on the Goyder Highway

Since the stops to take photos would be few and far between due to time constraints, I  choose to sit in the  back of the LandRover Discovery  on the Mildura to Pimba leg of our  road trip to Lajamanu. It was going to be traveling all day with an occasional stop. I  sat in the back so I could take snaps of the landscape through the window.

The picture below is of  pastoral/grazing  country  on   the Goyder Highway in South Australia,  on route to Port Augusta. This  highway   is an east-west link through the Mid-North region of South Australia, and this is the landscape  between the River Murray at Morgan and  Burra in the mid-north of South Australia.

It is  sparse,  saltbush country with a few small trees. It  looked  strange and   I wondered what would  it have looked prior to grazing? Would there have been more trees?  Probably a mallee woodland.

Landscape, Goyder Highway
Landscape, Goyder Highway

This landscape  is north of an imaginary line that separates the land in South Australia that receives 300 mm or more rainfall per year from the land that receives less than 300 mm per year. The imaginary line  is named after George Goyder, a government surveyor who first identified and mapped Goyder’s Line.

This line   indicates the northern limit of climatic suitability for intensive agriculture in South Australia. North of Goyder’s Line, annual rainfall is usually too low to support reliable  cropping, with the land  only being  suitable for grazing.

The landscape between Burra and Crystal Brook on the Goyder Highway  is cropping country–mostly wheat. Agriculture is possible north of the Goyder  line near the Murray River, only because of irrigation using water extracted  from the river. The current “warming, drying trend” of South Australia’s climate due to climate change would put a downward shift on Goyder’s Line towards the south.

Sony NEX-7
trees, Goyder Highway, SA

I saw fragments of the landscape through the LandRover’s window. Looking at the landscape through a window  of a vehicle is how we usually view the landscape these days. We do not walk the country. We race through it to a destination. So we are left with impressions.

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