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Salinity and change

Salinity and change

Salinisation is a powerful process. Salinity can kill plants and destroy expensive infrastructure. Crops and pastures cannot grow, brick walls crumble away. Across the Wagga Wagga region people have responded in various and creative ways to the phenomenon of salinisation. As salinity changes human perceptions and actions, places change too.

People, salinity and change

People shape places. How we see and talk about land influences how we engage with it. Problems like salinity have been exacerbated by the ecological changes made across the Wagga Wagga region since settlement in the 19th century. Careful and innovative responses by people to the phenomenon of salinisation reveal shifting understandings and perceptions of land.

Graeme Willis
Photo: George Main   

Graeme Willis is the third generation of his family to run Willis Bricks. Salinity now threatens his livelihood.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Willis Bricks

Graham Strong
Photo: George Main   

Salinity outbreaks near their farm have led Graham Strong and his family to think and farm differently.

Related Pass the Salt stories: DancePlant t-shirt  |  Arcadia  |  Rosie Smith

Flo Grant
Photo: George Main   

Flo Grant, a Wiradjuri elder, manages a living-skills and cultural learning place. '... we've all got to work together to heal land and preserve our water, because we build for the next generation.'

Related Pass the Salt stories: Wiradjuri Yalbalingada

Max Chamberlain
Photo: George Main   

Salinisation of some low-lying parts of his property has led wheat and sheep farmer Max Chamberlain to propagate and plant tens of thousands of trees and shrubs.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Hamilton treeplanter  |  Narua

Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group
Photo: Petrina Quinn   

The Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group has been an essential part of community responses to salinity in the Wagga Wagga region for more than ten years.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Emblem Park

Places, salinity and change

Places tell stories. The patterns and particularities encountered in places reveal entangled histories of land, people and other species. Crumbling brick walls, salinity scalds, gardens of Indigenous plants and signs explaining salinisation speak of the various and shifting ways people have imagined and engaged with land across the Wagga Wagga district.

Photo: Naomi Zouwer

At ErinEarth, Sisters from the Mt Erin convent are exploring how to live in a more sustainable way.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Sister Carmel Wallis

South Campus
Photo: Naomi Zouwer

Once a popular sporting venue, South Campus is now unused due to the effects of salinisation.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Monitoring bore no. 9

Willis Bricks
Photo: Naomi Zouwer

At Willis Bricks, repeated firing and cooling of kilns has hastened the corrosive effects of salinity.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Graeme Willis

Photo: George Main   

At Arcadia, the Strong family have developed innovative approaches to living with salinity. They share their ideas and knowledge through regular field days on the property.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Graham Strong  |  Rosie Smith  |  DancePlant t-shirt  |  Native plant seed bank

Wiradjuri Yalbalingada
Photo: George Main   

As part of teaching young Wiradjuri people living skills at Wiradjuri Yalbalingada, Aboriginal elders are establishing a native plant nursery.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Flo Grant

Photo: George Main   

Since discovering salt scalds appearing on part of their property, the Chamberlain family has propagated and planted tens of thousands of trees on Narua to lower the watertable.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Max Chamberlain  |  Hamilton treeplanter

Objects, salinity and change

Objects have histories. As salinity reshapes places and draws responses from residents of the Wagga Wagga district, a diverse range of objects record and tell these stories of dynamic interaction between land and people. On close inspection, objects reveal rich histories of changes brought by salinity to places and to human perceptions and behaviour.

Salt Art
Photo: George Main   

Unsustainable Thirst offers an artistic interpretation of the relationship between salinity and the history of European settlement.

Danceplant t-shirt
Photo: George Serras

This t-shirt came out of DancePlant events where people planted trees all day and danced all night.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Graham Strong

Groundwater map
Photo courtesy: Wagga
Wagga City Council

The Groundwater map indicates areas at high risk of salinity. It was issued by local Council as one of its public education salinity initiatives.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Emblem Park  |  Wagga Wagga Urban Landcare Group

Hamilton treeplanter
Photo: George Main     

Max Chamberlain's Hamilton tree planter is well-worn from having been used to plant tens of thousands of trees on his Narua property.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Max Chamberlain  |  Narua