ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jeparit

Updated on January 9, 2013

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?

Yes

Yes

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      At one time parts of the desert in Africa were verdant and green. We may not be the cause for dramatic climate change - a slight shift in polar axis can make dramatic differences in our temperature and rain fall. It will be interesting to see what science can figure out about this drought and the one in Africa.

    • Dasher 8 years ago

      Just about every human activity has contributed to climate change so why pick on farmers.

    • anonymous 8 years ago

      The planet was doing fine before humans came along. We're responsible for everything bad that has happened.

    No

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • MelissaAbroad 7 years ago

        Farmers are better ecologists then environmentalists. They know how to turn the land and rotate crops to prevent drying and mineral depletion. Additionally, humans have been farming for thousands and thousands of years. The jetstreams move naturally, moving the hot and cold air with it. Things change. The planet is in a constant state of evolution. People are fools to think they can control the weather, or that we are outside the ecosystem. We are part of it, part of the cycle, not outside of it.

      • Tammylove 8 years ago

        I watch "The Universe" every Tuesday Night with my husband. It is very educational. I believe everything happens in cycles. I don't believe farming per say has had a major effect on the planet. Global warming is a cycle which has happened many times and so will global freezing and the movement of continents, etc... it's all cyclic! I do think all the chemicals we use in the modern world does contribute greatly to our state of health ie... Iowa has one of the highest rates of Alzheimer's and many studies have contributed it to the use of pesticides on farms. Then again, as Mr. Marmalade states we would starve to death without farmers! So, my answer is no on the climate change but if the question was about pesticides my answer would be different.

      • MrMarmalade 8 years ago

        I would have to believe if it was a matter of eating or starving, you should do everything to eat

      • Paul Hassing 8 years ago

        I'm learning more about Jeparit and Lake Hindmarsh every day. But I don't know nearly enough to judge this matter (so I'll say 'no' for now). I'm hoping people like you will educate me and others with your expert knowledge. If you live or work on the land, I'd be particularly grateful for your input.

      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

      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?

      Did you mind that I got distracted by the carpet?

      Quick Quiz

      See results

      Jeparit is a sign of what may come. It's time to look at the big picture.

      What can you tell us about Jeparit? Will the drought ever break? - What do you think will happen to the town and its people?

        0 of 8192 characters used
        Post Comment

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @anonymous: I'm so pleased to get your report, Tammy. Thank you for letting us know. I've seen some wonderful images of the water returning to the lake. Such a happy chapter to this unfolding story. Best regards and thanks again! P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          There is enough water in the lake now for boats and skiing etc. There were at least a couple of hundred camps at four mile beach of the Easter weekend, with more people camping along the river and at different locations around the lake. Jeparit was very busy over the weekend!!

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @darciefrench lm: Here's a full report I just found: http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2011/02/28/3150...

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @darciefrench lm: I just read this from a government report: 'Jeparit recorded the highest daily rainfall during the January floods â 161.2 mm in just one day. This is the highest daily rainfall ever recorded there in over 100 years of record keeping.' I'd say their drought is broken! :)

        • darciefrench lm profile image

          darciefrench lm 6 years ago

          So did the lake flood? Very curious now -:) And I think we had that same carpet at the Holiday Motel in Silver Creek, BC Canada back in the early 70's.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @ChrisDay LM: Thank you, Chris. It's quite an evocative - almost haunting - town. :)

        • ChrisDay LM profile image

          ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

          Very moving images - well put together

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Thank you kindly, Jim. I'll see if I can track her down. :)

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Fantastic stuff, Jim. Thanks very much for that link! :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Check Deb Schilling facebook for recent flood pictures

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gujWfKxvVYI

          Here are some home movies of Lake Hindmarsh In 1956. They used wheat bags for sandbags.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Fantastic news, Jim; thanks for letting us know. I've been scouring the internet for photos of Lake Hindmarsh as I'm very keen to know how it looks. By all reports, it's coming back to life. Such wonderful news. Best regards, P. :)

        • TapIn2U profile image

          TapIn2U 6 years ago

          Well, it is a beautiful place. The pictures say it all. I'm sure people will still keep coming. I'm new to Squidoo - just finished my first Lens on comparing Energy Medicine techniques - and you have some new ones here I look for ward to exploring. Really enjoyed your details and photos - you are an inspiration! Please stop by and visit. Sundae ;-)

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          The lake is filling fast ,the yabbies are in the millions, the town is flooding.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @TapIn2U: Great to see you Sundae! Thank you for sharing your view. I have indeed checked your lens and found it excellent. Keep 'em coming! Best regards, P. :)

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 6 years ago

          @Amy Fricano: Thank you, Windygig; it was very exciting to get my first star. Best regards, P. :)

        • Amy Fricano profile image

          Amy Fricano 6 years ago from WNY

          No idea. Wish I had the magic wand. Well deserved star. Congrats.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 7 years ago

          @anonymous: Thank you, Steve. It's great to have your comment. I remember the last time it was filled. Looked more like a small sea than a lake. I greatly look forward to its return. And yours! Best regards, P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          yes one the lake will fill up have be going there for years it is one place you can go and lay back talk to locals and hear some great thing of the area

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 7 years ago

          @anonymous: Hi, Michelle; great to hear from you. Many thanks for your interest. I've moved on to other projects, but if you wanted to use my words or photos, I'd be happy to chat. Email paul@thefeistyempire.com if you'd like to connect. Best regards, P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Hi Paul. I'm a journalist at the Wimmera Mail-Times, and Jeparit is in our readership. I've just stumbled across your blog and wondering if you're still actively trying to 'save Jeparit'. It might make an interesting article for our readers.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Wish I could ship some of the water we have in North Dakota out there. The water is so darn high in ND. People are getting tired of it and having to fight the flooding.

