Eastern Australia is currently in the grip of a crippling drought. All of New South Wales has been declared as drought stricken and much of Queensland. This year as we trekked northwards the roadkill on the highways was the worst we’ve ever encountered. Native kangaroos and emus and feral goats feed on the wild grasses of the roadsides when the paddocks have been stripped of vegetation. And stripped is not an exaggeration as paddocks are little but red dust. The only ones getting fat out here are the eagles and hawks and kites, cleaning up the carnage.
As we returned south we passed truck after truck laden with hay and heading north to aid those in need. Hay from the presently greener southern states, Victoria and Tasmania.
Dorothea Mackellar summed this country up beautifully in her poem My Country, where in verse after verse she penned the heartbreak and the joy of this country’s dramatic climate:
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.