“The sea below the desert”

Brisbane – Blackall – Muttaburra, August–October 1929

Ross considers the Great Artesian Basin in Australia, which in his mind holds enormous potential for the cultivation of more areas in Australia.

Driving through Queensland, Ross sees that the Great Artesian Basin is mainly used for watering sheep. He muses that extensive sheep farming in this area could be replaced by a far more effective cultivation of the land, if only “the water that is now below the ground, could be brought up” in bigger quantities than through wells. [p. 7] The implication is that, with the help of engineers (see: Engineering), more of Australia could be turned into Kulturboden—given that the inhabitants are willing to do so.

Ross goes on to recount the two competing theories about the Basin’s nature, and tries to square them with his travel experiences (about dry river beds and reused washing water) and anecdotes he heard on the trip. (For a similar combination of narration and information, see: “A night of flaming red”) Unsurprisingly, Ross agrees with the theory according to which many Australian rivers flow into the underground basin, which makes it a less limited resource.

Joachim Schätz

Colin Ross. Das Meer unter der Wüste. Volksblatt für Stadt und Land. Jg. 62, Nr. 3. 1931 Jan 18; 7–8.

Topic: Kulturboden
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

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