An Irrigation Contrast


J L Dow, ‘Goulburn Valley Farming: An Irrigation Contrast,’ Leader, 15 February 1902, 6.

Transcript: On the other side of the Goulburn, where the irrigation is, a population of nearly 503 is found on the nearest 2000 acres abutting on Shepparton alone; and as for production, the scene is simply a repetition of Passadena, in Southern California, with its flowing water, its frequent and handsome home steads and its wealth of production. One orchardist showed us his books to prove that last year, he sent to the Melbourne market 10,000 cases of peaches, apricots, table grapes, prunes, pears, &c. off 50 acres, on which he paid £200 railway freight, and obtained in gross returns over £1400.



Following the federation of Australian colonies in 1901, ambitious new irrigation schemes became part of nation building.  At Shepparton, the Federation Drought dramatically foregrounded the benefits of irrigation and added political weight to arguments for their extension. On the western side of the Goulburn River, irrigated farming had been pursued since the completion of the Goulburn weir in 1891. Newspaper reports such as this article highlighted how irrigation blocks had seemingly ‘defied’ or ‘defeated’ the Federation drought, describing the verdure and productivity of orchards and lucerne paddocks.

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