AUSTRALIAN DROUGHT: HOLDING OUT!

 

WHAT $upport are they getting from the Scomo Government to keep their properties at Bay?  Safe from the foreign clutches?

One of the worst droughts in living memory has been captured in a series of images that will stop you in your tracks.

Epping Farm near Pilliga, NSW, November 2018. Picture: Adam Ferguson
Epping Farm near Pilliga, NSW, November 2018. Picture: Adam Ferguson

 

Jan and Jack Slack-Smith’s 3300ha property in the Pilliga, northern NSW, has been gripped by drought for years now.

They divested nearly all their cattle in 2013 and have halved their sheep numbers to 3200 to relieve some of the pressure. Here, the hungry sheep are tucking into feed that’s been bought in — at considerable expense — and poured onto long mats.

Jack Slack-Smith. Picture: Adam Ferguson
Jack Slack-Smith. Picture: Adam Ferguson

 

“We’re always hoping,” says Jack Slack-Smith, a fifth-generation farmer on this land. “We tune in to the weather forecast first thing in the morning, a couple of times during the day, and last thing at night.”

When photographer Adam Ferguson visited late last year, the 65-year-old described it as the most severe drought of his lifetime. Since then, he says, “things have gone from bad to worse. We’ve had only 11.5mm of rain all year.”

Playtime in the Pilliga. Picture: Adam Ferguson
Playtime in the Pilliga. Picture: Adam Ferguson

 

Kids from local farming families play at the annual Christmas get-together in Come By Chance, a small community in the Pilliga region of NSW.

Looking for shade. Picture: Christian Fletcher
Looking for shade. Picture: Christian Fletcher

 

The mercury was nudging 48ºC near Renmark, South Australia, in mid-January when photographer Christian Fletcher spotted this mob of emus heading for the only bit of shade in an enormous paddock. “I was worried that the drone might spook them but they weren’t fazed by it at all,” he says. “I think they were so bloody hot, they didn’t give a damn.”

Dogga Dare, White Cliffs, NSW. Picture: Adam Ferguson
Dogga Dare, White Cliffs, NSW. Picture: Adam Ferguson

 

“Only the goats are thriving,” says Dogga Dare, a Queenslander who last year managed the pub (and stood in as Santa at Christmas) in White Cliffs, NSW. He saw starving ’roos roaming through town, trees dying en masse, local farmers spending all their money on trucking in feed. “You couldn’t meet nicer people,” Dare says, “but jeez they’re doing it tough.”

The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize exhibition opens at Sydney’s Juniper Hall, Paddington on May 4. moranprizes.com.au

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SOURCE:  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/weekend-australian-magazine/moran-contemporary-photographic-prize/news-story/2f888019e1da8e2ed5db6daddf068bd6?fbclid=IwAR1F8_bKiauzTtfmpF_JT5bVjgAD0S21umknPTQDKfCgzwdk-2Frsfnc0dg#story-comments

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