Talk back radio Australia extreme activism in schools

By Geoff Sherrington,

In Australia, either Melbourne or Canberra is the most active locus of climate change activism. We still have talk back radio. Melbourne’s Neil Mitchell on 3AW, 8.30am to noon on week days, is certainly in the Top 5 of national audience levels. He has been king for many years.

Yesterday, 29th November 2018, Neil Mitchell interviewed Laura Sykes, who represented the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. The eight minutes of interview expressed some of the most extreme verbal activism I can remember. Those who seek a calm discourse about climate change should listen to this to judge the amount of work ahead of them to reverse opinions like these that Laura holds so strongly.

(scroll down for clip~ctm)

Laura was on air to promote a ‘strike’ by school children aged 5 upwards, to display unhappiness with Australia’s current political treatment of ‘climate change’, however defined. This interview also gives you some insight into the attitudes of Neil Mitchell, whose attitudinal choices are followed by many listeners.

My thanks are given to radio 3AW for permission to air this on WUWT.
About the author.

Geoff Sherrington, a 1960s Science graduate with a Chemistry major spent much of his career as Chief Geochemist in mineral exploration with Geopeko Limited, plus development and operation of major mineral and forestry resources. Science gradually gave way to politics to combat the heavy increase in bureaucratic and political obstruction of the principles of free enterprise.

The Geopeko team found 13 new mines in its operating life from 1955 to 1995 or so. (Many exploration people do not find any). The value of sales from those mines, to year 2015 and expressed in 2015 values, has been about $62 billion. One discovery was the Ranger Uranium deposits, then the largest in the world. This mine had a cocktail of ingredients that were like poison to green groups, so the non-science education was considerable and relevant to the climate change debate.

Many exploration science matters such as statistics are common to both mineral exploration and climate change.


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Pop Piasa
December 1, 2018 10:07 pm

Remember “Tokyo Rose”.

michael hart
December 1, 2018 10:26 pm

I often wonder how did Australia come to be so climate-cucked in the first place?

Reply to  michael hart
December 2, 2018 2:31 am

gore got the minions working rather fast here,they hit small rural towns all over with the incontinent garbage film
plus we have wankers like flimflam and otherslike steffen who saw cash/fame and jumped onto the wagons early,JCU being a private and pricy uni saw funding and jumped fast also
then of course the abc has a definite bias to socialist communist and greentard views.
our media elsewheres as thick as your talkin heads, they say whats put in front of em
and big greens paying a lot of advert money

Pop Piasa
Reply to  ozspeaksup
December 2, 2018 3:23 pm

Granny used to say “A dollar sez more than a dime”.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
December 2, 2018 3:25 pm

Pop Piasa

Granny used to say “A dollar sez more than a dime”.

How many government-paid climate scientists did your Granny said could be bought with 92 billion government dollars?

Reply to  michael hart
December 2, 2018 5:24 am

You are talking a few hundred school students.

Ask them to give up there electronic devices for the sake of climate change and watch the number drop 🙂

Greg Locock
Reply to  LdB
December 2, 2018 11:11 am

Ask them to stop flying in jet planes!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  LdB
December 2, 2018 3:32 pm

Absolutely. Fighting climate change is something everyone who buys into it needs to do on a personal level first before demanding that the government sets policy for others.

D Cage
Reply to  LdB
December 3, 2018 1:22 am

I still have trouble getting over the schoolgirl who was offended at me laughing at her for wearing a use faux fur ban real fur badge as well as a no more plastic one both incidentally made of plastic coated metal.
As well as pointing out plastic pipes are essential for water and gas her mobile relied on it for wires and the battery what did she think faux fur was made from not to mention her clothes. She sulkily said these were he teacher’s two pet causes. Can you blame the young for being fools with education like that?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  LdB
December 5, 2018 9:07 am

Don’t dare! Their iPhones are renewable with biodegradable ear phones.

