John Endersby has had a long history with, and has developed extensive experience in grassland management both for restoration of native grasslands and feedstock grasses for domestic farming.
In 2014, the Natural History Society of South Australia Management Committee tasked John with developing a land management plan for Moorunde Wildlife Reserve. John developed the following draft plan with emphasis on the restoration of the declining native grassland habitat of the reserve, a habitat essential for the long term survival of the reserve’s wombat population.
John added the following Appendix to the management plan further detailing the deteriorating soil condition and the methods and equipment required to repair this decay.
However, the Management Committee responsible for Moorunde rejected this plan, deciding that human intervention was unnecessary and clarified their position that natural processes would best determine the future of the reserve’s native flora and fauna. A notion disputed by John, based on the the growing body of evidence that humans have managed this environment for tens of thousands of years and have played an integral role in the maintenance and viability of native habitat supporting plants and animals, during significant climate change since the last ice age. Throughout this period of time, the First People maintained the land as it was during the ice age, with grassland being the dominant vegetation habitat.
In September 2017, John provided a talk on this topic at a Friends of Private Bushland forum. See the following link for John’s presentation slides. Although not annotated with John’s commentary, the slides highlight the importance of native grasslands and the need to maintain this habitat.
The development of the Rhine Villa (Cambrai) and adjacent communities on the Murray Plains appears to have progressed very slowly, for several years, after captain Charles Sturt and his men rowed down the Murray River in 1830.
Eight years after this exploratory journey ‘The Overlanders’ brought the first cattle to travel overland from Sydney to Adelaide through this area. Joseph Hawdon, one of ‘The Overlanders’ wrote in his diary:-
“They crossed the Murray River on the 23rd March 1838” (near where Swan Reach stands today.) He also noted when travelling west “They were approaching hills without timber covering.” After passing the future site of Sedan they moved towards a water course known as the Marne, and “Because they found plentiful grass and water they decided to rest the cattle before moving on to the eastern side of Mt. Barker”
History of Cambrai – The Early Years
Historical Reality: The myth of scrub:
“Supposing a line to be drawn from the parallel of 34 degrees 40 minutes to the eastward, it will strike the Murray river about 25 miles above the head of the lake, and will clear the ranges, of which Mount Lofty and Mount Barker are the respective terminations. The line will cut off a space whose greatest breadth will be 55 miles, whose length from north to south will be 75, and whose surface exceeds 7 millions of acres; from which if we deduct 2 millions for the unavailable hills, we shall have 5 millions of acres of land, of rich soil, upon which no scrub exists”
Two expeditions into the interior of southern Australia during the years 1828,1829,1830,1831
Capt. Charles Sturt, 39th Regt. F.L.S. and F.R.G.S.