The Barrier Field Naturalists story explores the unique and diverse natural environment of the West Darling Region and offers a fascinating insight into early environmental history of the area.
In addition to cataloguing and recording the natural environment, they are best known for developing the Regeneration Area around the city to combat the relentless dust storms to plague Broken Hill in the early days.
The Barrier Field Naturalists Club was formed in Broken Hill in 1920 and members met at the Technical College in Argent Street. The group were interested in investigating the natural environment and recording the achievements of some of the district’s pioneers. They undertook field trips to observe and record information about the plants and animals of the semi arid region. The group continues today.
The club was founded by Dr. W.D.K. MacGillvray and Albert Morris. Both men played significant roles in the understanding of the region’s flora and the environmental history of Broken Hill.
Morris was the first secretary of the Club and a keen, self-taught botanist. He experimented with plants suitable for Broken Hill’s harsh environment and played an important role in a regeneration scheme established in the 1930s. Morris played a major part in the design and planting of regeneration reserves that now ring the City of Broken Hill in the north, west and south. Prior to this sand drifts of over 10 feet high would accumulate due to frequent dust storms and the lack of vegetation, which was all used for building materials and fuel when Broken Hill was first discovered.
The Outback Archives are the sole custodians of a unique set of records relating to this group. These include Photographs, Minute Books, Lecture Notes, Financial Records, Epidiascope Slides, Journals and Publications.