Talk but no action at Toompine

South west left wanting by empty storm front


The Big Dry
Shearers and graziers alike were filled with hope on Tuesday afternoon when the storm clouds rolled over at Possamunga, Toompine, but little rain fell from them. Photo - Tanya King.

Shearers and graziers alike were filled with hope on Tuesday afternoon when the storm clouds rolled over at Possamunga, Toompine, but little rain fell from them. Photo - Tanya King.

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The skies darkened with promise in south west Queensland earlier this week but the present was not as rewarding.

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The skies darkened with promise in south west Queensland earlier this week but the present was not as rewarding.

Longreach’s Tanya King, wool handling with Joel Selmes and his shearing team of 14 at Possamunga Station near Toompine, relaxed after dinner on Tuesday night with the sound of rain on the roof but it unfortunately didn’t last long.

“I worked down here with Joel at the beginning of the year, up to May, and nothing’s changed,” Tanya said.

“The ground is so dry here and all around.

“The clouds were so black this afternoon but it all dissipated.

“To look at people’s faces is heartbreaking, but they are surviving with a lot of help from each other.”

Related: Don’t forget that other farmers are battling

Mulga dying

Quilpie grazier, Stephen Tully, another of those with no rain to speak of out of the active trough line connected with a system in South Australia, said that things were so grim in his part of the world that stands of mulga were dying.

“It’s probably the biggest death I’ve seen – it’s little stuff but some of the big stuff too,” he said. “There’s not been a drop since March, the sub-soil is just too dry.”

Speaking on Friday morning as he surveyed one of the dustiest hazes he’d experienced in his time at Bunginderry, which drifted in from South Australia on Thursday night, Stephen said 75mm of rain three weeks ago had saved some of the mulga and brought fresh leaf but this week’s event had brought only isolated storms that hadn’t helped at all.

“I think 10 to 12mm was forecast and there might have been storms up Adavale way, but they were all very narrow.”

From his perspective, it was a case of taking each day as it comes, but he said things were extremely quiet in town, even in the lead-up to Christmas, save for exclusion fencing projects being undertaken thanks to the $1m federal drought funding injection.

Meanwhile, Joel, who’s based at Thargomindah, and his team that includes 68-year-old Ron Steedman, originally from Winton and now at St George, have 6000 head to shear at Possamunga before they knock off for Christmas.

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