News of February 2023

“Politicians and media and government encourage us to go to war with death, but

it is good to remember that life is a sexually transmitted, always fatal condition.”

Gavin de Becker (quoted from a recently published book)

Dear Friends


People on the land love talking about the weather. On Kachana at this time of the year the weather can over-ride the best laid out plans within minutes. Biology simply responds to nature’s display of power. We too are left with little choice, but to respond to nature’s law: “Might is Right”. As nature selects for resilient biology and workable plans, with each season, the learning continues.

I was over sixty years old before I learnt the “correct” or ideal response that a land-manger should be able to give when asked “How much rain did you get?”.

In her book, ‘For the Love of Soil’, Nicole Masters, informs us that the “correct” answer ought to be “All of it!”


Well, in February Kachana registered 125 mm of rainfall, which was “only” 48% of the February-average over the years. This is still a lot of water, mind you. If all of Kachana had received that much rain, (and there is a very good chance of that having been the case,) then by my calculations, the water that dropped out of the sky during those 28 days, would have filled a swimming pool, ten meters wide, four meters deep, and 2’421.9 kilometres long! (And, no Nicole, we did not manage to hang on to all of it; a significant portion headed off downstream. We therefore still have a lot of soilbuilding ahead of us!)


People often ask how big Kachana is, or how many cattle we run. In times where nobody in Australia needs to starve, and where many densely settled communities are rapidly running out of water-security, a far more useful question for people living in the ‘lucky country’ might be, “How do you manage your rainfall?”.

Wildfire, floods, droughts and (increasingly in recent years) feral weather are reliable indicators that rainfall is not being managed in ways that support a robust economy. Dirty water is a reliable indicator of deteriorating catchments and declines in landscape productivity, as country (even in high-rainfall areas) loses its capacity to rehydrate. If current trajectories are not reversed, it appears likely that Australians will run out of water-security long before we run out of beef or grass.


Rainfallmanagement is therefore our theme today. The photo-selection below is from pictures that Bob took on his return from Perth. With no longer a bridge over the Fitzroy River, he had to leave his vehicle and trailer in Broome and then fly the last leg. This took him via the Fitzroy River catchment, so some of those photos are included.


Wherever this finds you, we wish you greetings from Kachana and we hope you find the photos to be of interest.

Photos of the Month

News & Views

Bec who is currently Queensland based, manages the  Kachana Station | Facebook and also the Kachana-Station website. Recently she patiently updated ‘kachana pastoral company uncensored’.

New posts include:


Danny, who with Regula decided to also become a Queenslander still manages The latter website is older and contains much of our history as well as back-ground information (including projects that “failed” or still await resuscitation!).


In areas that are unmanaged, under-managed or simply inaccessible, in recent decades, local and State policies have directly led to a replacement of herbivorous activity with fire. Out of sight, out of mind, upper river catchments have been subjected to ecological pain for a long time. Pigeons are looking for places to roost as unintended consequences of (largely well-intended decisions at the time) are now beginning to inflict financial pain on down-stream communities. – I do not like the chances of enthusiastic regulators attempting to override nature’s laws by attempting to legislate and regulate their way out of a predicament that we have spent decades on collectively acting our way into.

Sometime in coming weeks (or months) we hope to make time to update one particular Remote Kimberley Catchment Discussion.


For years now we have been inviting community, government and political support for challenges that can only be effectively addressed with goodwill and coordinated community efforts.

It was therefore heartening in November 2022 to be invited to present at a local ‘Fire Forum'.

Whilst alleged “natural disasters” tend to boost GDP and provide photo-opportunities, once they begin to occur too regularly, such events do little to inspire investor confidence, entrepreneurship and productivity. (Every Dollar spent on band-aid measures and repair is a Dollar that can no longer be spent on generating real new wealth.)

It is therefore our hope that repeated flood-events might alert members of local communities to explore ecologically sound solutions before financial burdens brought on by deteriorating catchments become too great to bear. 


Floods and fires are nothing new, but contexts change. Time spent building a relationship with the land, allows us to study contexts in ways that text-books do not permit. 

“Fossil John”, as he is fondly referred to, is no stranger to devastating flood events and their changing contexts. – Check out our ‘link of the month’! (below)


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Link of the Month

Until recently ‘Fossil Downs’ (300 km SW of Kachana) was the home of John and Anette Henwood.


Listen to Steph Coombes squeezing John for information about hard-earned wisdom.