Month: November 2021

The unsung and all-but-forgotten exploits of stockman Donald Campbell Atkinson

Donald Campbell Atkinson was a brilliant and expert horseman who learnt his craft on Surrey Hills during the twentieth century while grazing 2,000 head of cattle. Fortunately, his son, Lindsay, wrote a couple of unpublished memoirs which beautifully capture some of Donald’s accomplishments and amazing adventures. The first, written in 1994, was titled “A few …

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A lost opportunity or a wise decision – the plans for a smelter on Surrey (or Hampshire) Hills

After European settlement, Surrey and Hampshire Hills were utilised for grazing and farming under the ownership of the Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL Co.). The only significant industrial development on those estates was the construction of the Emu Bay Railway. After ownership changed hands to companies associated with Associated Pulp and Paper Mills (APPM), the …

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Should we cull crocodiles?

Crocodiles are ancient reptiles with their ancestors around before the age of the dinosaurs. What makes them so durable is they are perfectly adapted to their environment. The estuarine or saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is most likely encountered in tidal rivers and estuaries, billabongs, and floodplains. However, they can also be found in the open …

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Ships of the desert

“I don’t like them [camels]…but from my point of view I reckon they were the best animals that ever looked through a collar”. Camaleer ‘Stockwhip Jim’ Clarke Australia’s outback covers more than six million square kilometres or almost twice the size of India. As the coastal areas were first settled in Australia, questions remained about …

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A tale of two grasses

How buffel grass changed the dead heart of Australia When you enter the Northern Territory from South Australia the landscape changes immediately from mulga scrub to more open savannah woodland dominated by the introduced buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris).  Buffel grass is a deep-rooted perennial native to Africa, the Middle East and India. This makes it …

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