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An Hour with Andrew Burchell

By Tuesday 20 February 2024March 19th, 2024No Comments

It’s 3.30pm on Monday afternoon and the dairy farms dotted across the Limestone Coast are in full swing.

Docile bovines haul milk-packed udders toward rotaries and herringbones where farmers ease their load for the second time in a day.

The landscape surrounding the rural city of Mount Gambier is a magical place.

The traditional land of the Bunganditj people begs for exploration.

Above ground, there’s a patchwork of maize, lucerne, rye grass, clover mix, cereal crops, vineyards and forests.

Down below, sinkholes (a limestone-formed hole filled with water), caves and aquifers delight adventurous types.

It is a place where tourists come to marvel at the vivid Blue Lake, which supplies precious water to townsfolk.

During summer, young locals spend their holidays diving into the nearby Little Blue Lake, a seemingly bottomless sinkhole in the middle of a paddock.

Just 15 minutes away, the coast offers seafood including crayfish and cooling sea breezes.

I know it well.

I grew up here, milking cows and exploring the countryside, which back then I took for granted.

Even Mount Schank, the dormant volcano towering over it all, silent since the last eruption approximately 4,500 years ago.

Winemaker Andrew Burchell also took it a bit for granted during his teenage years in ‘The Mount’.

He and his family lived on a small farm at Moorak, located on land to the south of the 100-metre-high volcano.

His father, a former stockman, farmed the Bay Road property with corn, maize, onions and canola.

Meanwhile, his mother (a professional green thumb) grew veggies and a huge English garden.

“We’d drive around the volcano four times a day,” Andrew says.

“Sometimes you didn’t even notice it.”

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