Mac Hay visits Kamarooka

The following is an extract from an interview with Mac Hay conducted by Mal Brown

Mac Hay farmed at Kamarooka from 1952 to 1963. He left Kamarooka for Queensland in 1963 and returned for the first time in December 2007, aged 90 years. Despite his frail appearance his mind is sharp and his memory of the paddock history where we are standing is crystal clear.

Mac said, "In 1955 this 100-acre paddock produced a 12 bag to the acre barley crop. In 1956 I bought two bags of a new breed of 'Olympic seed wheat' from Jack Cail and it sowed into the red soil like a market garden. But three weeks later there wasn't a shoot to be seen. I got out and scratched around and tasted the seed. All I could taste was salt. One year was all it took - that's how quick the salt came."

"I got straight on to Dave Elvery at the Soil Conservation Authority. He trialed a small area of saltbush, but it did not persist."

Mac's observation of the transformation at Kamarooka is pointed. "There wasn't a tree on this paddock when I had it. Now you can't see across it. It is a wonderful thing what you all have done."

   Below Mal Brown interviews Mac Hay amidst the NUFG Kamarooka plantation