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(generated from captions) intervention came shortly after the

Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi broke a

ceasefire. And defied the

ceasefire. And defied the west with

final push into the rebel stronghold ceasefire. And defied the west with a

of Benghazi. The French were the

first into action overnight. French

military jets are

military jets are now flying

came just before 9am local time Libyan territory. The first airstrike

jet planes were heard over the city. came just before 9am local time after

Thousands of people have now fled

city. The Libyan leader has made a Thousands of people have now fled the

speech on the country's state

television a short time ago. It was

Gadda read out over the phone. Colonel

Gaddafi says he will arm civilians

defend Libya from what he calls Gaddafi says he will arm civilians to

Colonial aggression by western

forces. Meanwhile the head of the

UN's atomic agency says it's too

early to say if Japan's efforts to avert a nuclear

avert a nuclear disaster are heading

officials are cautiously optimistic in the right direction. Japanese in

they've stabilised temperatures they've

inside the ruptured Fukushima plant.

But radioactive contamination has

been detected in food produced near But radioactive contamination has

the plant. Thats the

ABC TV Newsroom. the plant. Thats the latest from the

This Program is Captioned Live (Theme music)

growing nuts in North Queensland - On Landline today - for home-grown cashews? is there a future of producing Our new trees are capable

the required 3.5 to 4 tonne which we imported from everywhere whereas previously the parent trees maximum one tonne. were capable of producing succession planning at its finest. We meet the Ingrams, family farm when the children are small I've always felt that is where it all starts. with each other They were never in competition and they never were allowed to count and I got one well he got two biscuits or anything like that. And it still applies today. Yongala, still giving up secrets And the wreck of the coastal steamer, in a cyclone. a century after being lost welcome to the program. Hello, I'm Anne Kruger we'll drop into Birdsville. A little later the outback Queensland town The big wet has reached and for the third straight year as green as Ireland. the channel country's

The last time we flew, IN A THICK IRISH ACCENT: and it was just red, we flew out of Birdsville everything was red and dry. no creeks full. There was no waterholes full, is beautiful green, This time flying in the whole area the rivers are full, everything, waterholes are all full, this time, coming back in. it's amazing, amazing to see it in Australia's nut industry First up today the movers and shakers have been in Sydney this week of a business talking up the investment potential in the next decade. that could be worth $1 billion will be at the forefront While macadamias and almonds of that export drive, is determined to prove a small group in North Queensland in locally grown cashews. there's also cash North Queensland, As the dust flies at Dimbulah into the harvesters it's hard to tell what's tumbling other than a lot of twigs.

the real crop emerges - cashews. Once the rubbish is removed, though,

about these nibbles is Peter Shearer, And one man who is nuts for himself in the rag trade a businessman who first made a name as the owner of a menswear chain. to live in Cairns I retired a long time ago to start a small hobby farm and got bored stiff and decided macadamia farms which became one of the largest in Australia at the time

developing that fully and once we'd finished to look at cashews it was sold and I decided in Australia before. which nobody had grown commercially

15,000 tonnes a year Australians eat around the country's most popular nuts. making the cashew one of But with most imported from Vietnam

is something of a novelty. seeing the nut au naturale The crop is a fascinating one. it is first cousin to the mango. For a start, which is seed the on the outside. It is the only fruit

for all parts of the nut. There is numerous uses is used for a lot of purposes. For an example, the actual fruit soft drink, liqueur They use it in jams, chutneys, they were developing jet engines and before World War II when was used for the lubricant the liquid out of the shell

in developing the jet engine. Landline viewers Peter Shearer introduced in the '90s. to this multipurpose tree that you buy in the stores The nut itself, or the kernel, is inside the outer casing. there is a toxic type liquid Within that outer shell is highly poisonous. which most people believe It is toxic but it's not deadly. But the cashew kernel is inside growing the nuts for. and that's what we're

Back then plenty of research funding the fledgling industry, was also being poured into cashew hybrids from around the world as scientists evaluated 3,000 for local conditions. in a bid to breed a tree tailor made

Last time we were here the perfect Australian cashew tree. you were looking for Have you actually found it? We haven't found one, we've found 11 up and using it for our expansions. of which we're now multiplying those from a tree like this one? OK, and they would have come as parent trees Yeah, we've used these trees for our breeding program. We've cross pollinated them

considered the best in the world. and come up with what is now are grafted on to strong root stock Cuttings from the high performers to create the new trees. for a variety of reasons, While the 11 have been selected and insect resistance, including frost the priority is to improve yields. Our new trees are capable 3.5 to 4 tonne of producing the required which we imported from everywhere, whereas previously the parent trees, maximum one tonne. were capable of producing of Mr Shearer's strategy These superior trees are just part the big producing countries to compete with where labour is far cheaper.

