Drought

I’ve written before about the drought we’re currently experiencing.

Today we drove from our home in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, to Roma in Queensland. As we went west and north, it got even drier.

It’s dry at home – really dry. When you dig, there’s no moisture in the soil at all and there’s dust everywhere. Last night was our Christmas Spectacular, which was held at the local showgrounds. Walking around in the heat, everyone kicked up dust. By the time we got home, we were absolutely filthy – but it was a really good night.

But further west and north it’s even worse. We’ve lived in the remote, and very hot, Pilbara and we’ve travelled through all kinds of places in Australia, but today we saw something we’ve never seen before.

In the middle of the day, there were kangaroos by the roadside.

Now, if you’ve travelled in Australia, you’ll know that you have to watch out for kangaroos. At dawn and dusk and at night. And that there is always more than one. (If you don’t see the second one, you usually hit it with the car, or as happened to me once, it hits your car by running into the passenger door.)

But by the side of the road in the middle of the day? And not just one or two, but multiple roos. Multiple mobs even.

I’d just made a comment about the number of roadkilled roos, and then there they were. Some were fossicking for food, and some were resting. When I looked closely, quite a few were thin.

For the very first time in our lives of living in rural and remote Australia, we had to keep a sharp lookout for kangaroos in the middle of the day. It was sobering, and as we looked around, we could see why. The fenced paddocks on either side had been eaten bare. And in the 900 or so kilometres we travelled today, we saw one river with water in it, and one that had a puddle. The side of the road had a bit of pick, and that was all.

Drought. Sad, sobering, and desperate.

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