humorous things kids say, I have run my
share of them.
A lot of you will remember, OK .... your
grand-parents will have told you about
the Art Linkletter Show, “House Party”
from the 50s/60s.
House Party had a segment,
“Kids Say The Darndest Things” which
was to become a long running show in
its own right, as well as the title of a best
selling book, all courtesy of Art Linkletter
Now in his 90s Linkletter has had a distinguished career as an
entertainer, writer, public speaker, and now spokesman for the aged.
A relatively unknown side to Linkletter was that he had built up a
vast farming enterprise in
In the 1950s the WA government, in an effort to establish farming
in the isolated area of Esperance was giving clear title to land, for
bargain basement prices, in up to 10,000 acre lots, to people who
would develop the land over a 5 year period.
Linkletter was at that time getting over a drubbing by mother
nature in the Northern Territory of Australia, he had been
granted some 100,000 acres of land and spent a fortune
developing it to grow rice at “Humpty Doo,” (I’m not kidding you.)
The development had included the construction of a huge dam,
to be used for the irrigation of the rice fields, Fogg Dam as it was
named, is now one of the NT jewels as a breeding ground for
Now it wasn’t that Linkletter had made a mistake in believing he
could grow rice in the NT, the fields that were planted out did
exceptionally well and looked like opening up a whole new industry
in the NT, just one aspect had been missed, the several million
Magpie Geese that found the crop and destroyed it in a matter of
days, we won’t go into the measures that were tried to discourage
the geese, in these more enlightened days a lot of the things tried
would not be allowed.
The descendant’s of these same geese are a large part of the birdlife
that still inhabits the area, it is an experience I will never forget,
camping there and listening to the huge flocks of geese coming and
going all night long.
There were Millions of Dollars spent over a period of 6/7 years,
but nature was declared the clear winner eventually.
Far from being put off by this experience Linkletter scoured the
country looking for opportunities, he settled with glee on the deal
the WA government had on offer.
The land around Esperance grows a variety of wild-flowers that is
unequalled in the world, but without a lot of work and money
being put into it was not very good for growing crops or wool.
Unlike some of the others who took up land Linkletter had plenty
of money, and he gathered around him a workforce that easily
coped with his own holding, and also with the adjoining properties
of disgruntled neighbors.
Before long “Linkletter’s Place” became a showcase of the
possibilities of the area; Linkletter maintained hands on approach
to this developing enterprise for many years, until finally handing
over control to his expert management team.
As well as the adventures touched on here Linkletter acquired vast
areas of land in the north west of WA, quite close to what is now the
tourist town of Broome, but then was isolation of a supreme order,
this was cattle country and you needed a LOT of it to get by on.
It is reputed that his land holding grew to almost a million acres at
its height, but sadly, the last link, (pun intended) was broken
recently when the last 22,000 acres of Linkletter’s Place was sold
to a forestry company for redevelopment, or should that be
The small community of Condingup, near the thriving centre of
Esperance owes a huge debt of gratitude to Art Linkletter for his
vision, perseverance and expertise.
One of Art Linkletter’s many books is called “Linkletter down Under”
and I can thoroughly recommend it if you can find a copy, it is listed
in the Library of Congress.
Closing with a quote from the man seems appropriate;
The four stages of man are Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence