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Western Australian Studies
Noel McFarland (1971-1978)
BACKYARD 6 — GERALDTON, WEST AUSTRALIA

home Howatharra Botanical Photo Gallery Howatharra Plant Species List pdfs maps links
FINAL COMMENT
The Fruits of "Progress"
I continue to hope that the State calling itself "THE WILDFLOWER STATE" (the endlessly trumpeted tourist-attracting refrain of the region), has by now fully awakened to the relentlessly destructive forces of so-called "development", and is (therefore) taking all of the necessary pre-emptive steps to effectively protect whatever may remain, of its once-spectacular native floral heritage(?)....
These remarks apply particularly to the localities of greatest botanical diversity and endemism, which (unfortunately) also happen to be mostly in or near the zones of maximum population-pressure and "growth" in the state -- this being the coastal/subcoastal southwestern arc, which commences somewhere to the north of Kalbarri and Geraldton, then extending southward down through Kalgoorlie and Perth, thence eastward toward Balladonia, and along the south coast from Albany to about 120 mi. east of Esperance. Clearing ("development") in this region has already surpassed 80-90% (+) in many localities. Numerous unique heathland plant associations in the "developed" regions have been totally wiped out (erased/ kaput/gone forever), before they could be carefully inventoried by botanists or other naturalists. Exactly what has been lost will never be known.... We can thank a certain (deceased) American radio talk-show host for launching this reflex "developing"-behaviour in the Esperance district, about 5 decades ago. He demonstrated exactly how that Sacred Cow, "Progress", had been rendered all across North America. This then caught on (all-too-successfully!) in Western Australia, and the mindless trend toward mass-destruction (oops, "development") really took off....
Chambers of Commerce, always ever-so-busy promoting Tourism, tend to studiously "overlook" the FACT that, if they are trying to attract "growth-&-development" (which invariably they are), then they should quit raving on about the "natural attractions"(in the case of W.A., the unique native flora), because the former (growth & "development") typically leads to the outright destruction of the latter (natural heritage)!!.... This is not rocket-science: There are HUGE conflicts-of-interest here!!... [Prediction: Given no legal restraints, the greedy developers will want it ALL -- every last scrap....]
The only solution, if both approaches are going to be sustained, is to get busy protecting (with serious legal teeth) all of the most important remaining scraps (remnants) of the fast-disappearing natural botanical heritage -- the tourist-bait. Lacking the motivation even to do that, then at least be honest about it and quit trying to promote tourism by means of a steadily diminishing resource (the native flora), which -- if not effectively protected by law-- will soon be erased or badly degraded throughout most of the densely populated southwestern localities, directly as a result of relentless and ever-expanding "development" (initiated and fueled by the Chambers of Commerce in the first place).... IF a state of near total degradation is eventually reached, it would then be high time for a quiet withdrawal of "The Wildflower State" BANNER, which would (at that point) have become merely a bad joke. Let's hope that never comes to pass....
Of course, some sort of new tourist-bait could no doubt be invented.... But there is nothing else out there that can even begin to match the spectacular, colorful, bizarre, and utterly unique native flora of the State of Western Australia, which is unlike that of any other region on the entire planet!.... ALL that's needed is effective protection from the mindless money-grubbers, who like to imagine that everything they do labelled "development" is automatically "improving" the environment. It isn't: When you've seen one subdivision (or wheat paddock) you've seen them all.... Who "needs" to travel thousands of miles merely to look to look at THAT???!!! Just stay home, and go stare at your nearest local wheat monocultures, thereby saving hundreds (thousands?) of dollars in pointless long-distance travel!!....
Keep in mind that the best of the wildflower show in W.A. is mostly restricted to a relatively narrow annual "window", which falls somewhere between June and November, depending on the latitude. Peak-of-bloom at Howatharra Hill Reserve typically unfolds between late July and late August, depending on the year and the local rainfall patterns. Further south, the peak-of-bloom usually comes later (Sep.-Oct.).... Most years, it is a safe bet that one can see the peak-of-bloom during early to mid August at Howatharra; by mid September, much of the show is already over, or fading fast, in the Howatharra locality....
LONG LIVE (the unique concept of) "THE WILDFLOWER STATE"!!

~ Noel McFarland (2009)
6A — Nemopterid & Moth Studies

NEMOPTERID Study

Moth Study (CARTHAEA)


6B — Sidetracked by Stapeliads!

Sidetracked by Stapeliads!


6C — Howatharra Hill Reserve

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE

The EARLY HISTORY of HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE near GERALDTON, WESTERN AUSTRALIA (1968-1988)

The Concept of So-Called "DEVELOPMENT"

HOWATHARRA: INTERPRETATION of the SPREADSHEET COLUMNS

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: ABOUT the "ZONES" CREATED FOR DOCUMENTING LOCATIONS on the Reserve

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: FLOWER COLOURS CODED

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: Comments on the PHOTOS in the GALLERY

MORE PLANT DOCUMENTATION NEEDED at HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE!

HOWATHARRA HILL RESERVE: BOTANICAL PHOTO GALLERY

FINAL COMMENT: The Fruits of "Progress"