Thursday, April 19, 2007

Australia - The Last Frontier

Perth, Western Australia
April 20, 2007

I came to Western Australia in 1965 and with a Houston corporate entity co-founded a vertically integrated agriculture empire. It was the biggest in West Kimberley Region history. Seven cattle stations comprised 6,700 square miles and were stocked with 100,000 Brahman and Shorthorn cattle, and 1,500 horses. We constructed a feed lot and pioneered the feed lotting of cattle then a zero dollar export earner for Australia, today a $2.5 billion market. An irrigation farm development of 100 square miles produced record grain sorghum crops. Our program sold government on making the Port of Broome a deep water port, it had been a tidal port which restricted accesss. An agency subsidiary represented Shell, Goodyear, trucking companies and was a communication base for the Company with its staff representing 28 countries of birth. The Company marketed 37% of Western Australian Region cattle putting $1 of every $3 in circulation for a twenty year period. This is a region with a "wet" and a "dry"season, the "wet" realized from cyclones in the December-April period. The West Kimberley experienced a mini-tsunami with record rainfall putting the Fitzroy River in flood. Sixty thousand cattle on the Fitzroy River frontage were drowned along with countless horses and wildlife. The 100,000 square mile farm infra-structure was destroyed. Simultaneously a ship loaded with machinery and fertilizer burned in the Gulf of Mexico. It meant the demise of our pioneering effort.

Upon reflection flood control measures, rarely constructed in today's Australia, would have prevented sucha disaster. West Australia is a state, that if a country, would be the world's 8th largest. 86% of rainfall occurs in the West Kimberley Region, a region larger than Texas and with a population of fewer than 30,000. The region has tremendous renewable resources and a potential equal to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The Fitzroy River and the Rio Grande River have the same four million acre feet water flow. They have similar climates and numbers in bird life with each a major flyway. Eco-tourism in the Rio Grande $1.7 billion in the West Kimberley $260 million. The Rio Grande River boasts two dams, the Fitzroy none. The Rio Grande a $16 billion economy, the Fitzroy maybe a third of a billion. It means opportunity for someone seeking the new frontier and new challenges.

In this blog I will be covering development opportunities and reporting on the general events here Down Under. Let me hear from you.
Texas Jack