Special Collections at Murdoch University

Special Collections at Murdoch University

Our Special Collections are home to thousands of culturally significant, unique and hard to find items.
These collections offer a rich resource for staff and students and enable the research and teaching goals of the university.

Blots on the landscape

Rothwell, N. (1998) Blots on the landscape. The Australian Magazine, 21 March 1998. pp. 13-21 [Publication] [Special Collections]


Magazine article by Nicolas Rothwell.

Nicholas Rothwell's journey across the most salinity-affected lands in Australia. This article covers his conversations with various people from the farming, agriculture and environmental science communities in areas of disastrous salinity.

Mr Rothwell explores the causes of rapid salinity increase in Australia; farming techniques, rising water table and introduction of foreign chemicals are some of the major causes of soil degradation. He considers social and economic issues of land conservation at many levels, such as land owners refusing to admit to a salinity problem for fear of driving down land value.

All of the people Mr Rothwell writes about express their anguish that the problem is well documented, however there is little support from much needed financial backers and political figures. Angus Howell, a landcare pioneer, presents the problem as a moral one: the problem and its cause are known, but often ignored.

Acknowledgement is made that this problem has only been occurring since the introduction of European agriculture. A key aspect of most desalination strategies is to replenish much of the native vegetation removed by colonial farming. The landcare workers who adopt these strategies were the most hopeful about a return to balance with the land.

This article contains the following photographs: Swan Hill landscape by Reg Morrison/Auscape, Western Australia Wheatbelt by Jiri Lochman, Lake Innes by Wayne Lawler/Auscape, Lake Eyre by Owen Wilson/Austral, Mildura by Jean-Marc La Roque/Auscape, Salt Lake by Jean-Paul Ferrero/Auscape, Western Australian Wheatbelt Salinity and Lot’s Wife by Willem van Aken.

This article contains a diagram of CSIRO salinity data in the Blackwood and Franklin-Gordon catchment (Western Australia) and a table compiling salinity statistics from Landcare and government sources.

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to provide a public view of this magazine article as the copyright is held by the publisher of The Australian Magazine.

If you would like to obtain a copy of this magazine article for research purposes please ‘request a copy'.

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

Item Type: Special Collections
Collection: WISALTS Collection
Copyright: ©1998 The Australian
Notes: 1 newspaper clipping
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/55086
Item Control Page Item Control Page