1944 Ord Scientific Survey

1944 Soil Survey Report - GH Burvill

Naming of blacksoil as "Cununurra Clay"

 During 1944 scientists from CSIR with WA Dept. of Agriculture and others, descended on the Ord for extensive scientific field work to survey soils, entomology (insect studies) and to make agricultural investigations.  Together with Kim Durack, who'd been at Carlton Reach since 1941, they agreed on the "Dillon's Bottle Tree" (boab) site for the future (1946) Kimberley Research Station (KRS), as the Carlton Reach experimental site was alluvial soils, whereas the new "KRS" site had better access to the predominant 'blacksoil' of the irrigable area. 

 The soil scientists on this 1944 expedition named this predominant blacksoil as "Cununurra Clay," after receiving advice from Mrs H. Miller (Mary Durack), who related it was a local Aboriginal word, which "means Ord River or possibly any big river" [Big Waters?], as well as giving other names, Meruin and Winbidji, which were both names of waterholes on the Ord River [Ben Ward told me today that they are now both under the waters of Lake Argyle - AB 30 VI 2020]. The PWD surveyors (see 1943 - Ray Hames Diary) were also involved to do a more thorough survey of the Argyle basin catchment. Also suggested by Mary Durack to the soil scientists in 1944 were two "Names of local male aborigines" as "Chunama" and Rainyerri."

[Ben Ward who came into the museum today confirmed that these two names are both names of the same man, the man who 'grew Ben up' as his own son, Jeffrey Chunuma - Aboriginal name 'Rainyyerri,' who Elizabeth and Mary Durack first befriended at Ivanhoe in the 1920s when he was just a young boy.  I met and knew Jeffrey Chunama through Ben Ward from 1996 at Waringarri media and around Kununurra through the late 1990s until his death - Andrew Barker for KHS 30 VI 2020.]

Appendix C - Aboriginal Names used in Naming Soil Types. of his 1945 paper "1944 Ord River Soil Survey WA Dept. of Agriculture report by GH Burvill. Read more about the 1944 Ord Scientific Survey.

[Image - Appendix C from the 1944 Ord River Soil Survey WA Ag. Dept. Report by GH Burvill, published in 1945 - Donated to KHS by Clive Massey in 2011 - Kununurra Historical Society (KHS) Archive No. KHS-2011-50-a-H32-D-54]

1944 Entomology Report by Clee Jenkins

At Kununurra Museum we have the original 1944 report of the first investigations into the Entomology of the Ord River region by WA Department of Agriculture Entomologist, Clee Jenkins.  It was donated by the family of a later Ord River Irrigation Area Entomologist, Kevin Richards who was in the ORIA during the early 1960s and worked under Clee Jenkins at the Department of Agriculture. You can ask to view this at the Kununurra Museum.