Charles Nelson
December 1, 2018 10:45 pm

Australia is ideal territory for the Global Warming Religion. Its natural extremes are regularly played by the Warmists to maximum effect.
“I love a sunburnt country/A land of sweeping plains,/Of ragged mountain ranges,/Of droughts and flooding rains.”
Dorothea Mackellar – wrote that over a hundred years ago….

Reply to  Charles Nelson
December 3, 2018 1:04 am

Thank you so much for bringing that up. That poem is so embedded in our culture that we take it for granted! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the first line in at least one ad back in the ’90s.

December 1, 2018 10:54 pm

“I often wonder how did Australia come to be so climate-cucked in the first place?”

How or weather? No, you’re right, the history of the debate has cucked us over Down Here. I have few explanations and fewer excuses.

We do have a deep inferiority complex, our so-called ‘cultural cringe,’ which has turned our tertiary sector into a desperate, grovellingly grateful Salon des Refuses for the Steffens and Stephans who were too mentally mediocre even for the US climate academy.

OTOH I suspect we punch above our division for skeptics per capita, with heavyweights like Jo Nova, the late John Daly, Warwick Hughes, ….

Meanwhile our Prime Minister had the audacity to suggest that, its being a school day, school kids should probably be in school. After his foreseeable crucifixion I wrote this to the Sydney Morning Herald, forlornly. Probably should have used fewer threatening words like ‘adiabatic.’ For entertainment purposes only—yes, I know the language makes too many concessions to climate ignorance.


Dear Sir,

I may not believe in the science, but I’ll defend to the death the right of semi-educated teenagers to skip Maths, History and Science in order to raise much-needed awareness of their opinions about adiabatic lapse rates, black-body radiation physics, proxy validity in paleoclimate reconstructions, and the myriad other domains of knowledge required for forming a scientifically-literate position on global warming.

More power to them. If I were young and naïve enough to mistake an IPCC report for a scientific paper, I’d also feel an ethical responsibility to decry government inaction on behalf of the planet I was about to inherit.

If the PM wants to blame someone, he should confine his criticism to the education system. It’s an open secret that teachers of everything from English to Religious Studies use An Inconvenient Truth as an electronic babysitter. Teaching is the hardest and most underappreciated profession in the world, but if you’re struggling to come up with a lesson plan, how about devoting a couple of hours to critical thinking and skepticism?

Yours faithfully,

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Brad Keyes
December 2, 2018 12:42 pm

+42 :<)
I love the sarcasm. That letter or similar should be sent to every newspaper here in the U.S. I hope you don't mind if I/we borrow (plagiarize) most of it with only minor modifications to fit our local situation. I have yet to figure out how to submit it locally with proper attribution.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
December 2, 2018 2:27 pm


Yeas, steal away, please. Let me know if you have better luck tricking someone into publishing your version than I did. Thanks for your kind words!

December 1, 2018 10:56 pm

In Tasmania where I live, where our power source is nearly all renewable hydro, we also had this ”strike” from kids. How in gods name can five year olds have any rational thought with the science of man made climate change unless they are brain washed. They would not have even seen any measurable change in the climate within their whole life time. I squarely blame the teachers. The use of school students for an alarmist indoctrinated opinion from teachers speaks heaps of the failure of an educational system which is supposed to be impartial. Unfortunately here in Australia the ”cacca verde” seems to have a stranglehold within education and the unseasonable heat wave together with bushfires in Queensland certainly isn’t helping.
Well done Neil Mitchell though for some rationality instead of going with the alarmist flow like we normally witness within the MSM.

Reply to  aussiecol
December 2, 2018 2:54 pm

Somewhere in the distant past here in Oz, I recall a drought breaking in central Australia. The media comment of the time where along the lines of “ there are children here today that are seven years old that have never seen rain in their lifetime”. Imagine that, a climate that had always been dry and hot suddenly became wet. Those seven year olds are probably in their sixties and have hopefully figured out that the climate changes.

