Remembering Rain: The Ghost of Good Seasons Past (1960–69)
This chapter examines the response to the droughts of the 1960s that followed the wet 1950s during the negative phase of the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) from 1947 to 1976. Although these droughts were severe and caused much hardship, official alarm about drought was not shared, to the same degree, by rural producers. Climate optimism in the countryside was grounded in the prior experience of higher-than-average rainfall for a sustained period during the 1950s and early 1960s—it persisted in the rural sector in the face of a fall-off in rainfall. This illustrates a central theme of this book—the relationship of Australians with climate and the management of the environment is propelled by both the immediate experience of rain and by its memory.