The Yamba roadblock has been at the forefront of fruit fly protection on the Sturt Highway, east of Renmark, since it was established in March 1957 - to protect the Riverland and the state from a Queensland fruit fly outbreak in peaches in Mildura. The 50th Anniversary of the commencement of the Yamba roadblock and it’s achievements were celebrated on 9th March 2007.
Initially the roadblock was staffed on a rotating basis by six Department of Agriculture inspectors and five police officers based in a caravan located at the South Australia/Victoria border.
Newspaper articles from the time indicated that swift action taken in setting up the 24-hour roadblock.
Since records were kept from the 1980-81 season at the Yamba roadblock:
- Almost 8 million vehicles have been inspected
- About 535,000 vehicles were detected with fruit
- Almost 977,000 kilograms of fruit was confiscated
- There have been 227 fruit fly larvae detections
In the period since the Yamba roadblock was established, only two fruit fly outbreaks have occurred in the Riverland, at Loxton North in 1990 and the other near Lyrup in 2013. There have been more than 189 outbreaks in other parts of the State, since records were kept from 1946-47.
The 50 year celebration was held at the roadblock near Renmark. Attached are the presentations from the Chief Horticulturalist at the time, Mr Tom Miller (), the person who was given the task of setting up the first roadblock, Mr Rev Cant () and industry spokesperson, Mr Mark Chown ()
The first recorded outbreak of fruit fly in SA was in Adelaide at Glen Osmond on 30 January 1947. His Excellency the Governor Sir Willoughby Norrie was attending a Test Match at Adelaide Oval on the day and, as there was no restriction on where an Executive Council meeting could be held, it was decided to hold it at the Oval.
A proclamation was signed to ensure that “all things necessary to seize or destroy fruit or trees infected with fruit fly” were taken.
That policy to eradicate fruit fly and prevent its establishment in SA has continued to this day.
Yamba is part of a network of permanent roadblocks with others located at Ceduna, Pinnaroo and Oodlawirra.Further there is a system of trapping grids throughout the metropolitan area, the Riverland, Port Augusta, Port Pirie, Whyalla and Ceduna; random road blocks; checking of commercial fruit certifications at fruit markets and entry points; disposal bins on main entry roads and railway stations and airports; as well as quick stamping out of outbreaks through organic bating and the release of sterile fruit flies are also important on-going weapons against fruit fly.