Our Strength during the Drought Photo Exhibition
The contribution from this project will provide community and individuals with a mechanism for capturing and sharing images that relate to resilience, wellbeing and capacity building. This project also hopes to illuminate the importance of community cultural development in strengthening community resilience in the face of drought or other crisis events.
We welcome your comments or thoughts on the images. To comment on any of the images, please go to the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ourstrengthduringthedrought/.
The truth about this drought is it is cruel. It slowly creeps and keeps creeping. It affects every part of the lives of those who are experiencing it and makes the day to day running of a rural property stressful and financially taxing.
The Landscape changes so much that it become unrecognisable. Cracks in the ground, no vegetation and dry creeks make it look like a moon scape. Despite this there are still native animals and plants desperately trying to breed another generation to survive.
Watching animals that you love and value suffer leaves you feeling helpless. Years of generic breeding are lost and animals both native and domestic suffer. You have to find a way to turn off your brain to see only the good things that are left.
Everyone knows how hard it is for those who live on the land but there are the forgotten people of rural towns who have an interest in the rural lifestyle. They often depend on the land for work and during droughts like this one the work is also another thing that dries up. People in towns also own livestock. The town common gets closed, animals have to be sold or shot because there is nowhere for them to go. Hand feeding becomes a necessity to keep family pets alive even though it costs more than they are worth.
The resilience required by everyone is never ending.
Owning a business in town, I feel like I am slightly removed from the direct consequences of the drought although I do see the flow on effect through the town. I recently photographed a wedding on a local property just outside of town and was struck by the stark difference between vegetation in town and outside of town. Inspired by the newlyweds, I decided to explore the theme that Life and Love still exist and find a way despite environmental effects. The first image I have submitted is “Life in the cracks of Drought” – A single plant managing to grow in a field of dry, cracked mud. My second image “Looking for food” - A line of sheep wandering across the paddock searching for anything to eat. My last image “Love finds a way” - Life still goes on in spite of the ongoing drought and hardship experienced by people living on the land. As a business owner, I understand too well that businesses have ups and downs, but when I see property owners going through such a prolonged down period, it really brings into focus their struggle.
DROUGHT: A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.
This drought! When will it ever end?
Having grown up on a mixed farm in Central West NSW drought is not new to me. The drought of 1973 comes to mind with our property being a complete dustbowl. Switch to Barcaldine in 2018 and it is not much different from my childhood experience. The difference is I do not live on the land anymore.
How heartbreaking it is to see the evidence of this prolonged terrible drought. Many graziers have not been able to recover from the previous drought before this one set in.
The drought does not only effect the livestock and graziers but it also has an adverse effect on our native flora & fauna. Loss of habitat leads to a loss of our precious natives.
The sadness and despair I feel when I see dead or starving stock despite the best efforts of their owners. How must the graziers feel?
The sight of empty waterways and loss of natives in my favourite bird watching spot brings sadness to myself and others.
How wonderful to find an awesome tree in town with long grass and fifty or so kangaroos finding food.
The images that I have selected represent a range of perspectives of the current drought. I did not want the images to be depressing, but when you go into the bush and see the devastation it is hard not to include these images.
1. This young joey was left behind by its mother. Hopefully she will return.
2. The beef industry is one of our major industries. The cattle are feeding on molasses to supplement their diet and to keep them alive.
3. I included the photo of a stand of gidyea trees because it always reminds me of rain due to the smell of gidyea when rain is in the air.
4. The bottles are at the site of the 1891 shearers’ strike camp. White man has been living in this area for over 120 years and would have seen many droughts over this period and still survived and prospered.
5-7. Despite the drought, local shows, like the Landsborough Flock Ewe Show in Muttaburra, continue as a celebration of our local industries (sheep and cattle) and to provide relief for local residents.
These images represent the highs and lows experienced by all concerned in drought conditions. The hope that rises with wisps of cloud, the despair felt from watching a baby Lamb cry out to a tree and a native bird calling from a drying waterhole. In a way the use of the camera and photos I took, were an outlet that I used every day to cope emotionally/mentally and physically with the pressures that come with a long dry period.
We welcome your comments and thoughts on the images. To comment on any of the images, please go to the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ourstrengthduringthedrought/.
Thank you to all the volunteer photographers of the project.