Monarto is generally remembered as a progressive premier's white elephant, but time hasn't healed old wounds for the families who were evicted from their farms in 1972.
I feel for the community that was dispersed in this process. Clearly it was close knit and a great place to grow up in the sixties. In the church scene you get a brief glimpse of Stan and Yvonne Patterson and their four girls. Many in Murray Bridge will know Stan's second, Jill, as manager of Bridge Clinic for twenty years.
But I'm not sure the change was all bad. A comprehensive study of the area still stands today as a thorough picture of hydrology, vegetation and other elements that make up Monarto. The massive tree plantings now provide habitat for woodland birds that have become scarce in the Adelaide Hills and some of those areas have become conservation parks in the last few years. The Monarto Heritage Agreements were the forerunner of modern HAs and were renewed in 2012 for another forty years.
The area now houses a world class open range zoo that brings over 100,000 visitors to the region each year and does conservation work with endangered species from all over the world.
In the intervening years the farmers have moved on and have been replaced with lifestyle residents. One estimation is that there are many more people living in the area now than in 1972. If the farmers had remained would those small farms have been economically viable today without significant consolidation and subsequent reduction in family numbers? It has certainly been the case in places like the Riverland.
We need to acknowledge the change because it can't be undone, and move on. It's still a great place and can be celebrated as such without the bitterness expressed in the article.
Typical ignorant comments here re "settlers" who drove off the native inhabitants with whips & then whine about being BOUGHT out themselves!!