Keep­ing a weather eye

Townsville Bulletin - - NQ Life -

DES Barr, a fas­tid­i­ous weather-watcher, be­lieves the big pic­ture of Aus­tralia’s cli­mate is still an un­known.

‘‘ It is such a young coun­try that we must ex­pect greater ex­tremes of both wet and dry years are yet to be ex­pe­ri­enced,’’ he said.

‘‘ That is why I and many other ex­pe­ri­enced in­di­vid­u­als think that pre­dic­tions based on those 150 years of records are com­pletely fool­ish and very likely to be wrong.’’

Mr Barr, 74, a re­tired gra­zier, of Ru­pertswood, re­ceived a highly com­mended in last year’s Queens­land Fam­ily His­tory book awards for The Land of Ex­tremes, his mem­oir on the snakes and lad­ders game of graz­ing in west­ern Queens­land.

The book re­counts his life at Waver­ley, from 1957 to 1986, through two droughts, the winds of Cy­clone Ted in 1976, some boun­ti­ful wet years and the demise of wool.

Freak storms twice un­roofed his homestead, in De­cem­ber 1965 and in De­cem­ber 1970.

Each time neigh­bours helped him and his fam­ily pick up the pieces.

The book is a chron­i­cle of graz­ing in the Lands­bor­ough River district, as well as a colour­ful fam­ily his­tory.

It gives a grass­roots view of sus­tain­abil­ity, the Holy Grail of en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists which Mr Barr prefers to call re­spect for the land.

‘‘ Suc­cess has made us lazy in this wide brown lucky land,’’ he writes in a poem, In Just Two

Hun­dred Years, in­cluded in his book.

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