Warren in New Zealand
December 1, 2018 10:57 pm


“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
One frosty Sunday morn.
The congregation stood about,
Coat-collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
As it had done for years.
“It’s lookin’ crook,” said Daniel Croke;
“Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad.”
“It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neil,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.
And so around the chorus ran
“It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.
“The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-o’-Bourke
They’re singin’ out for rain.
“They’re singin’ out for rain,” he said,
“And all the tanks are dry.”
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.
“There won’t be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
As I came down to Mass.”
“If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak–
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If rain don’t come this week.”
A heavy silence seemed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.
“We want a inch of rain, we do,”
O’Neil observed at last;
But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
To put the danger past.
“If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”
In God’s good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.
And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, gladsome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.
It pelted, pelted all day long,
A-singing at its work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-o’Bourke.
And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”
And stop it did, in God’s good time;
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.
And days went by on dancing feet,
With harvest-hopes immense,
And laughing eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o’er the fence.
And, oh, the smiles on every face,
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep on Casey’s place
Went riding down to Mass.
While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed his piece of bark.
“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”

John M Ware
Reply to  Warren in New Zealand
December 2, 2018 12:23 am

I greatly enjoyed this poem–it scans, it rhymes, it even makes sense! Bravo!

Peter Hartley
Reply to  John M Ware
December 2, 2018 7:32 am

It was written in 1919 and used to be a staple of primary school lessons in Australia. It is probably now banned because weather shocks are now all caused by humans and we can’t have anyone knowing they were commonplace in the past…


Reply to  Warren in New Zealand
December 2, 2018 1:25 am


December 1, 2018 11:17 pm

“Neil Mitchell clashes with youth climate coalition over student “strike””

Clashes with?

Sorry, I’ve been spoiled by years of YouTube consumption. I only click on media labeled…

“Neil Mitchell DESTROYS youth climate coalition over student “strike””

…or higher.

December 1, 2018 11:35 pm

I hope like hell I don’t live to a hundred as I am getting so sick of the inmates running the asylum.

Joel O'Bryan
December 1, 2018 11:46 pm

Without any doubt the kiddies’ parents are manipulating their children. The parents have decided to use their children as propaganda tools for socialism — for political power.
This is the path that moral relativism creates. Whatever means necessary are justified by the end purpose. It is how the worst atrocities of the 20th Century were started.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 2, 2018 12:16 am

They’re so adowable tho

Did you see the Lil’ Klimate Krusaders? See that brother and sister dressed up as “carbon” and “pollution”?

So cute! I could just eat them up. (If I were a plant, obviously.)

Reminds me, I’ve always wanted a couple of protest accessories offspring

time to give the missus a good seeing to

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
December 2, 2018 9:29 am

Well on the way to the ways of the Hitler Youth Movement, the Soviet Komsomol and Mao Zedong’s Young Pioneers …

Chris in Hervey Bay
December 2, 2018 12:05 am

Laura Sykes = Box of rocks with a mouth.

Reply to  Chris in Hervey Bay
December 2, 2018 2:52 am

and id reckon AAVAZ or getup are tied into her what was it? climate coalition or whatever
be worth a dekko
I’d guess avaaz as theyre global green and full on on adani hate and other campaigns in Aus.
i get their flyers n greenpiss to keep an eye on what theyre screaming about…read delete ,sigh

December 2, 2018 12:09 am

“The eight minutes of interview expressed some of the most extreme verbal activism I can remember.”

Extreme? Sure, the girl was obviously having a life-threateningly good time with all the Ritalin she’d confiscated from her five-year-old Associate Professors of Atmospheric Physics. But if you slow the recording down just enough you should find the “Goldilocks” frequency—located about halfway between Colombia’s annual coffee yield and Satanic product recommendations—where Ms Sykes’ voice becomes audible to creatures with two legs.

And when judged on their merits, her words don’t sound all that far removed from worlds’ best clicomm practice.

