Friday, April 22, 2011

Keep Bovine Botherers in the High Country

I'm not getting confrontational to divert my attention away from my Dad shooting through like a Bondi tram nor do I want extra-careful treatment in the comments section in response to this babble from my brain.
I'm more than a tad divided about cattle in the High Country.

Sure, to purists traditionally domesticated animals have no part in such a beautiful setting; it is a foreign concept to see a human-associated animal in the so-called wilds.
Their hooves trample whatever, they nom on whatever is available, they crap all over the place.

Go research the umpteen 'explorer' and 'settler' descriptions of Victoria.
You will find that many, many, many areas were described as verdant grasslands with shade trees - they were likened to English parklands.
Their appearance - and likeness to English farmland - gave European settlers the idea of running 'domesticated' critters over these very lands.
This was attained not by nature but by the 'firestick farming' by the local Aboriginal tribes.
Not over just a couple of hundred years - like European settlement - but over several thousands (or more) of years.

So, recently, cattle - and their attendants - were introduced then kicked out.

Now, fast forward to the current day where under-funded national parks rangers are unable to control noxious European-introduced weeds like Blackberries, Morning Glory, Deadly Nightshade, etc,.
Go have a gathering....of the human-related rubbish that's growing in number in the High Country.
How many tracks - fire tracks - are closed due to under-funding of controlling weeds/grasslands/undergrowth/saplings, etc.
How many tracks are out of bounds due to a lack of resources/funding/sticking to green beliefs...

Whether you agree with/against the old Forestry Commission/Forestry Workers coupled with cattle and their owners and throw in the firestick farming/fire control, whatever you want to call them ....
This, today, is not the best policy.
Yes, Europeans have changed the landscape that they found.
But only recently.
Aboriginal People changed the landscape a long time before Europeans arrived.
The accepted attitudes of the like that "Aboriginal People did not harness their surrounds to gather foods/supplies" is completely incorrect as they built stone houses, created fish traps, planted crops of yam tubers et el, used firestick farming to encourage kangaroos to eat in 'farming' areas, found permanent water holes and created permanent maps of the same ....
Y'know, settled the land, used it to their best advantage.

European farmers stuck their cattle in the High Country and retained the status quo for more than a century...a favourable situation found by early European explorers, not created by them.

Kangaroo farming is impossible in this day and age - give the traditional owners their due, they knew how to use the land to their best advantage - but European development has deprived the Aboriginal People of their extensive hunting lands to gather the foods they had lured to the grasslands with firestick farming so cattle are the next better vegetative critter to retain the grasslands/environment created with firestick farming.


  1. I'll..just go now and..hide my pet cows..before a contract is put out on them

  2. We visited Bowra Station (QLD), now sanctuary - after a couple of good seasons, the grass is sky high, weeds out of control and feral pigs running rampant. I'm not saying grazing is the best option for every situation, but I AM saying it needs management.

    We can't undo the past - but letting the land 'revert' after being farmed doesn't actually work either.

  3. I've read a few novels on the lives of Stone Age peoples; for example, Jean M Auel's Earth Children series; and it makes perfect sense to me that for humans to evolve, they would have naturally "used the lands to their advantage".
    It makes equal sense to me that the Aborignals would have done the same thing, and of course they did.
    We newer settlers could learn a lot from their traditional methods.
    If only we had the sense to see and learn.....

  4. We watch this from afar in astonishment... seems crazy and a long way from a goal my Old Man always utters: Common Sense Must Prevail at All Times!

    Mentioned you at my place - hope you don't mind.


  5. I actually look at it from a bushfire viewpoint as well, letting cattle into the highlands helps to keep down the risk. DSE in Vic have a hard time getting access to a lot of areas due weather conditions and the costs of manpower. I know bushfire is necessary to regenerate, but if cattle could help keep down weeds and improve access then maybe controlled burns could be done in areas where it is needed for regeneration and to decrease fire risk.