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1864

  • First Adelaide Cup run; won by Falcon.
  • 1864-1865: Severe drought.

Prior to the 1860s droughts were scarcely noticed as most settlers were living in areas with reliable rainfall. It was the drought of 1864-65 which led to the drawing of Goyder's 'line of rainfall' indicating the limit of the rainfall which separated lands suitable for agriculture from those fit for pastoral use only. It marked areas of reliable and unreliable annual rainfall, and was pivotal in raising awareness for South Australian settlers of the limits for successful agriculture.

For more information see The Foundation of South Australia: 1852-1883, Key events and issues.

For more information about drought see SA Memory: Water land sky: Drought

Drought conditions in the far north of South Australia
Title : Drought conditions in the far north of South Australia Drought conditions in the far north of South Australia
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Creator : Minchin, R. E. (Richard Ernest), 1832-1893
Source : B 62341
Date of creation : 1867
Format : Artwork
Dimensions : 200 x 155 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Sketch of drought conditions in the far north of South Australia showing carrion and dead stock, by Richard Ernest Minchin.


The definition of 'drought' is complex, and dependent on different factors such as location and climatic zone. Droughts are generally accepted to be prolonged periods of abnormally dry weather, in which the scarcity of moisture adversely affects vegetation and animal life in an area. Although usually seen as negative it is useful to understand that drought events are a natural part of many ecosystems and may play an important role in the functioning of these ecosystems.

Richard Ernest Minchin was a painter,photographer and public servant who went on to become the founder of the Adelaide Zoological Gardens. Born on 5 March 1831 in Ireland, he arrived in South Australia with a brother, Henry Paul in 1851, on board the Stag. He then moved to Victoria where he married his first wife, Ellen Rebecca Ocock.

Minchin later moved his wife and young son back to South Australia where in 1857 he was appointed a third-class clerk in the civil service. From 1859-69 he worked in the new Land Titles Registration Department as second draftsman, then for approximately 14 years from 1870 he was employed as a departmental contractor.

Minchin was a prime mover in establishing the South Australian Acclimatization Society which was founded in July 1878. Primarily through his work. the name was changed to the South Australian Zoological and Acclimatization Society. He then became a prime mover in the attempt to create a zoological gardens in Adelaide. Despite considerable opposition the project was finally approved. Richard E Minchin was appointed the first Director of the proposed Adelaide Zoological Gardens in 1881. As an art teacher at Prince Alfred College, he was also connected with the Fine Arts Committee. His second wife was Elison Barbara Christina Macgeorge. He died at Mt Barker on 4 January 1893 at the age of 61.

Subjects
Related names :

Minchin, R. E. (Richard Ernest), 1832-1893, artist.

Coverage year : 1867
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Far North
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
Further reading :

Drought, dust and deluge: a century of climatic extremes in Australia [Melbourne]: Bureau of Meteorology, 2004

McKernan, Michael. Drought: the red marauder, Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2005

Shepherd, K. J. Critical droughts on the River Murray in South Australia, Adelaide, S. Aust.: Engineering and Water Supply Dept., 1971

Internet links :

Australian Dictionary of Biography, see Minchin, RE

Department for Environment and Heritage

Downstream : State Library's River Murray Website

Goyder's Line : SA Memory page

Living with drought : Bureau of Meteorology website


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