Keeping a weather eye
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.