[Rule #1: conservative radio hosts have male privilege and they won’t hesitate to illegitimately insert it in your mouth if you let them get a word in edgeways.]

Other than the bizarre, specific delusion she voices (about the ease with which infants can stay on top of all the relevant Earth sciences) she could be any other believalist, only less abusive, couldn’t she?

Had Neil Mitchell not been so completely thrown by such developmental-psychology denial, I wish he’d asked her to put one of these Wunderkinder on the phone. My first 10 questions for 5-year-olds would be to repeat the word ‘carbon dioxide’, then again, then again, just so I could make absolutely sure Mum and Dad’s coaching was audible in the background.

“Those who seek a calm discourse about climate change should listen to this to judge the amount of work ahead of them to reverse opinions like these that Laura holds so strongly.”

Yeah it might seem hopeless but I reckon that, if you made urine tests for veterinary-grade stimulants a condition of any future meetings, she’ll sound comparatively sane

December 2, 2018 12:52 am

The kiddies weren’t the only ones wagging school and you gotta love the-
‘I’m a scientist and I know what I’m talking about’
(hat tip Tim Blair)

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  observa
December 2, 2018 9:44 am

It’s a great pity that more journalists don’t adopt such incisive questioning … it’s a lot more entertaining than the groupthink MSM is currently dishing up.

December 2, 2018 1:54 am

Laura Sykes works for the renewable energy lobby. Her NfP employer is funded by other NfPs who are funded by the ‘industry’ and donors large and small. This is lobbying in its most manipulative incarnation. The renewables mafia using schools and kids for money and power.

December 2, 2018 2:03 am

And Neil had the opportunity to expose her employer but fell short of doing so. Why I wonder; was employer non-disclosure a pre-condition for the interview?
Too funny Neil asking the question to which he received a ‘blank’ answer and then he backed off .

December 2, 2018 2:16 am

Easy starter question to allow kids to click they’re ignorant, ask em what percentage< of the air is carbon dioxide? That usually stops them cold. Next one is , what do plants use for ‘food’ and how many tons of that food do they suppose it takes to build a 100 ton tree, like the ones in the Sou’ West of West Oz that they’d see fill the forest? Then – what % do they think it’d need to drop to to kill that tree dead?

Once they wrap their minds around the vastness of these ideas and comprehend how little CO2 there is and how it’s effectively depleted to close to kill levels every single day, I’ll show the University of Utah’s graph of monitored by-the-minute daily graph of CO2 levels and ask them why they think it drops so low as soon as the sun comes up and remains low through the day, and I’ll further ask them, were they ever shown this graph by an adult in a position of responsibility ?

Global Cooling
Reply to  Karlos51
December 2, 2018 4:32 am

Thanks. A link with data and a good narrative:

This is not necessarily the one that you referred to.

Joe Campbell
Reply to  Karlos51
December 2, 2018 6:16 am

Can you provide a link to the U-U minute-by-minute daily graph of CO2 levels? I cannot locate the data. Thanks…

Reply to  Joe Campbell
December 2, 2018 9:53 am

try this:
I see you’re heading into winter so the readings are a bit higher than during the growing season

have a look at the warmer months when things are growing: such as this time series dragging a mouse across the graph shows the minutes

I was put on to this monitoring site after asking here some years back if anyone knew of a daily concentration series when I was writing up an article about C3, C4 and CAM plant photosynthesis and also asking why the heck with all the media attention on CO2 was no one talking about the minute by minute series.. you’d think if they were serious about Co2 being an ebil pollutant then they’d be linking to such a thing – they do for UV, smog and other such things (I knew why they didn’t, I just thought the hypocrisy was astonishing)

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Karlos51
December 2, 2018 1:10 pm
December 2, 2018 2:23 am

The BBC World Service also interviewed one of these kids, showing how the media has hidden control of the news agenda, and gives the craved-for publicity to favoured causes. LBC radio in the UK also gave a platform to a few hundred climate protestors who have been closing bridges recently.

