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August 15, 2015

Kununurra is a huge crop growing area in northern West Australia. It has unlimited water supply from Argyle Dam which waters all farms & will still do so when stage 2 of the Ord River development scheme is completed in years to come. The Chinese are now in the process of developing more country of which they have freehold on about 6,000 hectares & are applying for another 7,000 if Bruce remembers the figures correctly. They have literally hundreds of million of dollars into the development.
Another company , Pac Seeds, own land as well on which they grow crops for for various grain crop seeds for planting. Apart from these farmers there are many locals farming as well, growing mangos as well as many small crops.

This Sandelwood factory uses locally grown Sandelwood but the majority is sent to Albany & made into oil for beauty products etc. Sandelwood is a parasitic tree so it needs hosts to get established & these trees are Jute & Sesbania. The trees are planted Jute, Sandlewood, Sesbania, Sandlewood, Jute etc.
Another tree grown for export to China is the Mahogony which is used for furniture making.

There was a stack of Mahogony waiting for export when we were up at Wyndha.

This is the beautiful flower on one of the host trees.

At the moment Jason is growing pumpkins, chick peas, melons and sorgham fodder & employs mostly backpackers. A sandelwood crop is to the right of the mahogony avenue.

The following are some of the crops grown by Pac Seeds
The wheat is also planted with male & female rows for pollination.

On our way back from Keep river we passed the new ground being cleared for development. All for the Chinese.

Closer to town Rocky took us around other farms just to see the water channels around every block. I had always wondered how Chia was grown & now I know. It is harvested with a header the same as wheat. Looking a a crop from a distance it could be mistaken for Lavender with the lilac hues of the flowers.

This is the “water boy” starting the flood irrigation pipes to get the water running from the channels.
You can often see Jabirus Brolgas as well as the Bustards wading in the water.

I certainly hope that the above gives an insight into the huge productivity that can be carried out as long as there is water. Hopefully I have got facts correct as scribbled notes down as were were driving.
This is a couple of photos from our 2006 trip out here with Bundaberg friends & we were being shown around by Noel Smith another mutual friend from the ‘60s. This is on his sugar cane farm when sugar was still grown .

We ad our last couple of nights at Kunna with Mel & Rocky & at last got photos of the Blue winged Kookaburra which arrives very early in the morning & late evening to start its unpleasant call- not at all like the laughing Kooka. They had perched on an outside branch of the Mahogony tree & with me holding a torch Mel got some photos. We think the they were a family as one seemed smaller & rather fluffy.

Many of the travellers who read this will have seen the Boab trees over here in the west but probably not seen the flowers- I certainly had not. Well these are also Mel’s flowers from the tree.
They are rather beautiful. Thanks Mel. No trees with flowers this years as there was not a good wet season.

Good bye to our friends until we meet again over in Bundaberg at their home, probably in October. Thanks for what was supposed to be a week but ended up over 3 weeks. Since we left there on Wednesday,after not doing any posts for blog, I have had an awful lot to catch up & will send from Katherine to-day as have been in no service since leaving.

[Kununurra produce Blue winged Kooka Boab


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