Welcome to Jeparit. A town without water. Can it be saved in time?
The small country town of Jeparit is a fascinating Australian location, rich in history but dying of thirst.
Though Jeparit is the birthplace of Australia's longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, Jeparit is suffering chronic and acute stress from lack of rain.
Welcome to a striking, personal view of the effects of global warming that are happening right now. Can Jeparit, its river, its lake, its wildlife and its hardy, resourceful people be saved before it's too late?
Jeparit. A land of thirst.
The sun shines brightly on the old pub. The beer is cool and tastes good high on the broad verandah. But the town has no water and the people are suffering.
Lake Hindmarsh, near Jeparit. The water used to be over my head.
There hasn't been any water in Lake Hindmarsh for years, but people still camp by the shore every Easter, as they always have. Can you see them in the distance? They used to sail boats. Now they ride motor bikes and quads. I hope the lake fills again one day for them.
Yet many years ago, an experienced fisherman drowned in this lake! - The irony of being in the wrong place at the wrong time was never crueler.
The gracious matriarch on the right lost her husband in Jeparit's Lake Hindmarsh. Hard to believe, when you can see cracks opening in the hotel as its very foundations give up their moisture.
From the pub's verandah, you can look straight into Jeparit's history. - Silos at the empty rail yard give mute testament to Jeparit's better times.
According to Wikipedia: 'In June 2008 Pacific National and grain handler GrainCorp announced they would cease rail freight operations on the Yaapeet to Dimboola line. As a result farmers at Rainbow, Jeparit and Yaapeet must truck their grain to GrainCorp's Warracknabeal grain centre instead of the Rainbow depot.' Folks were not happy about this.
The simple sentences of the Western Victorian Railfans Guide paint an evocative story of decline: 'Jeparit was once the junction station for the Yanac line, and thus boasts a larger three road yard... The line terminates with a simple dead-end beyond the siding... This line has not seen a train since June 2007.'
Is it just me, or does this sound really sad?
Farmers have been described as both saviours & destroyers of the land. - As more of Australia becomes unviable for farming, what do YOU think?
Has farming contributed to climate change?
Jeparit's pub has carpet from another world.
The carpet in the pub has to be seen to be believed. Check out this crazy pattern! I wish I'd been a fly on the wall when this deal was closed!
More about that carpet!
The carpet fills every room, spills into the corridors and is even making a break for the verandah. Here it is, trying to sneak outside, imagining itself unobserved.
OK. This lens is supposed to be about climate change, not carpet! - However, as so many people have expressed interest in the carpet, here's one more photo. And
Click here to learn more about Jeparit.
- The Age
Fascinating and poignant article about Jeparit from The Age newspaper.
- The Australian
Interesting background article from The Australian newspaper.
- The Sydney Morning Herald
Useful article that details Jeparit's claims to fame as the birthplace of Sir Robert Menzies (Australia's longest serving Prime Minister) and the setting for Peter Carey's 1985 novel Illywhacker. See below for relevant texts.
- The Feisty Empire
My expert writing, editing and proofreading site.
- Liferal; celebrate life!
A new word I wish to add to the English language.
Everywhere you look, there are strangely attractive sights. - Night has fallen and the beer sign hums and radiates, to the delight of moths.
Amazing how something so prosaic during the day can transform with light. Who was it that said (something like): 'At the right time and in the right light, everything is beautiful'?
Raising the roof.
The pressed metal ceiling looks bizarre at night. I wonder how old it is?