cleaning and processing Mechanising the harvesting,

is the rest of the master plan and so far he's achieved two out of three. Our mechanisation allows us, with one man, one harvester, to pick up maybe 15 tonne a day. By handpicking you couldn't achieve that with 50 people and that's the big difference. We're able to get it up quickly, we're able to totally mechanise it. We've developed the pre-cleaning plants that have a minimal amount of people in them and that's the only way we can compete. When it comes to turning these cleaned cashews into edible kernels things are less efficient. There's simply not enough cashews produced here yet to justify building a processing plant.

So the local crop is sent to Vietnam to be finished off. Vietnam is one of the world's biggest producers of cashews. It has more than 100 processing plants including this partly Australian-owned factory. And it's easy to see why mechanising this operation would cost a lot of money, with plenty of nimble fingers required to do the job manually. First, the raw nuts are roasted to remove the toxic oil. Then they're shelled, peeled, graded, and eventually packaged. TRANSLATOR: Currently the cashews in Vietnam and in particular at this food factory are mostly processed by hand. We don't use machines because we saw some producers use them and they weren't as efficient as doing it by hand. And among the 10,000 tonnes handled here each year

are the nuts from North Queensland. TRANSLATOR: The easiest material to process are from Vietnam,

then Africa, and the hardest are Australian cashews. The difficulty with Australian cashews is that when they arrive we have to remove the cashew apple by hand so it takes a lot of manpower.

Secondly, during harvesting in Australia

more cashew shells are cracked, so the oil gets into the nut. The fact that we mechanically remove the apple with one machine, which will replace in Vietnam to remove the apple, it depends on the size of the factory but they could have 300, 400 girls and 300 or 400 girls doing it by hand will do a better job than we'll do but that doesn't detract at all from the actual quality of the kernel. But the cracking, again, it is mechanical and our harvesters will run over nuts in the field and some of them will be cracked.

But the percentage is like 2%.

It's a nothing compared if we had to do it any other way.

So what makes this an Australian cashew, what sets it apart? The products are sweeter, sweeter tasting cashew

and there are larger grade cashew.

One man who believes the Australian cashew more than measures up is former nut wholesaler Nick Baklis. If people want a nut that's grown under Australian conditions, I think they will pay for it and supermarkets are screaming out for Australian grown cashews. So, if they want import replacement then they will have to buy our cashews. Mr Baklis and his two Melbourne-based business partners were so convinced there was cash in cashews they bought Peter Shearer's plantation. ..we've got 30,000 planted and we've probably got 8,000 to go here... They're now spending millions of dollars on planting new and improved trees under the guidance of the former owner. We're now planting the results of 14 years of cloning. We've doubled our size in the last 2 years

and we've got a little way to go yet. Why did you actually sell up? I have had many businesses in my time and I went as far as I could with this one. It required a lot more capital

to now develop that which we had achieved. While that's obviously a positive move for the North Queensland operation, Australia's only other major cashew property, in the Northern Territory, was sold last year and is now running cattle. Mr Baklis also doesn't have any backing from research organisations like Mr Shearer did in the early days. We've already put all the hard work in and we've just now got to wait for the results. We know we've got a market for Australian cashews

so I'm quite confident that we can make it a success. This tree here is three months old, and it's already fruiting. Give it another four years and it will be producing commercial quantities. And if all the young plants do that, operators are confident they will crack the magic 1,000 tonnes. That's the amount they need to set up a processing plant and eliminate the costly round trip to Vietnam.