The common sense conservative viewpoint is seldom heard, we do seem to be heading back to religious fundamentalism, where “green” is the new state-supported religion.

Reply to  climanrecon
December 2, 2018 9:41 am

Take a look at this article out of Canada’s CBC today, where a psychologist is weighing in on why people are skeptical:

I’d be very grateful for your responses to this psychologist.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Sommer
December 2, 2018 1:14 pm

Today on WUWT:
What Lousy Philosophy Tells Us About Belief In Global Warming

December 2, 2018 2:54 am

abc rn also ran this lass,
excpet they fawned all over her.
every mis statement accepted as gospel as per usual.

December 2, 2018 4:44 am

Notice that skeptics of the climate consensus are never smart enough to be qualified to to offer a critique, but 5 year olds are qualified to participate in political action supporting the most extreme bdemands of the climate consensus.
More ominously, notice how this leader is able to at once talk about democracy and science, while simultaneously convicting those who disagree of being not only wrong but corrupt.
My impression is that she managed to damage her cause quite a bit. And not simply because of her annoying and rude style of talking.

Reply to  hunter
December 2, 2018 7:47 am

It is child abuse.

December 2, 2018 5:56 am

I’m in South Carolina. Last night I was listening to 2GB via the TuneIn app. I believe the host was Justin and the show is called Talk something.

Most of the shows I hear are “right of centre” and the topics are the same as the challenges to freedom worldwide.

Climate, guns, immigration and drugs. The other topic was Uber vs taxis.

And government does the same crappy job.

Just Jenn
December 2, 2018 6:15 am

I loved the string of verbal vomit over how much these kids are telling her about how they fear for their future and are angry at their politicians for not listening to them. Followed on the heels of, “well there might be some that don’t agree”..but that’s not important, let me overtalk about how many of them DO agree. I’m not sure of the number but we’re estimating HUNDREDS of schools and about 600-800 students showing up.

The 5 years olds…ye gads woman! Seriously? OH but 5 year olds KNOW, won’t someone please think of the children?

THE BEST QUESTION: “You aren’t going to be a teacher are you?”

And she missed the entire set up.

Tom Halla
December 2, 2018 7:01 am

There are definite reasons why the use of child soldiers is roundly condemned. Apart from placing the children in peril, the child soldiers are prone to atrocities.
So, of course it is a notion of the green blob to do what is in other contexts considered a war crime.

Nick Schroeder
December 2, 2018 7:07 am

I’ll plow this plowed ground and beat this dead horse yet some more. Maybe somebody will step up and ‘splain scientifically how/why I’ve got it wrong – or not.
Radiative Green House Effect theory (TFK_bams09):
1) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with atmosphere, RGHE’s only reason to even exist – rubbish. (simple observation & Nikolov & Kramm)
But how, exactly is that supposed to work?
2) There is a 333 W/m^2 up/down/”back” energy loop consisting of the 0.04% GHG’s that absorbs/”traps”/re-emits per QED simultaneously warming BOTH the atmosphere and the surface. – Good trick, too bad it’s not real, thermodynamic nonsense.
And where does this magical GHG energy loop first get that energy?
3) From the 16 C/289 K/396 W/m^2 S-B 1.0 ε ideal theoretical BB radiation upwelling from the surface. – which due to the non-radiative heat transfer participation of the atmospheric molecules is simply not possible.
No BB upwelling & no GHG energy loop & no 33 C warmer means no RGHE theory & no CO2 warming & no man caused climate change.
Got science? Bring it!!
Nick Schroeder, BSME CU ‘78, CO PE 22774
Experiments in the classical style:
No 33 C and K-T

December 2, 2018 10:02 am

It is fitting that five year olds, who believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and monsters under the bed, so readily also believe in a climate catastrophe caused by CO2.

