In the drought-ravaged East Gippsland region, Herald Sun photographer Jake Nowakowski captured the despair of a farmer whose paddocks had reduced to dirt.
In the drought-ravaged East Gippsland region, Herald Sun photographer Jake Nowakowski captured the despair of a farmer whose paddocks had reduced to dirt.

The story behind this heartbreaking image

While driving to East Gippsland in February to capture photos of the drought-ravaged region,

Jake Nowakowski thought of turning around and heading home.

About 30 minutes from his destination, it started raining - a rare occurrence in that area.

"I rang the farmer I was due to photograph to say there was no point coming because it was raining, but he told me to keep coming because it wasn't raining in his area," Nowakowski says.

Dan Boland struggles to walk through a paddock as strong winds kick up a dust storm. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Dan Boland struggles to walk through a paddock as strong winds kick up a dust storm. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"So I kept going and as soon as I drove into his area, it was like an apocalypse. It was completely decimated. It hadn't rained there for 18 months, the farmers were handfeeding their sheep and much of their stock had gone."

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He captured farmer Dan Boland on his Giffard West property (above) where paddocks had been reduced to dirt, and wiping his eyes after a dust storm (cover image).

"I just kept shooting and it turned out to be one of the more telling pictures of the drought," he says.

 

Dan Boland's paddocks have been reduced to dirt. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Dan Boland's paddocks have been reduced to dirt. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

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