And if these growers prove they can crack this tough nut, Peter Shearer believes others will try cashing in on cashews too. If in fact a lot of other farmers come online and I'm sure a lot are sitting back waiting for us to make a gigantic success or fail, at that time, if we can get a lot of the old tobacco grower and various people in this area to be interested in cashews, then it can be a mainstream crop. When the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl exploded back in 1986 grain prices went through the roof. Come Japan 2011 and grain prices slumped. Prices recovered somewhat later this past week but the market still has the jitters. Here's the graph of wheat prices from the Chicago Board of Trade. The jump at the end looks overdue considering the fundamentals remain very positive and that's despite what might happen further in Japan and even in Libya. that local farmers face a tough guessing game for their next winter crop. lock in these relative higher prices now or wait to see what they might get in the bin and miss the good price. So let's see what's on offer at present. The ASX has New South Wales milling wheat for January delivery at $284 while WA wheat for the same month is $10 dearer. Both prices are firming after big losses earlier in the week. In Chicago that price kick was helped by concern about the American crop and some big export orders. Soybeans and corn also bounced late in the week, but lost overall. There's a strong rumour China has placed or is about to place a massive order for corn. And New York cotton and sugar came back after several sessions on the slide. Cotton rallied limit-up, which is about 7 cents for the day to close just above $1.90 a pound, while sugar lifted. That's a new month contract and, it's worth noting, about 10 cents above this time last year. And local spot prices followed the Chicago trend, especially for wheat. There's a whole lot of sorghum around but weather concerns have helped firm the price and it's hard to believe, but northern NSW is actually looking for rain to get some subsoil moisture for the coming winter crops. Now to the sale yards, where national through-put was down a fraction mainly due to the shorter week in Victoria. There was strong competition too from restockers and the supermarkets. So, trade steers yo-yoed again, this time up by 16 cents. There's a real shortage in this category while supply is slowly catching up with feeder steer popularity and cow demand was firm. And the live trade is doing OK,

despite the biggest bog across the north you can imagine. I'm told roads in the Kimberley area are a disaster. Demand from Indonesia remains very firm. Steers set firmly at $2.10, while heifers are $1.95 a kilo. The Indonesian issue looks even further from settlement. Our Ag Minister, Joe Ludwig, went to Jakarta last week ostensibly to talk about the live trade, among other issues, and couldn't even get to see his Indonesian government equivalent.

Now, back home to the domestic lamb market continues to be white hot. Good conditions have put quality at very good to excellent and domestic and export demand remains very, very strong. The lamb indicator is $6.39 a kilo, that's $1.52 above the price this time last year. And I've just checked my Landline script from this week last year, where the lamb price hit $4.87. I called it Star Trek country, where no man had gone before. And since then the price has gone at warp speed, beyond Star Trek. It's gone up by more than 30%, unbelievable in any language, including Klingon. Back to Earth, where dairy prices have eased with the Japan problems and alongside an easing Aussie dollar but long term the prospects look very solid. And finally to wool where the market continued to rise across the microns despite the Japan, Middle East and currency issues. The medium and broader wools did best with China again dominant but there was also strong demands from India, Europe and Taiwan. So the eastern market indicator lifted 1.6% to close at 1,370 cents.

That's the Landline check on prices. Whoever warned about working with children and animals might have just as well thrown in close family members for good measure. Working alongside your nearest and dearest can be a risky business. All too often, inter-generational and sibling rivalry intensifies into full scale war, tearing families and viable businesses apart. But as Tim Lee reports from Victoria's Gippsland, it doesn't have to be that way. The world is full of tales of family feuds and falling outs,

of loved ones wrenched apart at work because of work. Farming, with its unpredictable seasons, fluctuating returns, and the passion of its practitioners can be especially prone to pitfalls. So is there a blueprint for a harmonious family business? Well, you could be hard pressed to find a better example of a close-knit and cooperative clan than the Ingram family. We never set out with a goal of acreage or production or anything like that, we never set out for that and when we look back now and see what's happened it is quite amazing what's happened in quite a short time, I suppose. We all love doing what we're doing and it's just one of those things it's just like Topsy, she just grew. The Ingrams are vegetable growers on the renowned fertile soil of the Mitchell Valley in East Gippsland in Victoria's east. Like most successful family enterprises, this one is built on solid foundations. Some of this rich alluvial soil is five metres deep. It's beautiful soil. Well, it's pricey, but when you get really good land, it's cheap really, although we paid a lot of money for some of it. But what you can do with it, that's the point. You can do anything with that country. And it's true. The Ingram family has done a great deal with it. Trading as Bonaccord it's now one of the nation's largest and most successful family farming enterprises. At the head of the family are Max and Cath Ingram. Now in their 80s, they have five sons, four of whom, with their wives, work in the business.

They always wanted to be farmers. The two younger ones, well they were destined to be the same, I think. The middle boy - no way. He went to Canberra and bought earth moving equipment and, yeah, that's what he did. So how do you keep four sons on the farm? For a start ensure everyone likes their job. Ross does the office work on the trucks. Keith and his wife Carmel basically run the packing shed. Gerald - the harvesting machine, planting and so on and Murray does the cattle and basically the tractors. Just evolved and happened.

