas. Fish larvae use the shallow floodplains      important. These ‘top-up’ flows can improve
ecological characteristics are:                       extensively, and large fish can migrate             water quality in waterholes and may reconnect
                                                      hundreds of kilometres.                             some waterholes allowing for localised
• Dry times prior to a flood
                                                         The downside is that sometimes the front         migration and breeding, which can increase the
   The rivers are reduced to a series of
                                                      floodwaters, known as ‘black water’ can be          likelihood of survival of local inhabitants until
disconnected waterholes of varying depths and
                                                      poor quality water and there are often fish         the next big flood.
water quality – sometimes not great places for
                                                      kills as fish are pushed beyond endurance after     • Regional flows (across a large
aquatic life but as good as it gets at this time
                                                      holding out through dry times.                        part of a catchment but mostly
(shallow waterholes can become more saline
with zooplankton and algae thriving, which            • Floodwaters receding                                in-channel)
attracts wading waterbirds). In fact the aquatic         Floodwaters recede off the floodplain               These flows are far more common than the
life of the Lake Eyre Basin relies on the more        and river flows slow. If the recession is fast,     major floods and provide most of the annual
permanent waterholes, which are isolated              waterbird breeding can be interrupted. Faster       water input to waterholes across the Basin.
refuges, to survive through to the next flood         recessions are more likely in the upper parts       If they occur in the year after a major flood
event.                                                of catchments. Even in the lower catchment          these allow for a big increase in food. Adults
   The larger of these refuge waterholes will         fish can get stranded as they migrate to get        can breed again and juveniles born in previous
contain the most fish species in these dry times.     to the few widely-spaced refuge waterholes.         floods successfully recruit, especially fish.
The smaller waterholes have the little fish like      Different types of algae take over.                 If conditions had been dry then these flows
gobies and hardyheads. The tiny bugs that are         • End of flows and disconnection                    allow for migration of biota and breeding and
fish food, survive by laying resistant eggs.            of waterholes                                     recolonisation of previously dry areas.
Waterbirds often leave the Lake Eyre Basin,             The disconnection of waterholes has big                                              Cont. next page

  Outback people and places

40 plus years of putting                            Recent finds focus geological attention
the theory of rangeland
                                                    on the Flinders Ranges
science into practice
(Cont. from back page)                               from Trevor Naismith, Regional Conservator,
                                                       Department for Environment and Heritage
Like his brother Andrew, Don can recall, as a         A recent decision to amend the
boy, the camels kept at Middleback and used         Geological Time Scale will focus
by the old Vermin Fence inspectors during           international attention on the Flinders
the periodic but lengthy fence inspections that     Ranges National Park.
began and ended at Middleback.                         For the first time in more than 120 years, the
   He has been Chair of the Dog Fence Board for     scale is to be amended to recognise a distinct
18 months now and is very enthusiastic about        segment of time that saw the emergence of
the difference the Local Dog Fence concept has      the first soft-bodied life forms on Earth. The
made to the fence and its maintenance.              Ediacaran period will recognise a 50 million
   “There is no question at all that the            year slice of Earth’s history from 600 million
changes and improvements to the Fence are           years to 542 million years ago.
outstanding,” he said. “When I first went along        The fossils of these early life forms were
it we used to mark hundreds of holes; now you       first discovered in 1948, in the Ediacaran
go along and only find a handful. It is all to do   Hills, west of Beltana, by the late Dr Reg
with the present structure and management.          Sprigg, noted geologist and founder of the
These changes were the best thing that ever         Arkaroola Sanctuary in the Northern Flinders
happened to the Fence”.                             Ranges.
                                                                                                        comes the declaration of an international
   What time he has now at Linden Park, in             Ediacaran fossils have since been located
                                                                                                        reference point that geologists worldwide can
between trips to Roopena and his Dog Fence          worldwide with some recent finds by Flinders
                                                                                                        use as the textbook example of the geology
responsibilities, is fully occupied. He and Penan   Ranges pastoralist Ross Fargher.
