Celebrating the Bush regeneration work of Albert Morris

land with stones and plant
September 5, 2017 Blog, September

Guests who have been visiting Broken Hill for the Ecological Restoration field trip stated how impressed they have been with the event and experiences present in Broken Hill.

This is a response we often get from people coming to Broken Hill, they are surprised by how much there is to see and do in Broken Hill and the surrounds areas.

The event has been organised to honour the work of early settlers in Broken Hill. Albert Morris & Dr MacGillivray were the creators of what was then called the Barrier Field Naturalist club, an organisation that was determined to restore and conserve the eroded landscapes of far western NSW. ‘In answer to advertisement a successful meeting was held at the Technical College (last night), and “The Barrier Field Naturalist Club” was formed, with the object of studying nature in several branches”.

Drifting red sand & dust storms

Drifting sand, dust storms and extensive erosion are features present in outback regions of Australia. By c1910 the local landscape consisted of large expanses of bare soil or, following rain, a sparse cover of grasses and forbs that was rapidly eaten by feral pests and stock. Sand dunes threatened and overwhelmed homes. Suffocating dust storms blew in from the degraded countryside to the west of Broken Hill.

Broken Hill’s regeneration area was the first large-scale land restoration project in the world.

The Ecological Restoration field trip was organised to honour the visionary who designed it, Albert Morris, with a retrospective award named in his honour which is to be presented every year to encourage ecological restoration throughout the nation.

What is bush regeneration?

Bush Regeneration is the rehabilitation of bush from a weed affected or otherwise degraded area to a healthier community of native plants and animals. It has also been defined as “The practice of restoring bushland by reinstating and reinforcing the systems’ natural regeneration processes”

Imagining how it would have been living in the Far West NSW

With the Lodge Outback Motel located in the original residence of Dr MacGillivray we often try and imagine how it was living here. If only the walls could speak I am sure we would have some interesting stories to tell.

Visitors to Broken Hill are taken aback by the distance they have to travel; they speak of how travelling the distance gives them a sense of the remoteness and a real feel of the isolation. Broken Hill is very much in the middle of nowhere.

Imagine in the early days when they had to travel by horse carriages with no shock absorbers or air conditioning. The amount of dust, flies and sore bums is a very painful thought.

The Australian Association of Bush Generators continuing the heritage

From chatting with the field trip guests I get a sense that they have gained an experience of what early settlers would have been through working in the fields of this remote area. Totalling this experience has also been how this devotedness is still present in Broken Hill, the local residents have in many ways been contributors to this event. An event that has given the participants a sense of the resilience present in outback regions of Australia.