One of the biodiversity wonders of the world, the region called the Great Southern, in Western Australia, is an agricultural powerhouse with a startling history and an exciting future.

Story By Ken Eastwood

Tucked away in a corner of the country, in a flat arc around Albany, the Great Southern is one of Australia’s quiet achievers. It doesn’t get the press, or the tourist numbers, of its popular south-west sister Margaret River, but yet here is a cosmopolitan region with it all, from its tall tingles and karri in the west, to the botanic bonanza of Fitzgerald River in the east, and from its bountiful waters off the coast, past the bluegum plantations and the jagged, snow-attracting spines of the Stirling Range, to the mallee and yate-fringed wheat and sheep country around Katanning and Jerramungup, where canola bursts forth in spring like golden patches of sunshine.
The 39,000-square-kilometre region produces $4.5 billion worth of gross domestic product a year – not bad for an area with little mining and only 58,000 people. Agriculture is the single biggest earner, netting $790 million a year, making the Great Southern the second-largest agriculture-producing region in Western Australia after the Wheatbelt.

This story excerpt is from Issue #93

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2014