• Short Summary

    Drought crisis areas have been declared in parts of the Australian out-back. Some areas have?

  • Description

    GV: Farmer feeding cattle from back of truck, cows running towards truck as bales of hay are thrown to the ground.

    CU: Farmer Mick Coleman driving truck.

    GV: Mick Coleman's grand-son throwing hay from truck to cattle.

    CU: Mr Lewis Symmonds cutting down trees to feed sheep. (2 shots)

    CU PAN: Dried up river bed TO reporter Gary Scully speaking to camera. (3 shots)

    CU PAN FROM: dead lamb in river bed TO GV dried river bed.

    GV: Farmers Pat Evans feeding grain from truck to herd of sheep and sheep eating. (3 shots)

    CU: Pat Evans pouring grain from truck.

    GV: Cloud in sky and setting sun. (2 shots)

    TRANSCRIPT: SCULLY: "Ross Common station is on the edge of Narran Lake about fifty kilometres (thirty miles) north of Warren. There has been no decent rain here since November last year. Normally they have about thirty-five centimetres (thirteen-and-a-half inches) a year. Little more than twelve centimetres (four-and-a-half inches) has fallen in as many months, none of it steady enough to be of much help.

    The owner Mr Mick Coleman has been hand feeding his stock for the past five months. Today it is easier because his grandson Ross is out from Warren to help. Normally Ross Common carries about one thousand head of Hereford cattle. Because of the drought, Mick Coleman has had to sell all but the last three hundred and most of his sheep.

    His neighbour Mr. Lewis Symmonds on Bandarrah station is cutting scrub to feed his stock. He has already chopped down so many small trees that parts of Bandarrah look like a battlefield. Last May Lewis Symmonds topped the wool market for his fleece with a price of two hundred and forty-eight and a half cents a kilo. Now nearly half the flock that has produced this wool have been sold or sent to Dubbo. And he lives by a lake.

    This parched land is normally the bed of Warren Lake and normally it is under water. In fact the gauge you see behind me was put in by the water conservation people to show the rise and fall of the lake level. It has got nothing to show at the moment because the water is about one kilometre (half a mile) down that way.

    Lew Symmonds, Mick Coleman and the others here have watched their weakened stock come to seek the water here, and die, trapped in the mud.

    One hundred and fifty kilometres (ninety-three miles) at Kumbai Chance south of Wallget Pat Evans is hand feeding sheep on Oakleigh Station. He puts out two tonnes of oats every second day at a cost of about 140 dollars (70 pounds). Hand feeding has already cost six and a half thousand dollars (3,000 pounds). He has had to sell more than a quarter of the sheep on the property and a herd of 140 beef Herefords. Pat Evans is employed here. He had his own property until 1974. Then there was too much water. He watched helpless as one thousand eight hundred of his sheep died in a flood.

    Each day, the men in this drought area, men like Pat Evans, Lewis Symmonds and Mick Coleman check the sky for signs of rain. Each day they hope. Gary Scully reporting from the outback."

    Initials RH/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Drought crisis areas have been declared in parts of the Australian out-back. Some areas have not had rain for four years, and farmers face financial ruin if there is no rain soon. Dead sheep and cattle litter the landscape, and farmers are cutting down valuable vegetation in their efforts to feed their stock. The A.B.C.'s Gary Scully reports.

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