I hadn't been pushed in any one direction that's what you've got to do, we've just sort of had a passion for it and just done it. We get along. Mum bashed our heads together enough when we were young fellas to sort of not argue with one another. A lot of people say that - why don't you argue more with your brothers? I think it's what Mum and Dad taught us. You get further if you're looking after your brothers rather than knocking heads with them. The spirit of cooperation was instilled at an early age. I've always felt that when the children were small is where it all starts. They were never in competition with each other and they never were allowed to count - 'Well, he got two biscuits and I got one,' or anything like that and it still applies today. They know that if one has a holiday at this time of the year there's a reason for it, and they sort it out, and the wives are exactly the same. They never say, 'Well, they got more holiday than I got,' or anything like that. All too often in a family business it gets messy when in-laws get involved, but not in this case. Because we're all living fairly close together they do communicate very well and they talk to each other what's going on and what their future plans are and what they'd like to do and how things have been going and which agents they should be using or not using and what the direction is. This is going to make a big difference to us in August and September, you know. Yeah, well, some of this is only 40%. They meet up home a few nights a week anyway and talk over the business.

They always discuss what they're doing, if they're buying tractors, or whatever it may be. They have to make decisions on their own but they always make good decisions and the other boys back them and so do we because they are really - they do make good decisions.

Such as buying this newly imported, French-made bean harvester, an investment that's already paying off. Beans are one of Bonaccord's staple crops. Certainly improves our efficiency. A lot cleaner sample back into the shed. The packing shed is a hive of activity year round, processing and packaging a range of crops for themselves and for some other growers. We work in acres - we own the lease about 200 acres, here in the valley and little bits in the hill country. We're growing about 550 acres of sweet corn, 750 acres of beans, about 800 acres of broccoli, 400 acres of carrots, 200 acres of cauliflowers, 80, 90 acres of onions. And then we do smaller things like we grow a few pumpkins and capsicums and chillies and things like that on the side just to keep things interesting as a bit of a challenge. And horticulture is full of challenges.

While this district hasn't been hit by the flooding that has hit so many other horticultural regions across Australia, the exceptionally wet season has brought its own set of problems. A wet and humid summer has played havoc with crops prone to mould such as bean, broccoli and cabbages. You can imagine, like, looking into a crystal ball, but it's always pretty cloudy most of the time subject to weather and everything else. So, but, yeah, we try our best anyway. Good and bad vegetable growing is basically about weather. You get good vegetables with good weather and bad vegetables with bad weather. But you make your money at somebody else's misfortune. When the droughts come through here and we ran out of water, there were other farmers prospered from that. Horticultural crops are freighted up and down the Eastern Seaboard, according to the growing seasons. The majority of it lands in Sydney. It's normally trans-shipped on from there to Brisbane if it has to go there otherwise it can go to Adelaide or down to Melbourne. As the Ingram enterprise grew so too did the need for reliable logistics. Everything seems to happen, often because we're forced to have it happen. With our first trucks we had somebody just say they weren't carting anymore so we had to buy our own truck and that sort of evolved. And so was born the transport arm of the business. Opportunities arise so you have to take them when they're there. Probably, you know, seven or eight loaded out of the farm here most days through the week and then other produce comes in from other growers and stuff like that. So it's a fairly hectic sort of a place to be. Every time they might make a comment that we're not going to grow anymore, we're going to consolidate

and just work on what we've got and try to stabilise, it doesn't work that way. They seem to - another piece of land comes up for sale and it's just not always the right timing but the right opportunity to go ahead and buy that. A little over 50 years ago Max and Cath Ingram moved to the district from Timbarra, a remote high country hamlet where they milked cows. Their young family needed schooling and the climate of the Mitchell Valley was much kinder to livestock, but they paid too much for their land said some local doom-sayers. Somebody said, oh, that's too much, you know. 'Never see your money again.' They said he won't last, they won't last there.

We're still here. The family initially grew beans as a winter fodder crop. The cows got the shove when Ross and Keith came home to farm. They soon faced some big challenges. When they first started I think interest rates were something like 22% and we thought, well, if they can make a go of it at interest rates like that we haven't got much to worry about, have we?

