I asked Peter here at Pinnacle Springs Station about any positive or negative effects of the railway that used to run past their property on local people and/or the environment.
Peter – “There really aren’t any negative effects on the environment that I know of. Wallabees and other animals can jump over the line quite easily. Perhaps the most affected were the local people.
When they closed the railway in 1994, there was no way to get our cattle out to market during the wet season - the rivers were/still are just too high for trucks to pass through. And up until April – just before the dry season starts – is when the prices are highest. So we’ve been unable to take advantage of the good prices ever since.
The other problem has been getting mail, supplies and groceries. We used to be able to call up Mareeba – 300kms away – and put in an order once a month. They’d drop the goods off by the rail siding at the end of our property on their way through to Mt. Surprise. When they closed the line the authorities came to every town and asked the locals what they wanted. We all said “bring the railway back”. But they spent 8 million dollars on a tourist railmotor instead. So now we have to drive to Mareeba and back to get groceries – a round trip of 600 kms – which is high impossible during the wet season.”
Suggested learning activity: investigate a main line of communication near where you live – like a railway line or a major road – and find out what effects, either positive or negative, it has on local people and/or the environment since its construction/closure.