Retired dairy farmer Ollie Jane talks to Pat Gillingham about how drought has affected salinity levels in the Kerang region and how water trade has, and will continue, to impact on communities in northern Victoria.
Further InformationTRANSCRIPT OF DROUGHT STORIES INTERVIEW EXCERPT 10
Ollie Jane: …that are, been salt affected, and you’ve got to remember that that salt affected area was caused by the irrigation, so by selling off the water off the poorer type soils, we find that those soils aren’t going to be salty, after a period of time, and we’re proving that now; at the moment I’ve got barley growing on ground that was declared D-class soils, and salty, and because of the drought, and the drying-out of the soil, the lowering of the water-tables, the plants can grow on it, but you need rainfall, so you’ve got to have that too, to make sure that, yes…
Pat Gillingham, (Interviewer): Mm. Yes, and some land will revert back to nature, too, which is good for it?
Ollie Jane: Yes, and but one of our problems is that there’s, water is being sold off good soils, and the A-class soils, and this has come about by economic events, whereas people get into some financial trouble, and then the only way out is that they can get a good price for their water, so I don’t have any personal experience of this but I presume that your bank manager looks at you and he says: “Oh, your only way out now is to sell some water”, and that will get them out of their financial trouble. So people that have overextended themself with credit, are selling water, but in the long term that’s going to be bad for the good soils, because they won’t be able to go irrigate them in the future, because I don’t think the water will come back to the area.
Pat Gillingham: And it’s not good for the community, is it?
Ollie Jane: Well, you see, well that’s the…
Pat Gillingham: Shire, rates, and all that sort of stuff.
Ollie Jane: Well yeah, that’s the next thing, is that this is going to have an effect, on everything within our community, and that, and that is, it extends from the supermarket, any of the shops, the schools, because you haven’t got, oh you’ve got less is, numbers, of population, you’ve got properties that have, had their water sold off them, the water has been sold, or the property has been sold, to a winery in, interstate, and they can’t transfer the water, permanently, but they can transfer it temporary, each year, to South Australia?
Pat Gillingham: Mm.
Ollie Jane: So a farm that was supporting a family, who were doing all these things going to supermarket, their children were going to school, they were playing sport, they were attending functions, that’s not happening, because we’ve got less and less people, and the water has been transferred away, from the area, and that’s crippling our structure, of our community.
Pat Gillingham: Yes, yes, yes, so it’s going to change in the future.
Ollie Jane: Mm.
Copyright held by the Kerang and District Family History Group and the State Library of Victoria. 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 Kerang and District Family History Group and the State Library of Victoria.
Drought Stories interview excerpt 10: Ollie Jane talks about salinty and the effects of water trade on farming in northern Victoria,
Pat Gillingham, interviewer,
MP3 file, 3 mins, 2009,
Collection of the Kerang and District Family History Group and the State Library of Victoria
Kerang & District Family History Group
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 State Library of Victoria and the Kerang and Family History Group.
Copyright held by the State Library of Victoria and the collection of the Kerang and Family History Group