Summary

Interview with Pam Elliott by Deb Anderson at Walpeup in February 2005. Pam Elliott is a dryland farmer and receptionist at the Department of Primary Industries’ Mallee Research Station. Pam was born in the Mallee region and has lived in Ouyen her entire life. She lives on a property just outside of Ouyen which is owned by her father. In this interview Pam discusses the impact of the drought in the Mallee and her thoughts of the region's future.

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

Pam discusses changes in the Mallee’s farms and population, community’s resilience through drought, memories of the 1982 drought, the mouse plague and its connection with the drought, ‘green’ living, longing for rain, government policy, attitudes towards the environment, working on the farm, frequency of drought, science and technology, changing farming practices and the future of the Mallee. She also describes the Mallee’s landscape when there is rain and compares it during a drought.

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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