Summary

Interview with Greg and Dot Brown by Deb Anderson at Underbool in February 2006. Greg and Dot Brown are dryland farmers in Underbool, Victoria. Greg Brown is a Shire councillor at Mildura Rural City Council and a dryland farmer. He was born in Ouyen and has lived in Underbool his entire life. Greg has his own business which sells farm machinery and fertilisers, a job he has been doing since 1965. As well as working on the family farm, Dot is actively involved with local community groups such as the Girl Guides, Mallee Catchment Authority, Mallee Arts Council, Land Care, the Mallee Tree Group, the Mallee Garden Club and the Rural Fire Brigade. This is a follow-up interview continuing on from Deb's discussions with Greg in February 2005. They discuss further ideas on local weather, climate and climate change and perspectives on science and technology.

This 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

Greg and Dot discuss the weather and crop yields in the past year, weather forecasts and sources of information about the weather, views on climate change, modern technology, community conversations about the weather and drought, the future of farming in his family, Dot’s involvement with the Tree Group and replanting in the Mallee and the drought declaration process and Exceptional Circumstances (EC).

Physical Description

TDK MC-60 mini cassette. An interview with Ivan Mock at the DPI Research Station at Walpeup is on the same tape.

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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