Then there have been floods. Yeah, we've had three one-in-100-year floods in the last 17 or 18 years. And droughts that stopped their irrigation water from the Mitchell River and slashed their crop production. Water security is the biggest issue here and that's put a handicap on us for quite a few years. At one stage there was a six-weeks total ban in the hot part of the year. We lost a lot of money on that. It would be hard to estimate the crops that we lost because we couldn't water,

and that gave us the incentive to start thinking about dams

and undoubtedly the dams now are a marvellous asset. And by far the family's most expensive investment.

This massive dam holds 700 megalitres and took five years to research and construct. Keith Ingram built and installed the maze of underground pipes that feeds water around the farm. The water is of drinking standard, meaning cleaner produce in the paddock and the packing shed.

But now we find ourselves in a situation where if we do get a bad drought we've only got half the water that we need anyway because of our expansion. All up at the moment we'd have in the mid 250 people here

with the transport side of the business as well as the on-farm staff, yeah. So that's a fair few numbers.

Recent times a move to contract labour means greater flexibility, productivity and efficiency. We have an issue with getting rid of a lot of our waste product from out of the shed. So you're talking about the tips and the butts of the sweet corn crops,

you're talking about waste carrots and thing like that. So if we were to dump them obviously you'd have a pile as high as the MCG.

So what we actually do is buy store cattle out of the Bairnsdale market. The boys were all fairly keen to get a few more cattle. We want to get a bit more country where we can feed on a few more steers. The Bonaccord farm is a complex checkerboard of crops and crop rotations. The cabbage and carrots it continues 12 months of the year for us, and the broccoli.

We only just have our two summer crops with the beans and corn are extra, and onions as well. We've started our onion harvest, started picking up onions.

We've got all our storage onions yet to come in, once this weather starts to clear and dry up. So we'll start picking up those. We've probably got about a dozen or so varieties that are in the pipeline all the time - small trials - three rows here, two rows there, just try them at different times of the year. Some succeed, some fail. Some, like this European cabbage variety, has promise. It's something that we have to grow to shorten our risk up. If we had a rain event or something like we've seen in the rest of the State this year so far we could have had problems with, you know, the other varieties of cabbage so we've got a cabbage variety here that's up off the ground, it's not contacting the ground too much so there's less problems with disease pressure and stuff like that.

Joy Ingram, married to Ross, attributes the brothers' success to several key factors. Honesty is probably one of their biggest things. So, anyone they deal with they will tell them probably straight up and down what they expect and what they'd like back and they expect the same of other people as well. So that's one of their traits. And their hands on approach. They all started off knowing how to do every single thing because they all had to do it. They had to do the tractor work themselves, hay had to do the planting themselves, the picking themselves, nd then it's just evolved as they've gone on to their own areas that they know and like doing or have to do. Inevitably, in every family business the question of succession arises. There are 17 grandchildren, the eldest now of tertiary age. They have all been involved from an early age. We've got some good farmers coming along, actually.

We've got plenty of fellows that like to sit in the passenger seat on the tractor and mow hay all day and night and this sort of thing.

It's great actually. It really inspires you too, I think. You try to be better and better so if it ever does happen that they come along they've got an easier run rather than a harder one, so it's just the way it is. They would all be encouraged to get an education or a trade and work in the wider world before considering going back on the farm. Our boys all worked for bosses and they know what it is to work for a boss and they treat their employees as they'd like to be treated themselves and I've never really heard them ever raise a voice, either at home or away, which is a cool, calm approach. I think it's very, very important. Cool heads and they seem to have inherited that somewhere or other along the way. Must have got it from you, I think. I don't know. It seems there's only one thing the Ingrams don't agree on, the reasons for the family being so successful in business and life. Ross believes it's due to his parents. It is really good and it's probably unique but really, Dad and Mum have given us the ability to do it too. You know, there's not many fathers would step back at 60 and say, well, I'll sign the mortgages, you buggers are got to pay the debt off at some stage and that's what he's done. It's enabled us to reach the potential that we could do because we had his support all the time and he's been really good. Max attributes the family's success to Cath. I've enjoyed family, and Cath's been a wonderful back-stop been always with me, for the last - what? - 50 something odd years. Yes, it's 56 years coming up. This June. So, I mean, farming, if you haven't got a person right with you, it's a damned hard life, at its best. Cath's made it very easy for me, really, and, as I said, she understood farming which has been extremely good for the situation, yes, and I mean without that we wouldn't be where we are today. Cath puts it down to good fortune. It's just so lucky as to who the boys married

and for the boys to go home from work to a happy home that's just marvellous, really. It's just luck. I've been told it's not luck, it's their good choice. But still, I call it luck. In Far North Queensland communities rebuilding after Cyclone Yasi

will pause this week to remember an earlier natural disaster that similarly had a profound impact on the city of Townsville.