December 2, 2018 10:39 am

Targeting children has been a long dream of the propagandists. Already David Suzuki was always looking at addressing them rather than their parents…
The climate agitprop daily delivered by the CBC in Canada excels at pushing this agenda:

Now, the University of British Columbia Climate Hub, an initiative conceived of, lobbied for, and implemented by UBC students in less than a year, is working to pilot a program connecting university and secondary students across Vancouver on empowering climate dialogue and action to multiply that hope tenfold.

ANY climate stuff in BC is always one way or another supported by fake charities pushed by Tides, Rockefeller Brothers etc…

Chris Hanley
December 2, 2018 11:48 am

He’s a scientist and he knows what he’s talking about:

Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 2, 2018 3:48 pm

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or feel sad or hopeless or sick, so I kind of did all of those. But mostly I laughed.
”we should still do something even if it’s not human induced” Precious!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 2, 2018 5:18 pm


December 2, 2018 3:51 pm

This is so funny! Almost seems like a comedy show!
”We should still do something even if it’s not human induced” Just Gold!

December 2, 2018 4:05 pm

Australia is a victim of its own success, and an instinct to ‘do something’ that is difficult to keep dormant, or at least from going in the wrong direction. There isn’t much ‘activism’ left to be done in most cases, so people search for something to be ‘activist’ about that doesn’t need addressing; and if that fails, just get kids to do it.

Patrick MJD
December 2, 2018 5:12 pm

What an arrogant immature mind in Miss Sykes. 5 year old’s understand atmospheric physics, physics, chemistry, thermodynamics lol…

Miss Sykes didn’t appear to have any science based qualifications when asked.

December 2, 2018 7:38 pm

Laura Sykes………..”Óh OOh Blah blah…rainbows! 100% 100% climate absolutely! butterflies! squeak squeak 100% absolutely.. climate.. climate squeak! heat…drought! kids! rainbows 100% government squawk 100% climate absolutely! sing song Blah blah Change something! fairies future! blah squeak! …fires bad bad 100% coal change government squawk…. kids squeak… future blah blag squawk”…..

Is that about right?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Mike
December 2, 2018 9:46 pm

Yes, thank you. That will make a neat abstract for the paper. Geoff.

December 3, 2018 10:56 am

Let’s hope lots of parents took the opportunity to send their kids to school instead, and explain to them why.

Craig from Oz
December 3, 2018 6:41 pm

Did some quick maths on this yesterday.

From the ABS website the current 0-14 age group is about 18% of the total Oz population.

Let us assume that some of the very young don’t count, add in some more school kiddies from the 15 to 17 age group and then take out those who for various reasons didn’t want to, or couldn’t be involved.

So… leaves us still with about 10% of the Australian population as climate aware school kiddles as a rough and ready number. To be extra nice let us assume that half of these had to wash their hair or were too busy writing letters to the PM and couldn’t make it on the day, leaving us with 5%

Now, let us take the shining gem of Green Awareness in Australia, the city of Melbourne. Population is 4.8 million I believe.

Let us then assume that some people in the more distant suburbs were unable to get into the CBD and say… 3million possibly people is our sample size?

so… 5% of 3 million? 150,000 school kids in Melbourne alone?

Anyone count 150,000 angry Melbourne School Kiddies out on the streets begging for our futures?


Bob in Castlemaine
December 3, 2018 7:50 pm

Clearly these brainwashed children haven’t been taught anything of Australia’s weather history by their teacher preachers. Harsh unpredictable weather has been the norm here at least since European settlement and likely long before that, a current example – many farmers and rural residents in southern Queensland, NSW and Northern Victoria are currently suffering the effects of severe drought. Droughts, floods and bushfires are perennial problems for Australian farmers and rural people in our land of “droughts and flooding rains”.

When Charles Sturt discovered the Darling River in Feb 1829 the region was in the grip of a drought that had reduced the river to a series of pools, some too salty to drink because of inflow from brine springs. The modern day picture linked below shows the Darling River during drought, much as Charles Sturt would have seen it 189 years ago.

