Dairy Country – under threat from development

April 14, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Posted in Australia, Destroying nature, History, Nature, Society, Tourism, Travel, Ways of Living | 7 Comments
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I love the area in which I grew up – the Illawarra area of New South Wales, Australia. However there is less and less of it to love these days as housing and industrial developments reach out into the lush and productive dairy lands that were once among the best in the country.


We took a drive through the remaining pasturelands last week, while we were in the area visiting family (especially my 91-year-old father). The lush grasslands and areas of bush are beautiful.

The ocean in the distance

The ocean in the distance


We took quite a few photographs so that we can look back at them one day when the productive dairy country is covered in houses and industrial sheds.


The area lies between the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and the Pacific Ocean, visible in the distance.


Housing estates are growing around the towns to the north, south and east.

Houses encroach on the dairy lands.

Houses encroach on the dairy lands.

Dry-stone walls, a relic of the British heritage of the region, are seen less and less. But this one is proudly maintained.

Stone walls

Stone walls


A sense of humour is essential in this industry, where prices for milk are low, but the work to produce it is hard and long.

Rue de Moo Poo

Rue de Moo Poo

When Europeans first came to this district in the nineteenth century, cabbage tree palms were in abundance. They provided a vital source of food for the indigenous people. However, clearing of the land, heavy tractors, and the hard hooves of cattle, all of which pack down the soil and make seed growth almost impossible, have reduced their numbers considerably. Most farming areas are now bare of these palms, though they do grow in gullies and better soil parts of the mountainsides.

Cabbage tree palms

Cabbage tree palms

These days, it is not economically worthwhile to maintain many dairy farms to a level needed to keep them viable. The developer’s dollars become more and more attractive to families that have farmed for several generations.

A decaying farm

A decaying farm

I wonder just how much longer these farms will be able to remain, fighting against cheaper imports and low prices for milk at the farm gate. I know that we will be very upset by the loss of this beautiful and productive dairy country to the destructive dollars of the developers.



(c) Linda Visman April 2013

Photographs by Dirk Visman



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  1. Something profoundly sad about this Linda. Such a beautiful area. I suppose this is the big question we face – how do balance development, or what we tend to call development, with preservation of the landscape. I’m afraid we’re just not getting it right. Greed tends to reign, I feel. Lovely post thank you.

    • It is sad, Don. It hurts every time I see a new section graded and made ready for buildings. It seems that everyone wants to live in a beautiful area but, by doing so they destroy that very beauty. And that’s not even mentioning the productiveness that is lost. But what can we do? Nothing, it seems.

  2. I always think this kind of thing happens in my continent, where corrupt governance and greed means the environment takes a back seat to money. It will be very sad if this lovely area disappears forever.

    There are too many people living on our planet. For me that’s the beginning of all this destruction of our natural resources. What are we going to eat when we’ve covered the land with buildings?

    • You echo my sentiments there! It won’t be long until we are dependent on imports for our basic foods. And yet we have much country to use for producing our own food. Nowadays, it is not just housing and industrial development taking away our productive lands, but coal seam gas and coal mines that destroy so much of our grazing land.
      The coal seam gas technology has not been proven safe, and seems to actually threaten out artesian and other groundwater resources. This just to get a few years of high profits before returning land that is virtually useless. It makes me hopping mad!

  3. It is so depressing Linda. Thank you for posting those wonderful photos. It’s terrible to think that some of those beautiful vistas may be done!

  4. I need to to thank you for this very good read!

    ! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new
    stuff you post…

  5. It’s beautiful, and productive, countryside.

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