Weekend Wanderings: Salt around Swan Hill


Today for Weekend Wanderings, I thought we could look back at another post that was done on my old blog. I am slowly hoping to bring them all here over time, at least the ones that are still relevant. We are going back to Swan Hill and the salt or salinity problems they have around there.


Weekend Wanderings: Salt around Swan Hill

There is a big environmental problem around Swan Hill and right through the Mallee. The really sad part about it is that it is a man made problem and is only going to get worse if nothing is done to stop it ruining all the soil up there.  The problem is salinity or salt in the soil.

As you drive around you can see the salt pans every where, more in some areas than others. I did some research to find out what causes it and have this extract for you from an article Salinity and water quality fact sheet by the Australian Government.

Quote from the Australian Government

Secondary salinity has occurred with widespread land clearing and altered land use, and may take the form of “dryland salinity” or “irrigation-induced salinity”. Dryland salinity occurs when deep-rooted native plants are removed or replaced with shallow-rooted plants that use less water. As a result of this vegetation imbalance, more water passes through soil to groundwater, raising the water table and bringing salt to the surface where it can be left behind as the water evaporates. Irrigation-induced salinity occurs when excess water applied to crops travels past the root zone to groundwater, raising the water table and salt to the surface. Salt may also be transported across groundwater systems.

I hope that helps explain why it happens. There are ways of fixing it, but it will take a lot of time and money.


How can photography help?

There are ways that we, as photographers, can help places like this.

It might be considered exploitation taking photos of areas that are effected, or it could be though of as a way to help them by highlighting this area. I firmly believe that the more photos we take and share helps to show how bad it is. It is one thing to tell people about what is happening, but it is another when you show them. The photos really highlight what is happening, and makes people care more.

Environmental photography

This is something that we can all be. We can use photography to show what is happening in our environments wherever we live in the world. If you want to do something about a place, then photograph it, show the photos and start the conversation. People seem to relate more to a problem if they can see it.

Without a doubt there is a real problem with salinity and salt up in the Mallee. I grew up in the area and don’t remember it being such a massive problem as it is now. It is a hard life up there, as it is, without having the problem of losing available land to this.

Taking Photos

There is no reason to think that you can’t take amazing photos as well. In fact, I believe, the better the photos the more likely you are to draw people in with them. I plan on going back up there to do just that and to when it isn’t as sunny to see what I can get. I am happy to see if I can get some fine art images of the area. It is also important to always talk about the struggle that is happening up there with the salinity, so it will benefit them as well.


I have some photos of two areas that I photographed. Over time, some of the old Weekend Wanderings posts are going to be given a new life here, not all, but many. I hope you will enjoy them.


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Further Reading

Weekend Wanderings: Silo Art Trail

Mallee and Wimmera Art Silos with a difference

Evolution of an Image: Going Through

You might be interested in …


  1. Oh dear … another mess we have managed to create. I had no idea this was how it was initiated. People need to know, photography helps to make us aware. Keep up the great work Leanne

  2. Well, I can only say these photos of yours are very dramatic. Despite the fact that it’s something like dying, you have just gave it a life. Anyhow, I hope the Australian Government could fix this land no matter how long it takes.

  3. I love seeing your Swan Hill and Mallee photos, I lived and farmed out between SH and Moulamein for over 15 years and still have family up there. I’m very drawn to photography in semi-arid country, not that I get there very often these days.

    1. That’s great to hear, I love going up there to take photos, though haven’t been out that way for for years. I grew up around there too. I quite like that sort of photography as well. Thank you.

  4. Your photos really do convey a sense of desolation and destruction. I hope you are right and that it raises awareness of the ecological problems in this area and the environment more generally.

    1. I am so glad to hear you get that desolation and destruction. I would really hope that it does, make more people aware of it.Thank you Laura.

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