Harry Whittington Collection

This collection combines the life and work of Henry (Harry) Whittington and the history and action of WISALTS into a single repository. It reflects the research, social activism, and community involvement and investment of the farming communities in Western Australia.

The documents and correspondence contained covers the 40 years of Harry Whittington's research into contour banks and other solutions towards the salinity problem affecting the farmland.

There are over 900 farm plans, surveyed by Harry Whittington and other WISALTS consultants, as well as reports, transcripts, DVDs, photographs, correspondence and books which assisted in WISALT's research. In total, over 6,400 items are catalogued in this collection.

The WISALTS collection is of particular use to social scientists, civil engineers, period historians and conservationists and provides an excellent example of community science in action.Harry Whittington (1921 - 1999)

About Harry Whittington

A native to Brookton, Henry (Harry) Whittington (1921 - 1999) was the driving force behind research into the salt affected farmland.

The son of a local farmer, Harry became heavily invested in the community around him through his life. Harry was a multifaceted individual; he was a life member of the WA Farmers Federation and WISALTS, recipient of Brookton's Land Care Award and Citizen of the Year Award and was the first president of the Land Management Society of Western Australia. In addition, Harry was president of the Brookton parents and Citizens Group and was an Anglican Church Warden.

As much as the land he grew up on shaped his life, so too has his life affected so many others. This collection primarily focuses on the results of Harry Whittington’s drive and passion in effecting positive change in the wheatbelt of Western Australia.


In 1978, a group of farmers who were convinced by Harry Whittington's research into soil and land conservation gathered and formed the Whittington Interceptor Salt Affected Land Treatment Society Inc. (WISALTS), the name being a play on "Why salt?".

WISALTS started with the efforts of Tom Mills and Lloyd Richards, and grew over the years to have over 1200 members, all fighting against the encroaching salt. WISALTS is dedicated to the control of the salinity problem in Western Australia, through education and training against previous unsuccessful methods, conserving what clean water is available, and at the forefront, the Interceptor Bank System.

The primary creation of WISALTS is the Interceptor Bank System, designed by Harry Whittington. Through its proper implementation, water run off has been controlled and salt levels on affected farmland reduced, allowing productivity to be restored to levels seen in the 1900s, prior to clearing and farming.

Further information about WISALTS can be found on the WISALTS website as well in Sally Paulin’s post-graduate research work “The struggle for recognition of lay and local knowledge in the battle against salinity in Western Australia”.

Collection box summary

Preferred citation

[Identification of item], Harry Whittington Collection, QB 15, Special Collections, Murdoch University Library, Murdoch, Western Australia.

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Murdoch's Special Collections are held in a restricted area within the Geoffrey Bolton Library. You can either request access to an entire collection, or to a particular item within a collection. Access is conditional upon approval and compliance with our conditions of use.


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