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To dam or be damned

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The Mighty Fitzroy River

 

Andrew Eyden

In Low gear, my vehicle climbed to the top of the te-mile long twenty-eight-foot high levee. Built by Australian Land & Cattle

Company Limited (ALCCO) at a cost of $3.75 million it fronted the Fiztroy River, a river that until now had wrought annual empire of 4.3 million acres, 6670 square miles, larger than fifty individual world countries.

One hundred and twenty-eight windmills and hundred of miles of creeks and rivers provided the water needs of gigantic operation.

Cattle numbered 100,000 head horses 1,500.

The levee, the design dictated by government, now protected the 61,600 acre Camballin Farms, twice the size of the current Ord Irrigation Scheme of 30,000 acres.

The inkata feed yard with ultimate 30,0000head capacity, was another first. Inkata, the Aboriginal word for wise man-wise in recognising the fed beef was the to future Asian beed markets.

When constructed in 1970 a zero dollar export earner for Australia, but in 2007 it is a $2.5 billion market.

We alone marketed hurry-seven percent of all north-west Australian Cattle from seven stations and our abattoir subsidiary. One dollar in every three in circulation

was attributed to the Company. Our success caused Broome to become a deep-sea port with access to all world shipping benefiting not only agriculture but the oil and gas industry and tourism of cruise ships.

Our programs resulted in the first Aboriginal housing community at Looma on Liveringa Station.

The story of ALCCO is that of the single largest pirate investment in renewable resource development in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region history

We experienced the high and lows of controlling the steward ship of a gigantic renewable resource and in the process learned what Clarlie Brown of the comics implied when he said, “There is no heavier burden than great potential”.