2nd and Sunday 3rd September 2006
La Trobe University, Mildura
After the Flood
In a continent defined by its aridity, the notion of a flood
seems incongruous. And yet floods are a regular occurrence
throughout the Murray Darling basin. In 1956, both the Murray
and the Darling broke their banks sending flood waters across
vast expanses of the basin. In some regions, such as Wentworth
and Mildura it took more than six months for the water to
recede. When it finally did it left behind mud, miasma and
memories. It had altered rivers, altered landscapes and altered
For such are the properties of water. It can cleanse and create
or deluge and destroy. Water is a fundamental requirement
for life and the use we make of it has tangible effects, both
environmental and economic. Yet water is ephemeral-it flows
and moves and has many different phases: liquid, steam, ice,
snow, rain and fog. Water changes. Water links the margin
and the centre, the city and the country and it links ecosystems.
Nowhere are these properties of water more evident than the
Murray Darling basin, a confluence of agricultural production,
unique ecosystems, living Indigenous dreaming and cosmopolitan
towns and cities. But the basin is also a contested space.
These visions compete with as well as complement each other.
After the flood, human ingenuity, resilience and creativity
were rightfully celebrated. Now, these qualities are required
more than ever, if we hope to balance the cultural and natural
The 2006 Murray Darling Palimpsest #6 Symposium will bring
together an exciting program of speakers and ideas to debate
one of the most pressing environmental and social issues in
Australia: the future of the Murray Darling basin.
||Day 1: Symposium Program
||Day 2 & 3 Symposium Program