Summary

Interview with Jim Maynard by Deb Anderson at Mildura in February 2005. Jim Maynard is a dryland farmer and Chairman of the Board of the Mallee Sustainable Farming Project in Mildura. He is a fourth-generation farmer on his family’s property located 30km east of Mildura in New South Wales. Jim discusses his work with the Mallee Sustainable Farming Project and the impact of drought in the Mallee.

This interview is one of 24 oral histories documenting the lived experience of drought, and the cultural and historical construction of climate, and which forms the Mallee Climate Oral History Collection. This Collection is an outcome of the PhD research by Deb Anderson. In 2003 Deb Anderson received a Doctoral Research Scholarship, jointly sponsored by the University of Melbourne (Australian Centre) and Museum Victoria. The key focus of her cross-disciplinary research was the lived experience of drought and perceptions of climate change in the Victorian Mallee.

These oral histories and photographs are featured in a book by Deb Anderson, entitled 'Endurance: Australian Stories of Drought', published by CSIRO in 2014.

The project has direct links to individuals, locations and themes featured in the Victorian Women on Farms Gathering Collection, Australia's Biggest Family Album and the Future Harvest project.

Description of Content

Jim discusses his work with the Mallee Sustainable Farming Project and his personal attachment to his property, his perception of the drought, memories of the droughts in 1967-1968, early 1980s and 1990s, pressures caused by the recent drought, community’s coping strategies with the drought, drought assistance through Exceptional Circumstances, weather forecasting and media coverage, seasonal forecasting technology, changing farming practices, natural indicators of a pending drought, passing of experimental and farming knowledge through generations and the future of farming in the Mallee.

Physical Description

Imation brand Compact Disc.

Significance

This collection documents the lived experience of drought and perceptions of climate change in the semi-arid Mallee wheat-belt of Victoria. This project coincided with a key moment in time when Australians were confronted with the issue of climate change and its meaning for their futures. The oral histories and photographs document the enduring historical narratives of Mallee life of endurance, adaptation and survival, which are placed in the context of contemporary concerns about drought and climate variability, and an uncertain future in a climate change world.

A ‘life history’ approach was used for each participant in the oral history project. The interviews allowed participants to talk about their lived experience of drought and perceptions of climate change, in their own terms. These 22 people come from a variety of backgrounds and community involvement: farmers, financial counsellors, members of social action and welfare groups, members of local government, a newspaper editor, a nurse, educators, administrators, agronomists and researchers. The photographs support the oral histories with images of the participants in the context of their family, farm, and broader rural landscape.

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