A syndicate of local landholders have banded together to protect 1600 hectares of precious Point Drummond coastal land for the benefit of their farming and grazing operation, the environment and local beachgoers.
Four years ago, David Doudle, his brother, sister, brother-in-law and a silent partner bought ‘Clearview Point’ at the gateway to the Great Australian Bight in order to diversify their farming operation and sustain three families.
Of the 1600 hectares, about half is arable land for grazing and cropping, with the remaining area being crown land backing onto Point Drummond with a public access road along the cliff tops down to the beach.
“We saw purchasing ‘Clearview Point’ as an opportunity to further our farming and grazing operation, but also to do some significant revegetation and environmental protection work to retain the stunning coastline,” David said.
“The main problem was that the conventional methods of farming that had been used on the property previously were intensive, so the prevailing coastal winds and farming caused a lot of erosion.
“We switched to non-till farming methods and created a 100 metre wide wildlife corridor along the road to revegetate and stabilise, which we immediately saw the benefits of.”
To assist with the cost of carrying out approximately 30 kilometres of fencing needed to protect some 70 hectares of coastal land, the Clearview syndicate applied to the Australian Government’s Envirofund Coastcare program.
‘We were granted $27,000 in 2004 to create the wildlife corridor and to assist with revegetation and fencing materials,” David said, “and we provided the labour.”
The syndicate used Waratah pre-fabricated Stocklock Longlife to protect the area from stock, the preferred choice for many in coastal regions according to OneSteel Waratah Territory Sales Manager Ian Budge.
“The Longlife coating technology protects the wire from the salty sea air which quickly corrodes unprotected wire,” Ian said, “and the ring joint style construction of the Stocklock provides a strong and effective stock barrier. Its 2.80mm High tensile top and bottom line wires also eliminate the need to add additional selvedge wires.
“The Clearview syndicate didn’t want to use barbed wire because of the bird life in the area, so Stocklock was the obvious choice.”
For David, his family and the silent partner, the investment has paid off – so much so that they put in a second application to Envirofund Coastcare to do some further fencing and revegetation.
“We are cropping about 500 hectares annually with wheat, barley, canola and peas, and run 2000 self replacing Dohne sheep.
“To date we haven’t seen any kangaroos in the revegetation area, and the fence has keep the sheep off the crops and off the beach where they like to venture occasionally,” said David.
“We are also playing a significant role in maintaining the Halls Bay beach for the local community to enjoy, so there are benefits for everyone.”