The Sydney Morning Herald of 9 November, 1865, P.6 carried an article, reproduced below, expressing the obvious concern at the time about a widespread, severe drought.
Link to newspaper article
The author wasn’t to know it at the time but the drought he/she was commenting on would extend until 1868.

(From the Australasian, November 3.)
It is now becoming a serious question with us whether we are entering on the second summer of such a period of drought or not. These have occurred more than once since the first settlement of Australia, although few Victorians have had the opportunity of learning what they are, for there has not been one for about a quarter of a century. The extremes of climate to which New Holland is subject are to be judged of from the fact that one explorer declared the great interior to be a vast sea, without any limits apparent to him after several days’ travel along its shores, and there is no reason to doubt that he truly described what he saw, even though another explorer and his party almost perished for want of water in an arid desert where once this supposed sea was. Such were the very opposite experiences of Oxley and Sturt, and such are the extremes of climates in what are now included in the settled parts of Australia. A late explorer, McKinlay, had difficulty in escaping from floods and a wide expanse of water in this same desert interior, thus proving that the story of its having been before covered with water was not altogether fabulous, as many were beginning to think ; so we may well suppose that these extremes of wet and drought are not yet at an end. It is only, perhaps, within the tropics that falls of rain capable of effecting such a change are to be looked for; but in the interior, dry weather to a certainty predominates, and we are quite within the influence of it. Round the south coast, and to a certain extent back from the sea, no absolute drought is to be feared; but the plains north of the coast-range are all more or less subject to this, and over a great portion of the Darling country and the plains north of the Murray there was not a drop of rain for three years during the time of the last great drought. Only a few cattle and horses were then in the tract of country we speak of, so the effects then were not very serious, but the drought, though not so absolute, extended in full force over the greater part of New South Wales, causing loss enough there, and raising agricultural produce of all sorts to such prices as cannot be contemplated without dismay, now that the number of people to be fed has increased so enormously. The number of persons engaged in raising food has, of course, increased in proportion; but, unfortunately, these will be all converted into consumers instead of producers, in those parts of the country visited by the drought, for no amount of work of an ordinary kind can prevail against it. We have always been inclined to flatter ourselves that this small territory of ours is so happily situated as to be free from the extreme vicissitudes of climate which are traditionary in New South Wales, but last year gave some idea of the mischief one dry season can do, with the runs pretty fully stocked, and the farmers wedded to a shortsighted, thriftless system; and how will it be if that was only the first of three?
Should such really be the ordeal through which these colonies have once again to pass, the prospect before us is a sad one. Already are the consequences of a want of rain becoming ruinous in many parts of New South Wales and South Australia. In this last named colony, the tracts of country farthest away from the sea, taken up and occupied with profit during a succession of wet seasons, have had to be abandoned with the loss of nearly all the stock once upon them, now that the winter has passed over without rain; and throughout a great extent of New South Wales, cattle, sheep, and horses are dying, for want of a sufficiency of either feed or water, and hundreds of small settlers, dependent partly on tillage and, partly on stock, are barely able to find food for themselves, and altogether unable to pay their debts. If such is the case with the small settlers after one dry winter and summer, only too many of the large settlers in badly watered parts of the country will be in like circumstances after the second dry summer, which to all appearance has now commenced. Deep wells may hold out, but dams will be useless without rain to fill the tanks and reservoirs; and how many millions of sheep and thousands of cattle are now dependent on these alone for water through out the level plains of the interior? Many of such sources of supply failed last summer, and have remained dry, and how many more will not have utterly failed before six months are over? Then, as for grass, there will be absolutely none at all on those plains which have for several years past furnished so much of the meat we eat, and the wool we export, unless there should be such rains as we have no right to expect over a tract of country which has before been unvisited by a single shower for three years together. And even on this side of the Murray things promise to be little better away from the ranges. Only too many of the stockowners had no increase last year, owing to the low condition of their stock, which, speaking generally, has had no chance of picking up during the winter and spring, and will, therefore, succumb early to a second period of semi-starvation. Thus if one dry season prevented an increase, a second will cause a rapid decrease, not, unfortunately, to be guarded against by any means available now.
