In "a land of sweeping plains...of droughts and flooding rains"* Australian eyes and ears are perpetually attuned to the weather forecast. In late 2019, much of Australia's Eastern states was in the grip of a devastating drought of 4 years duration. The situation remains much as was recorded a century ago, in the 1919 article posted here.
In 2020 many towns have run out of drinking water and become reliant upon that being carted daily from depleted reserves. Farmers hand-feeding livestock for more than 3 years have been brought to the point of selling their herds and hay continues to be trucked from short supplies in other states to keep the last vestiges of breeding stock alive. This summer has seen catastrophic fire bring devastation to landscape, community and wildlife, such as we've never experienced before.
Climate Change is happening, the planet is warming and summers are getting hotter, but a complexity of circumstances has created Australia's devastating 2019-2020 summer infernos. Most of this country is suffering as it has always done, through years without rainfall; and fact-finders might also begin to acknowledge the years of mis-management of this particular landscape. Laws put in place to actively prohibit the clearing of dangerous fuel loads. First Custodians of this continent managed the land successfully for more than 50,000 years. In just over two centuries, down the years of European management, all has been undone.
Currently monitoring our local situation is retired earth scientist Garry Speight, who has been drawing upon his vast knowledge of weather patterns and climate fluctuations in a thorough mapping of our more recent local weather. Although his own temperature records go back to just 1999, he notes changes in the climate since then, in Manilla and in the wider world. Garry's monthly and seasonal weather reports published in the "Manilla Express" from June 2007 onwards, can be found in the 'Archives' panel on his CLIMATE BLOG.
*lines taken from the poem "My Country" by Dorothea Mackeller
HISTORY of MANILLA N.S.W.