The Pioneer Valley at Mackay is the centre of a thriving sugar industry that supports 120,000 people and brings millions of dollars into the Australian economy through milling sugar cane. The valley presents a vista of kilometre after kilometre of flat green and brown symmetrical patterns. In the growing season, rectangles striped with furrows carry on as far as the eye can see, blending into green blocks as the cane grows, with the pattern broken only by natural topographic features such as creeks, the Pioneer River, occasional hills and small towns. Cane totally dominates the flat land, but at the edges of the valley it is gradually overshadowed by the brown and grey of the higher untamed areas. Within this green, brown and grey picture is another pattern, the imposed logistics of roads, railways, and glistening galvanised roofs on the houses and sheds, softened by the dark green of mango and other fruit trees, stately hoop pines, fig and shade trees. On the edges of the valley floor, the hills become more numerous, feeding into the surrounding mountain ranges. The visual pattern partly relates to topography, but includes elements dating back to the shapes of the first land selections and subsequent surveying from the 1860s onwards, as well as the need for road and rail links between early settlements, and more recently by the needs of modern mechanical farming.