Stuart Simms, farmer and cropping contractor, talks to Pat Gillingham about the impacts of past and current drought and climate change in northern Victoria.
Further InformationTRANSCRIPT OF DROUGHT STORIES INTERVIEW EXCERPT 12
Stuart Simms: Well I was born in 1941, and I can just remember the blackouts that we used to have, and I can remember getting caught down the paddock, and you have this blackouts, and the sand stinging your legs, and not being able to see, and it was quite traumatic, really. And of course being a kid it didn’t really affected me, I mean I wasn’t in the managerial capacity then, it didn’t matter to me (cough, excuse me).
And then of course we got into the ‘60s, ’56 of course, was the greatest flood that we’ve seen, probably, down the Murray Darling Basin, and the ‘70s and ‘80s were such wet years, and the worry then, in those days, was trying to get your crop in, without getting another downpour, and not being able to get onto your paddock for months; ‘course there was no sprays in those days, and you had to try and work your paddocks, then, for weeds and so forth, so that was the ‘70s and ‘80s,
’82 was a bad drought, but it, and they were only a single drought, and you had enough (cough) oh, carry-over hay, even seed on the ground, and all these sort of things, to carry you over a one, oh a one year drought or like that, or one or two years.
This drought is different, it’s been going on, what, 12 years now, and even though we’ve had one or two reasonable years in amongst it, it’s been so prolonged, it’s the drain on the finances, of the farmer, and particularly up this area,
I, I’m starting to be fearful now that we’re losing the seed-bank, that we haven’t got the seed in the ground, if we get good years now we’re not going to get the prolific growth, or the density of growth, that we have in other years, because I feel that we’re losing the seed-bank, and we’re going to have areas of flat, plain ground with very sparse grasses on it, simply because we’re, there’s the prolonged drought, with losing the seed bank.
Oh climate change, I see somewhere there you were talking about climate change, I’m not real convinced of climate change, I think it’s cyclic, the Avoca marshes, I remember, me old dad telling me that he can remember the Avoca marshes being dry for 13 years, they’ve only been dry 12, so far, so we’ve seen as, drought like this, in the last 100 years.
Copyright held by the 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 the Kerang and District Family History Group and the State Library of Victoria.
Drought Stories interview excerpt 12: Stuart Simms talks about drought and climate change in northern Victoria,
Pat Gillingham, interviewer, MP3 file, 2 mins:12 secs, 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 Kerang and Family History Group