It's exactly 100 years since the coastal trading ship, the Yongala, sank in a cyclone with the loss of 122 lives. Murray Cornish reports on the enduring fascination with one of Australia's great maritime tragedies. Shipping was the life blood of North Queensland. They were just people that were going about their normal everyday lives. They didn't want to talk about it, they just wanted to sweep it under the carpet. In 1911 the steam ship Yongala

was one of a number of coastal traders moving passengers and cargo up and down the east coast of Australia. On 21st March she left Brisbane for North Queensland

having taken on passengers, a race horse called Moonshine and two bulls. Yongala anchored off Mackay early on the 23rd,

picked up two more passengers and set sail for Townsville just after 1:30. We know that the Townsville Bureau of Meteorology had called and alerted them that there might be a cyclonic system in the area. Unfortunately at that time there was no way to communicate from shore to ship as they hadn't yet installed a Marconi wireless onboard the vessel. The Yongala was last seen passing the Dent Island lighthouse in the Whitsundays into worsening weather, and then vanished. There were 122 people on board. The loss of the Yongala

had an enormous impact on North Queensland. Searches found debris, but no survivors. The remains of the racehorse, Moonshine, washed up on a nearby beach but the ship's final resting place remained a mystery. Six months later the Marine Board of Queensland

speculated the Yongala may have been lost around midnight in a cyclone but reported to parliament that the ever hungry sea, with a painful tenacity The case was closed.

In 1911 Townsville had a population of only 15,000 people.

There were no roads or rail connecting it to other centres, so the disappearance of 122 people in a shipwreck was a loss keenly felt across the region. Townsville was, around that time, was a real frontier town. It was basically a town that was established for servicing the inland goldfields

as well as the cattle industry inland from Townsville. So really the key to Townsville was this port and so it was a town that you'd expect with a large port so lots of pubs, a bit of a wild town, dirt roads.

If you were trying to move from Townsville to any other centre and you wanted to move relatively easily and in comfort you had to go by sea. You absolutely had to.

Townsville amateur historian, Karen Cumner, is a distant relative of two people who perished on the Yongala and has spent years investigating the personal stories behind each and every one who was onboard. These families suffered this loss with no body

and that's what said on all their death certificates - 'body never recovered.' That would have been a tragedy hard enough to endure but then we had World War I towards the end of that decade and some of these families lost their sons overseas, one in Gallipoli and another one in Belgium and I think there's probably more. So to have parents and siblings to go through a tragedy like that twice in a decade would be terrible. 'We don't talk about that.' They were the total of the words that my grandmother gave me and never filled in any details since that day. But I can only guess that they just wanted to sweep it under the carpet, that they didn't want to talk about it. Mum and Dad never spoke about it, that's, you know, the next generation down and I couldn't pressure them for much info on it either. I don't really know why it wasn't talked about. It's puzzling.

I think there was a lot - well my father was the youngest and he was only 20 when it happened. So I think that had a pretty severe impact on him

and, to be quite truthful, he never talked much about it at all.

The Rooney family home still stands today renamed the Yongala Lodge in honour of Matthew, Catherine and daughter, Elizabeth Rooney, who all perished in 1911 in the shipwreck. Well known in the North Queensland building trade at the time, there is still pride in the Rooney legacy. It was the beginning of Townsville and if you have a look at Townsville now it's expanded hugely and it will continue to expand

but it was people like Matthew Rooney and people of his era who helped build Townsville to what it is today. The Yongala sank the year before the Titanic and her final resting place remained a mystery throughout two world wars. Several people claimed to know where it was but it wasn't until 1958 a salvager called Bill Kirkpatrick spent weeks towing a drag line

around the ocean to the south of the Townsville and hooked on to something solid. He recruited a team of local scuba divers to check his discovery. Don MacMillan was one of the first into the water. And it was obviously the ship and by that time all the wooden timber, the upper works of the ship, the bridge and that had all long gone

and in fact just about everything that was made of wood was gone.

There was no sign of the lifeboats and there was the rubble lying all over everything quite deep and marine growth over everything also.

