Indonesia

A fable about land management in the tropics

This is a story to illustrate an instructive lesson on active land management. It involves animals including humans, plants and forces of nature.

My story is a call to arms to highlight that our land management issues are not straightforward and the solutions require the fortitude to go against elitist and misguided orthodoxy.

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50 years since a dream became a reality

The idea

Nestled deep in the Gradys Creek Valley on the southern side of the McPherson Range, which separates New South Wales from Queensland, lie several properties, a small school and a community hall. There is no communal area or village, but it is known as The Risk. The name came from the first settler who decided to take a risk to ride over the mountain. … Read more

The Waler – a remarkable horse and an Aussie legend

“By members of the Desert Mounted Corps and friends, to the gallant horses who carried them over the Sinai Desert into Palestine, 1915-19. They suffered wounds, thirst, hunger and weariness almost beyond endurance, but they never failed. They did not come home”. 

Inscription on a monument erected by returned soldiers in Sydney

As we stop tomorrow to remember those who fought in wars but didn’t return home, I thought I would share an Australian story about a unique horse breed in Australia.… Read more

Z Special Unit Part 2 – Operation Rimau: the tragic sequel to Jaywick

While Operation Jaywick in its simplicity was a resounding success; Operation Rimau in its sophistication was an abysmal failure.

Brian Smith

Introduction

In just a few months, the Japanese managed to dismantle an empire in South East Asia the Europeans took centuries to build. The attack on Pearl Harbour in early December 1941 was preceded by the Japanese invasion of the Malay Peninsula, an hour before.… Read more

Training for bombing raids that never came

In September 1939, at the start of World War II, Japan was embroiled in its invasion of China, and Australia committed its troops overseas to help Britain. By early 1941, Australia had sent three infantry divisions and substantial air and naval resources to the Mediterranean and European theatres. Thus, in December 1941, when Japan entered the war against the Allies, much of Australia’s armed forces were heavily involved in campaigns far from home.… Read more

A unique ocean current

Introduction

I found the coastline of Western Australia so different to places at equal latitude on the east coast. There are rocky islands and ledges that protect the coast from the incoming swells, tropical fringing reefs and vast meadows of seagrass. There is a tropical feel to the waters so far south.… Read more

Squeezing yield from rain – the Wheatbelt story

Tho’ it ain’t a life o’ pleasure, An’ there’s little time for leisure, It’s contentin’, in a measure, is the game of growin’ Wheat.

C. J. Dennis ‘Wheat’ 1918

Introduction

The Wheatbelt region in southern Western Australia extends across a large area as a crescent and is one of the few major agricultural regions in the world viewed from space.… Read more

Even more war stories – how Australia came under attack from air raids during WWII

My previous war story blog provided details of the bombing of Darwin and the subsequent battles against the Japanese in the Coral Sea and Papua New Guinea.

After the bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942, the Japanese carried out further air-borne attacks across northern Australia. In total, between March 1942 and November 1943, the Japanese flew 64 bombing/strafing raids on Darwin alone and 33 bombing/strafing raids on other targets in Northern Australia.… Read more

Cattle kings – the rise and fall of pastoralism in the East Kimberley region

The East Kimberley is the land of blacks, Sacks [another prolific local clan thought to be Irish] and bloody Duracks“. Anon

If one were to paint this country in its true colours, I doubt it would be believed. It would be said at least that the artist exaggerated greatly, for never have I seen such richness and variety of hue as in these ranges and in the vivid flowers of this northern spring.”… Read more