'HERE COMES THE BALIFF' PART ONE
On June 3 1817 John Oxley was our first explorer to explore the Riverina, on arriving at Mt Brogen near the township of Yenda today, Oxley described our area a country of desolation, drought and bareness.
Here comes the bailiff, a true story of a returned solider between 1914 and 1918 and a city girl, Doris Cheesbrough who fell in love and married a man who loved the land.
The newly opened Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area where returned men established their own fruit farms.
Before irrigation there were sheep an cattle carcasses lying all over the place on account of the drought.
Many soldiers were disillusioned as they tried to make a living, the blocks were too small and many were more fortunate.
Ted had a go growing fruit, but times were hard.
To supplement his income he played the piano at Yenda picture threatre silent movies.
A Reclassification Committee was set up and recommendation redesigning of farms and additional area but many had lost their spirit.
Doris's mother gave the advice that marriage is for love, but one does not expect everything to be perfect and what a time to become engaged.
Ted was to forfeit his fruit farm and move to the city of Sydney.
It seemed that most of the fruit farms were redesigned and were beginning to produce fruit.
After the initial struggle in the MIA there was a golden opportunity for any man to be on the land and have a go at growing rice.
The Irrigation Commission would advance expenses and advance three pounds a week and working and harvesting expenses and in return they would have a mortgage on the growing rice crop and leave what was left over for the grower.
Ted told Doris that he purchased a farm and it's off the beaten track, dead end of the road, up against Mirrool Creek branch canal.
This chap is a good old pioneer type who tooled the land up in the early days, then flowed the water soon after the Burrinjuck Dam was built.
He has been in dairy, but has not done much good, too far out of town he said and he was going to grow fruit.
Ted said there is no limit to the place "absolutely drought proof" just the climate, hot as blazes for growing rice, we will be able to irrigate every inch of the place as it is flat as a board and the stock can be fattened up.
I would like to acknowledge the wonderful story of Here Comes the Bailiff by Doris Cheesbrough.
Fran Pietroboni, Griffith
READ MORE: Here comes the Baliff part one
POLICY PROBLEMS ARE NO LONGER UNDER THE RADAR
For a long time the problems of the Murray River being driven by poor water policy have flown under the radar.
This is partly because the water sharing arrangements are dependant on three states throwing added complexities to the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Advocating for the Murray Valley has proven challenging for many organisations, as there are many valley specific issues for those in this delicate part of the Southern Connected System.
At long last many of the inadequacies of the Basin Plan are coming to light, which the Speak Up Campaign have been highlighting for four years.
One of the driving factors in the establishment of Speak Up was because the grassroots had lost faith in the ability for peak organisations to advocate for family farmers and subsequently the communities they support in southern NSW and northern Victoria.
However, the recent motions passed at NSW Farmers Association conference and annual general meeting held in Sydney have renewed our faith that a new direction in advocacy for water will prevent further damage to Southern Basin communities.
We commend NSWFA for establishing a specific Water Task Force, which will ensure a focus remains on water issues, and importantly that the executive members will be properly briefed before they hold discussions with politicians.
We also support the push by NSWFA for a Royal Commission into the failings of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which would uncover its many failings and the damage it has caused to agricultural production.
Two critical steps need to take place to cement our confidence in the ability of NSWFA to adequately advocate for the region.
Firstly, their water taskforce must contain grower/grassroots members who have a working knowledge of the systems most severely impacted by the Basin Plan.
Secondly, the water task force and NSWFA branches, particularly those in the Southern Basin must have input into the terms of reference of any Royal Commission.
No longer can the flaws of the Basin Plan and dominance of corporates and deep pockets play a role in influencing advocacy for family farmers.