Friday, October 7, 2011

Northern Myths?

Browsing further through Harry Clarke's blog I see he has also previously commented on the preliminary Coalition plans for dams and agriculture in Northern Australia: Northern food bowl myths.

When the Coalition announced this week their proposal to double food production in Northern Australia by means of a set of dams my mind wandered to thoughts of the great Bruce Davidson and his monumental study, The Northern Myth, that was written more than 40 years ago. I read it in my final years at high school.  Davidson set out all the reasons why such utopian schemes as that proposed by the Coalition were likely to fail and accurately predicted the problems of the Ord River scheme – poor soils and lack of decent dam sites being significant issues.

I hadn't previously heard of 'The Northern Myth', which was written back in 1965, but a search shows there is a copy in the City Library, which I will put on hold as the library is currently closed for renovations. Loose Change has previously posted on this as well as the presentation from Bill Cummings on agricultural opportunities.

There is also an interesting link to this Crikey blog reviewing 'The Northern Myth' with an endearing quote from Matthew Flinders: 
“…a poor dried up land afflicted by fever and flies and fit only for a college of monks whose religious zeal might cope with the suffocating heat and musketos which admitted no moment of repose.”
Oh dear, one would hope that didn't specifically refer to our own tropical paradise??

1 comment:

  1. That does sound like an interesting book. I'll try to find a copy down here and have a read. It's interesting the proponents are suggesting there would be full cost recovery, which isn't currently happening with the Burdekin scheme and I doubt would occur in any new schemes given the pressure to make them attractive to irrrigators.