What MacMillan was looking at was a 111-metre-long steel hulled ship wreck. Lying on her starboard side in the shipping channel pointing roughly north towards Townsville. The wreck was resting on sand in 30 metres of water with the upper edge of her hull just 14 metres below the surface. But the dive team knew they would need incontrovertible proof

that it was the Yongala and retrieved the ship's safe. So we gave an 'up' signal and we lifted it up out of the cabin but then it was dragging along the top of the wreck and it fell down another hole and the cable caught in the angle between two steel girders and jammed there. And by this time we were so fired up, Noel Cook and myself,

that we were going to get this safe no matter what we didn't care anything more about safety precautions or anything else,

we just went mad. And Noel got underneath the safe and heaved and I straddled it across the V at the top with my hands on the cable and Noel heaved, I pulled, we gave the 'up' signal, the winch ran and the Australia rolled and it was whipped out of the hole and I found myself swinging along like Tarzan.

Anyhow, they hoisted the safe up and parked it on the hatch cover. The safe was opened back in Townsville but after almost 50 years on the bottom it contained nothing but sludge. A locking bolt with a serial number on it was hacked off and handed to police. It matched the ship's original specifications. The Yongala had finally been found. We got letters from relatives of the people that had gone missing in the Yongala, thanking us for having solved the mystery of what happened to their relatives, and created a lot of interest. We're very close to the shipping lanes there. Passing ships used to lower their flags to half-mast in salute as they sailed past

and aircraft used to divert to fly overhead and give the passengers a look. But the discovery drew another form of attention. Salvagers raided the wreck for anything of value. A second safe, thought to be the ship's main safe, vanished. Somebody else got it. After we went, the unknown parties have raided the wreck, they took the screw and possibly other things too. The Museum of Tropical Queensland jealously protects a collection of artifacts including portholes, a beautifully restored fob watch and other reminders of life at the beginning of the 1900s. In 1997 a group of local scuba divers found a chronometer and a clock on the wreck and the discovery proved to be a turning point.

We could prove that the chronometer was wound up and we could prove the chronometer flooded at 15 metres because we studied it and we were able to show that water went in and stopped the mechanism. So we looked at the time again and we said OK, so, why is it 12:45? British meantime? Set to that - Greenwich meantime - 10 hours difference between Greenwich meantime and the Queensland time under the Queensland Standard Time Act. So what time does that mean that the wreck went down? The best hypothesis we can come up with is the vessel was lost in the night, at the height of the cyclone, at 11:45, on 23rd March. The Yongala is now rated as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, attracting almost 8,000 visitors a year.

Lying alone on a sand plain 20 kilometres from the nearest coral reef the wreck has become its own ecosystem. It's covered in coral growth

and home to hundreds of species of fish, turtles and sharks. The site was protected in 1981 under the Historic Shipwrecks Act. Mike Ball built up one of the biggest dive businesses in the Southern Hemisphere using the Yongala as the drawcard. There was no wreck better anywhere in the world that had big marine life that you've got on the Yongala wreck and that was the real stand out thing. We had lots of other good things going on but the Yongala was just that clincher that couldn't be replicated anywhere else in the world. And the Yongala story continues to be controversial even to this day. Gabe's had to let Tina go and fix himself up. He's then noticed that she's some 5 or 10 feet below him. He starts to swim down but realises there's nothing he can do. Gabe Watson pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his wife on the Yongala, during their honeymoon in 2003, and served 18 months in an Australian jail. He's now awaiting trial in the United States, for murder. As relatives prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Yongala's sinking this week, there are mixed feelings about how the wreck should be treated. Not everyone is happy it's become a tourist attraction and dive Mecca, while others believe this critical link to North Queensland's history won't last for much longer.

It brings people here. People have gone out - people have got a connection to it from all levels of society, people have gone there in the past to dive. Yeah, the loss of the Yongala as it slowly starts to disintegrate will have an impact on the community. Karen Cumner will continue her research hoping the centenary will uncover some new leads into the human dimension of this tragedy.