The decline at present in the value of fat stock is only too commonly hailed as the passing away of a temporary pressure; but this may quite as well be taken as an omen of worse evils to come. The settlers are only too well aware of the state of their own stock and of the country at large, not to know that meat must be very much higher a few months hence than it is now, and thus only sell what they have fat in despair of being able to wait for these better prices. So scarce is feed on most runs, even this early in the year, that those animals which are marketable must be got out of the way of those which are not, as the only hope of keeping these last alive. Then as each day elapses after shearing, there will be less chance of fat stock finding even the most moderate picking beside the roads on their way to market, for many and many a flock of sheep will be sent on its travels this summer to avoid the calamity of absolute starvation at home. No, the temporary over-supply must not be taken as a hopeful sign, but rather the contrary—as a compulsory waste of resources. And when this ceases, it is hard to foresee what the price of meat may not rise to, for no one can tell where enough is to come from. The few runs that will retain their fattening properties can only furnish a tenth of what will be required for the consumption of the towns, and even if store sheep are to be obtained for these there will be few store cattle forthcoming, for the Monaroo Plains and other great tracts of breeding country in New South Wales bid fair to be almost entirely cleared of stock by starvation and disease combined. Pork must be our last resource, and as the harvest will be light, there will be little grain for the pigs, except at a high price. Then, fresh butter will be a greater luxury than ever, dear as it was last year, and the supply of salt butter will depend entirely on importations from Europe. A light harvest means a short supply of breadstuffs, as well as little grain to spare for feeding purposes, and this will be followed by a poor yield of potatoes and other roots, and of vegetables and fruit. Thus the second year of the drought will leave us without enough of any of the chief articles of food, and with diminished powers to purchase. Breadstuff and grain may be imported, and so may butter and cheese, in sufficient quantity; but vegetables and fruit, cannot, nor can fresh meat, to an extent that will, enable the poorer classes to continue anything like their present consumption of it. We will again be reduced to the condition brought about by the first great influx of gold-seekers, without a sufficiency of wholesome food, but dependent on the damaged grain and flour, the salt meat and two-year old Cork butter, wherewith importers may deem fit to furnish us; and this, too, without the money the new arrivals brought with them, and the gold they so quickly raised to purchase what was needed. Then the evil brought its own cure, but a drought will not only produce like bad results, but will do this by destroying the actual sources of our national income and wealth at the same time. It will render meat scarce by killing off our flocks and herds, and bread scarce, by drawing up the soil to a state of aridity. It will diminish the yield of gold, and in every way reduce the amount of employment offered. It will bring us dear food, compulsory idleness, and low wages, and all this without one single countervailing advantage. Such is the dismal picture of what a second year of drought must bring in its train, if it runs its course without the providential intervention of such rains as we have now no right to calculate on or expect. To a third year of suffering and impoverishment we may or may not have to look forward, but with even the second thus imminent, it seems strange that so few of either our public men or private individuals appear to be alive to our danger. The weather cannot be changed at command; clouds dropping rain and plenty over the face of the earth cannot be made to rise from the sea just when we need them. But such resources as we have may be husbanded far more carefully than they are; and until all fears of a three-years’ drought have passed away no public or private undertaking of any importance should be entered on without due deference to the evils possibly, nay, most probably, impending.”

A pity they didn’t understand back then what our child activists do today about “climate change”, if only they had they would have been able to control the weather and stop those terrible droughts simply by closing down their coal fired power stations and swapping their fossil fueled SUV’s for electric cars.

[this was a weird one in the original format so I’m allowing this, but normally just post a link, and if you’re going to post so much text, please use paragraphs~mod]

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