Bob McIlvena, retired water industry worker, primary producer and local historian, talks to Faye Smith about the impacts of the ongoing drought on him and farming generally in the Wimmera.
TRANSCRIPT OF DROUGHT STORIES INTERVIEW EXCERPT 1
Bob McIlvena: First I ran out of hay, and fodder. And then the water distribution failed, the channel system didn’t run, the dam was left empty, we haven’t had any irrigation, for years. All I have left now are some calves that I’ve held onto, because, trying to hold the strain, that’s all, the Santa strain.
There was a meeting not long back, and the irrigators, because of the years of frustration by having no water, and them adapting other means, to make a living for their families, have taken up other types of farmers, farm, farming. Most of them going to dry land farming, cropping. A lot of their fences have been taken down, that used to sub-divide the paddocks, the internal distribution channels have been filled in, check banks graded out. And to make things worse, of course, in February 2009 we had the devastating fire, swept through Haven, which was made worse by the lack of any greenness around the place. No channels running, and the dams all empty.
The irrigators have taken a vote now, to surrender their permits, and sell their water allocation. And they’re currently waiting for news, from the federal government, who have been approached with a proposal to purchase it perhaps to put that water back in the environment.
Copyright held by the Horsham Historical Society. This interview excerpt can only be used for research purposes and must not be reproduced, copied or published in any form without the permission of the Horsham Historical Society.
Drought Stories interview excerpt 1: Bob McIlvena talks about the ongoing drought in the Wimmera,
Faye Smith, interviewer,
MP3 file, 2 mins: 2 secs, 2009,
Collection of the Horsham Historical Society
Horsham Historical Society Inc
This interview excerpt can only be used for research purposes and must not be reproduced, copied or published in any form without the permission of the Horsham Historical Society.
Copyright held by the Horsham Historical Society.