                                                                                                        that typifies the Ediacaran Period.
have seven grandchildren; Don still meets with         The proposal to amend the geological time
                                                                                                           The Global Stratotype Section Point (GSSP)
retired Apexians at a monthly luncheon; and         scale to recognise the Ediacaran Period has
                                                                                                        that has been selected is located just off the
he puts as much time he can into his hobby of       been championed by Dr Jim Gehling, Research
                                                                                                        Brachina Gorge Road in the Flinders Ranges
restoring old stationary oil engines.               Fellow with the SA Museum, over the past 15
                                                                                                        National Park. This outwardly unremarkable
   As a mechanic he is self-taught although he      years. The lengthy process has attracted some
                                                                                                        rock outcrop may ultimately be a focal point
thinks he got some of it from his grandfather,      opposition from Russian delegates on the
                                                                                                        for geological research and there is likely to be
who was a blacksmith. He would also, no             International Commission of Stratigraphy who
                                                                                                        a steady stream of national and international
doubt, have honed his mechanical skills fairly      argued for the use of the term Vendian, as an
                                                                                                        geologists visiting the Flinders eager to learn
well during the 40-odd years he kept the plant      alternative to Ediacaran.
                                                                                                        more about the Ediacaran.
working at Middleback and Roopena.                     With the ratification of the Ediacaran Period,
                                                                                                           There is an extensive international
                                                                                                        blackmarket trade in fossils and Ediacaran
                                                                                                        fossils are no exception. Pastoralists are
Eight ‘typical’ hydrological phases                                                                     advised to be wary of any undue interest in
                                                                                                        fossil deposits on pastoral properties. It would
(Cont. from previous page)                                                                              be a tragedy if more of Australia’s fossil
                                                                                                        heritage is lost to overseas collectors.
   The reconnection of waterholes across a          lost. The biota, particularly fish and some
large area means that most fish species tend        bugs, are totally reliant on the persistence of
to occur across all habitats, although gobies       a few large refuge waterholes. This is even
and gudgeons tend to prefer billabongs or           more pronounced in the lower reaches, as there      Dick Smith opens art
backwaters, and Cooper catfish remain in deep       are fewer waterholes, they are further apart
refuge waterholes.                                  and they rely on flows from upstream. The           exhibition
• Localised flows (in small reaches                 waterholes can also become too saline and low         The 13 artists who form the ‘Painters of the
  caused by localised rainfall)                     in oxygen for some species to survive.              Flinders Ranges’ group are holding their third
   These are very localised flows typically            These eight natural stages of river flow         major art exhibition in the Wilpena Woolshed
caused by thunderstorms. These are more             patterns show the importance of understanding       until October 10.
important in areas where mesas, breakaways or       the ‘big picture’ in the ecology of rivers.           The exhibition was opened on Saturday
‘jump-up’ country produce a lot of runoff for          The project has shown that there are various,    September 18 by adventurer, philanthropist and
a small amount of rainfall. These flows can be      and intricate ecological processes at work          1986 Australian of the Year Dick Smith.
important ecologically because they extend the      across different times and scales, from the
time that waterholes retain water and because       individual waterhole right up to the catchment
of this they can prevent local extinction of        scale.                                                          Don’t forget:
biota, especially fish.                                No river, waterhole or reliant aquatic                  the freecall number to
• Extreme drought                                   animals and plants can expect the same suite             the Pastoral Board office
  These are times that the aquatic biota of the     of conditions from year to year in this highly                is 1800 678 447
Basin is at greatest stress and at risk of being    variable river system.

  Outback people and places


40-plus years of putting the theory
of rangeland science into practice
                By Leith Yelland                       Donald Andrew Nicolson was born in
  When Don Nicolson and his wife Penan              December 1930 at Port Augusta, the second
moved south to suburban Linden Park six             of four children and the older of the two boys
years ago it marked for Don the partial end         in the family. Although his mother Gwendolyn
of 46 years of hands-on involvement with            was a school teacher (she is still alive at 102),
Roopena Station, north-west of Whyalla.             Donald, like his brother and sisters, took all
   Like his brother Andrew on adjoining             his primary schooling in Whyalla, boarding
Middleback, Don has been an early and               with the same family with which they had all
unwavering advocate of careful land                 stayed.
management of the arid rangelands – a trait            He did some secondary schooling at Whyalla
that was formally recognised in 1997 when           before being sent to board at Scotch College in     take a more concerned interest in the pastoral
he was invested with an OAM by the then             Adelaide for three years. From there he went        lands of SA. He recalls a motion he put at Port
State Governor Sir Eric Neal. Among other           to Roseworthy Agricultural College graduating       Augusta promoting research into the use and
things, the citation that accompanied the medal     in 1951. After graduation he returned to            maintenance of the arid zone that was met with
recognised the “examples of careful land            Middleback to begin his 46-year working             considerable hostility. But he persisted and two
management set over 40 years by the Nicolson        association with the station that had once been     years later the motion was passed in Adelaide.
family properties”.                                 called ‘Part Pandurra’ but had been referred to
                                                                                                           One of the outcomes of this motion was that
   The award also recognised Don’s long             as Roopena from the time Don’s grandfather
                                                                                                        the then Department of Agriculture appointed
contributions to a number of grazing industry,      purchased it from the Mortlock family in 1919.
