The Ord River expansion project at Kununurra
Students will investigate the development of diverse farming systems in the north of Western Australia, with a focus on constructing water, road and community infrastructure and experimenting with different types of agricultural crops. They will look at government policies to enhance food security and develop Australia’s remote and isolated north Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences.
Humanities and Social Sciences
- Year 9 - The human alteration of biomes to produce food, industrial materials and fibres, and the environmental effects of these alterations (ACHGK061)
- Year 9 - The environmental, economic and technological factors that influence crop yields in Australia and across the world (ACHGK062)
- Year 9 - The capacity of the world’s environments to sustainably feed the projected future population to achieve food security for Australia and the world (ACHGK064)
- Year 10 - The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ approaches to custodial responsibility and environmental management in different regions of Australia (ACHGK072)
This video gives a 4 minute overview on farming in Australia, its increased productivity, innovation and global outlook. Produced to celebrate the Year of the Farmer in 2012. 'The greatest story never told' (Accessed 27 June 2015).
This government website provides a gateway to learn about the Ord Final Agreement, to expand agriculture and develop land in Kununurra. This agreement is signed by the state of Western Australia and the Aboriginal people of the Ord region: Ord Final Indigenous Land Use Agreement
The document on the ‘Ord Stage Two’ farming development is from the Department of Regional Development, Western Australia. This large-scale project is described using several names, including the Ord-East Kimberley Development Plan, Ord Stage Two and the Ord Irrigation Expansion Project. Please make students aware of the different names. The Ord East Kimberley Development Plan. (Accessed 27 June 2015)
This article is about young farmers who have started a new business growing fruit, vegetables and legumes in Kununurra. Fresh ideas for family business (Accessed 21 August 2015)
Whole class introduction
The Ord region at Kununurra is an example of a northern Australian landscape that has been altered in order to establish an agricultural industry. Kununurra has a tropical climate and bright red soils. Since the opening of an enormous dam, Lake Argyle in 1972, successive governments have invested money in:
- developing new irrigated farm lands to make use of the water
- researching different agriculture crops that can survive in a tropical climate
- building roads and infrastructure so agricultural products can be delivered to Perth and other capital cities
- providing services to the town of Kununurra so it will become an attractive place for people to relocate to, establish businesses and take up jobs.
Kununurra is now an example of a landscape with ‘patchwork agriculture.’ There are many different types of farms, with products such as melons, cucumber, mangoes, sandalwood, chia, pumpkins and chickpeas.
Throughout the 2000’s, Aboriginal people have been closely involved in the planning of a project to develop a new area of farm land in the Ord region, this is sometimes called ‘Ord Stage Two.’
The Commonwealth and State governments often describe the continued development of Kununurra’s farms and water infrastructure as being important to Australia’s food security.
Kununurra is one of the most remote towns in northern Australia, and is located 3214km from Perth.