Special Collections at Murdoch University

Special Collections at Murdoch University

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Property of HS (Harry) Whittington, 'Springhill', Brookton, Western Australia, Australia - 109

Property of HS (Harry) Whittington, 'Springhill', Brookton, Western Australia, Australia - 109. [Photograph] [Special Collections]

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Aerial photo of the 'once fertile valley' in front of the 'homestead' on Avon Location 4534. In the early 1930's the first sign of the approaching 'land degradation problem' appeared. Just a small area of waterlogged soil. The position would have been just off the bottom of this photo, near the fence along the road to Len, Shirley and Graham Mattingly's. The area gradually spread towards the Boyagarra Road and the Government Fresh Water Reserve no. 9326.

If Springhill was to survive as a viable property it was essential that production be increased while input costs be minimized. The area with the greatest potential was to the north west of Avon Location 4534. Hence all the time and money was directed to revitalizing that area. There were mistakes - a lot of learning was gained from the mistakes. With success, confidence was raised.

It was not until 1962 when work on the southern side of Boyagarra Road was first contemplated. The area that was shedding the water onto Avon Location 4534. Things never have been really easy in agriculture - there was a National Credit Squeeze. Some work did commence in 1962.

Regrettably there are no aerial or any other record of the area in the 1940's or 1950's showing the extent of the 'land degradation problem' that occurred on Avon Location 4534.

Between 1962 and 1978 the problem was controlled and reversed. The area of 'bad land' that still existed in 1978 would be approximately equal to that of the late 1940's.

This photo clearly defines the 'dead areas', 'barriers' and 'static water zone'.

Further banks constructed on the 'barriers' would give some assistance to the reclamation programme.

There is no known cultivation practice that will assist with the reclamation of the 'dead soil' (that area the subsoil structures have collapsed under waterlogged conditions). The most beneficial assistance that can be given to this area is to spread hay and other organic material on the bare areas and let stock graze over the area, breaking down the organic fibres and partly breaking the thin surface of the soil.

This image is part of the WISALTS (Whittington Interceptor Sustainable Agriculture Land Treatment Society Incorporated) Collection.

Date: 1978
Item Type: Special Collections
Collection: WISALTS Collection
Notes: 1 photograph : b&w ; 20 x 25 cm
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/49929
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