                                                                                                        two rangelands officers – Brendan Lay (who
community service and education groups. It                                                              still works with the Pastoral Program today)
instanced his ...                                                                                       and Martin Willcox.
- charter membership and Federal and State
   Presidency of the Isolated Children’s Parents’             “The in the days
                                                                    agitation                              Don, who is still a member of the Rangelands
                                                                                                        Society, recalls that the early meetings of the
   Association;                                                                                         Society used to occur every three months
- 28-year Chairmanship of the Whyalla                       of the Stockowners’                         to coincide with those of the Stockowners’
   National Trust branch;
- then-membership of the State Dog Fence
                                                               Association.          ”                  Association. “We used to get a good roll-up of
                                                                                                        between 20 and 25 people including a few young
   Board; and                                                                                           scientists and members of the Pastoral Board”.
- charter membership of the Whyalla Apex               In 1954 Don married Penan Buchanan whose
                                                                                                           He was succeeded as Branch President
   Club.                                            great grandfather Alexander Buchanan helped
                                                                                                        by the then Chairman of the Pastoral Board
   These activities however never overshadowed      establish Anlaby Station at Kapunda for the
                                                                                                        Jim Vickery and it was during Jim Vickery’s
Don’s interest in the emerging sciences of          Dutton family and in 1839 overlanded the first
                                                                                                        incumbency in 1984 that Adelaide hosted the
rangeland management and the practical              mob of sheep into South Australia along the
                                                                                                        second International Rangelands Congress.
adaption of sheep husbandry, subdivision and        Murray Valley from Yass, NSW.
                                                                                                           Don’s active interest in the Isolated
water placement options that would put these           Don and Penan went to live at Roopena in a
                                                                                                        Children’s Parents’ Association began in 1970
sciences into practice.                             new homestead there. They had three children
                                                                                                        when he and Penan attended their first public
   This interest complemented the pipe-laying       – Penelope who now lives at Kalangadoo in
                                                                                                        meeting at Bourke, NSW. But they had already
and subdivision work begun at Roopena in the        the South East; Lachlan, who has taken over
                                                                                                        faced the issues that motivated the Association.
early 1920s by Don’s grandfather GA Nicolson        the hands-on management at Roopena; and
                                                                                                        Penan had helped their three children with
and continued by Don’s father Andrew and his        Alexandra, who lives in Melbourne.
                                                                                                        correspondence and School of the Air lessons
uncles George and Jack. The interest was also          When the Nicolson family partnership, which      for 10 years. Don went on to become State and
to lead later to his involvement with his brother   had also involved Tregalana and Nonowie, was        Federal President and is now a life member of
Andrew and Dr Bob Lange in the establishment        dissolved in 1971, Don and his brother Andrew       an organisation that he describes as … “still
of the University of Adelaide’s Arid Land Field     took over Roopena and Middleback. Later they        one of the most successful lobby organisations
Centre at Middleback.                               purchased the adjoining Katunga Station in          in Australia”.
   Don was a foundation member and first            1986.
                                                                                                           His formal involvement with the State’s
President of the South Australian Rangelands           Don’s founding involvement with the              Dog Fence Board dates from 1990 when he
Society in the late 1970s and early 1980s at a      fledgling Rangelands Society Branch in              replaced the late HJ (Jacko) Spiers as one of
time when the original membership comprised         SA stemmed from his membership of the               the SA Farmer’s Federation’s nominations on
mainly members of the pastoral fraternity           Stockowners’ Association of SA, the industry        the Board.
– people like the late Reg McDonald, Don            body that preceded first the United Farmers and
                                                                                                           But it is certain that his interest in the Dog
and his brother Andrew, Lester Lord, Malcolm        Stockowners of SA and later the SA Farmers
                                                                                                        Fence, and the old Vermin Fenced Districts
McTaggart, Garnham Skipper, Keith Treloar,          Federation.
                                                                                                        that preceded it, was sparked a good while ago.
Michael McBride and Andrew Brown, who                  In the 1970s he began agitating at
was the first Secretary.                            Stockowners’ meetings for the Association to                                         Cont. page 11