          Guess we have to take it one day at a time which ever way it is! :) - Susie

        • Stazjia profile image

          Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

          How sad and how depressing for the people that live there. It's particularly sad that visitors from outside the area don't realise they could give some practical help by buying local when they visit even if stuff does cost a bit more.

          Jeparit stands as a warning of the consequences of global warming.

        • SusannaDuffy profile image

          Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

          This lens is one of 5 in the running for an award from the Wander Downunder group (/groups/downunder). Pop over and vote for it!

        • SusannaDuffy profile image

          Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

          What a fabulous lens! I would love this to be in the Wander Downunder group. I do hope that you submit it.. (/groups/downunder)

        • ZenandChic profile image

          Patricia 8 years ago

          We really need to go green and stop the affects of global warming. It is happening everywhere. I hope people start thinking and acting more green. Thanks for making this lens to bring home the affects of global warming.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 8 years ago

          Thank you, Gary, for your priceless insight into the situation on the ground. You just gave this amateur lens credibility. I've transmitted your message to others in the hope that more people will visit Jeparit & spend their money there. I've also asked for ideas as to how we 'townies' might be able to help. However, I'm sensitive to the fact that my efforts may (appear to) be misguided or patronising. Therefore, if we do get some ideas, who (if not you) would be the best person to run them past? Please email paul@thefeistyempire.com if that's easier for you. Best regards, P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Hi Paul, I'm one of the owners of the Jeparit pub with your featured carpet. Unfortunately we were forced by economics to "temporarily" close the pub in July 2008, although we still have hopes. The carpet is safe for the moment, although I confess that I'm a bit fond of it. One of the ironies of Jeparit and it's drought-affected condition is that many of it's out-of-town supporters import their visiting supplies, necessarily having a negative effect on the town's commercial strength. This had been a particular problem for us whenever we had large groups staying. It's a bit galling to have guests (and their non-staying guests) happily use our facilities to consume drinks bought in other places. So we clean up after their barbecues in the beer garden, and dispose of their rubbish and empty bottles brought in from elsewhere, at the same time listening to sad expressions about the state of the town and area. However, as we are optimists, we still accept group bookings for special events.

        • AlisonMeacham profile image

          AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

          What a sad and scary situation. Amazing that for years most people in power denied that climate change even existed.

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 8 years ago

          Thank you for visiting, Tipi. Jeparit's story has certainly struck a chord with a few people. A mate of mine wants to help save the town via tourism. We're going to discuss a field trip this year. Imagine if you came too! P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Oh, hey! The Squidoo guest books had the hic-ups the day I visited before and I couldn't sign-in, Paul. Most glad that I can today. A very well done lens in-deed. Thanks for the Squidoo-Tweet! - Jeparit is a place that I would visit, as I have had Australia on my heart for several years. Even looked into the Embassy about job information. - At one time I was translated into the outbacks, to serve in a food line.

          People walked from no-where to eat and were quite dusty. - I'm still amazed! Thanks for creating this!

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 8 years ago

          Dear Shelly, thanks SO much for your kind words! It's wonderful to receive your visit, for which I'm most grateful. Best regards, P. :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          I've seen your smile all over Tipi's neck of the woods, the last couple days and decided to give you a click and see who you are other than a very encouraging visitor to others. Mays the rains come and may the lake, rivers and people be restored. I'm not a member, so all I can say is very well done! (I'm Tipi's sister)

        • profile image

          jpetals 8 years ago

          Wow, you tell the story well. That is heartbreaking that those families still come camping each year. Great lens. Amazing lens.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          A charming, evocative piece. This corner of the world is drying up (as north-west Australia gets wetter). In the biggest picture, this is the way of things. They change. We adapt. Or not. Thanks for the photo essay. Dry, dusty and very Australian.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          How can farmers be also blamed for golbal warming, In the big picture every breathing thing on this planet produces a gas of some form we as the so appointed caretakers must aspire to in some way develop storm water harvesting and water saving ideas to prevent more towns going down this road .People can no longer count on the rains as they did in my grandmothers time we must take the bull by the horns and work out a sensible solution to this nations water issues remember every water course is raised "one drop at a time "how we raise that water course is up to us.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          A thoughtful and illuminating piece. I agree with Barry from Blackburn's assessment of the photography.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Thanks for joining the Envirolens Group!

        • PaulHassing LM profile image
          Author

          Paul Hassing 8 years ago

          Dear Stinky and GrowWear, thank you both for your kind comments. I especially appreciate them as I'm just getting started. Best regards indeed!

        • profile image

          GrowWear 8 years ago

          It's sad that the town is drying up. I hope it can be saved. ...Your fascination with the pub's carpet made me laugh out loud. I could almost see it running out the door!

        • Stinky LM profile image

          Stinky LM 8 years ago

          Interesting lens. I knew nothing about Jeparit before reading your post. Now I want to know more. I do hope rain comes again to Jeparit. Too many places across the planet are showing stress from the climate changes.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          I concur with Barry, excellent photography. I'd like to see more on this.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Full marks for this nostalgic and evocative article. I join with the psalmist in wishing:' Rorate de super, et nubes pluant aquam!'

          Keep up the good work!

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Great shots - the feeling comes through, not just the vision.

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          These are really excellent shots and really capture the patina of a place that has seen so much. Great subject matter and far better than the average landscapes. You have an excellent eye for the interesting and the light conveys such a sense of emotion and a feeling of actually standing there. Well done.