These people have got a story to tell. I'm sure they'd like their full name correctly disclosed, their Christian names that they were baptised with so that people can remember them and also maybe there's people out there looking for them in their family history search. That wreck has been the mausoleum of my great grandparents for just on 100 years now. They've rested there for that time. I think they should be left there. (Bell tolls)

Now, last week we were on the banks of Murray River at Blanchetown in South Australia. Now another mighty inland Australian river has burst its banks,

the Diamantina, and joining us from Birdsville is Craig Berkman. Craig, it's always a great sight to see the channel country in flood. It is remarkable. In fact when we normally see pictures of the channel country we're seeing channels but no water and at the moment, when you fly over the Cooper Basin

and towards Birdsville you're actually looking at - actually it's incredible - it looks like an ocean of snakes slithering their way across the plainland. So it is a spectacular sight. And of course as we flew into Birdsville we were seeing Birdsville completely isolated. Craig, those roads out that way

might be impassable for a couple of weeks but the locals always seem pretty well prepared.

How many travellers are actually stranded there? There aren't a lot of travellers in Birdsville itself because the summer and early autumn months

are very hot out here and most of Australia's tourists choose to travel in the cooler months. There was though one rescue when a traveller found himself stuck on about an 8-or 10-kilometre stretch of road

that was closed on both ends. So Birdsville being cut off is not really a serious problem but the local acting Constable has asked travellers to stay right out of the flood zone. It's more the problems with the tourists. There are 'road-closed' signs up on all of the roads that are closed. The council do that. Some people do seem to think that for whatever reason

they can sometimes disregard those signs. That is very much not recommended, mostly, by us, the police,

because it's normally us that have to go and rescue them when it's likely they do get stranded. Craig, I guess the bonus is the extraordinary view and it bodes well for another outback tourist bonanza. The seasons ahead of us are looking really good for all sort of reasons. One is tourism, of course, the wildlife and the wild flowers an all that kind of thing

will be absolutely spectacular this year. Of course rurally speaking the seasons are looking good as well because this is the second or third season in a row that western Queensland, this neck of the woods, has had lots of rain and I spoke to shire deputy mayor, Barry Gaffney, who lives here in Birdsville and has lived here all his life and he says that people are very enthusiastic about the future. Remember the 1974 floods and seasons, and that. During the '70s there was a lot of good seaons and it seems to me maybe it's a cycle or something that we go through every 30 or 40 years. Looks like a good season all round. Thanks for joining us, Craig. Pleasure, Kerry. Let's start with weather check with the southern oscillation index,

our best reference to future rainfall patterns. And despite the computer models saying the La Nina pattern should be easing, the SOI is actually getting stronger. There it is at plus 26.1. Now the national rainfall - and it's hard to know where to check first but a national map of rainfall for the past week

might be a good start. The Far North Queensland rain, of course, is causing more havoc and note that storm over the Kimberley.

I'm told there's considerable damage to roads in that area. Here's a couple of pics sent from the ABC office in Kununurra. First a substantial road wash-out. I'll bet the driver of that Toyota was a bit surprised.

And second, here's the spillway at Lake Argyle, Australia's largest freshwater lake. Water is now going over the spillway at a rate estimated at more than 1 million litres a second. Elsewhere, most of the Territory had a good drink with the best of the rain over the Barkly Tableland, in fact, the rain there has effectively blocked the road in and out of the Top End. To numbers - Cloncurry in Queensland had 132 mm, Condobolin in NSW had 31.

22 was the reading at Orbost in Victoria's East Gippsland. Pioneer in Tasmania had 6 mm, Ceduna on the South Australian west coast registered 8,

Mango Farm in the Top End had 188mm while the top reading in WA last week was 381mm found on the gauge at Kachana, near El Questro Station. And for our friends across the north it's worth noting 31 March, just a couple of weeks away, marks the accepted end of the wet season. And, I guess, for most it can't come too soon. For now that's the Landline check on rain fall. On Landline next week Sean Murphy gets a unique perspective on the campaign to safeguard water quality and sustainable agriculture in the Sydney basin. The Source to Sea, I guess, focuses on the mouth of the river. It really is the canary, I suppose, it indicates the health of the catchment, overall catchment. So, ensuring that we learn from the issues that are identified in that project and that we safeguard, through our investment in that project is really important to us.

It encompasses 170 kilometres of the river

and it's just a chance for people to meet, sea each other, and to see how they fit into the broader picture of the restoration of the river. We have 130 Landcare groups in our catchment and we engage over 3,000 people. So you can just imagine how much work those people are doing and what a big contribution that will be to the health of river. REPORTER: The Source to Sea project

is as much about good fun as good river management with a new generation of land carers being exposed to adventure conservation.

A river somewhere, one of our features when Landline returns next week. I hope you can join us again then. Bye for now.

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