Australia's major river system, the Murray Darling, is collapsing. Parts of it are dying; parts of it are already dead. Some places near the shores of South Australia's lower lakes, where the Murray has stopped flowing, may never recover. Australia's most significant river no longer reaches the sea. Ecosystems are dying, farmers are going to the wall, towns are emptying.
This was the Murray Darling that journalist Chris Hammer found in the summer of 2009 as he drove along the river.
The River tells the story of the things he saw and the people he met: of farmers practical yet delusional, of towns so friendly yet hidebound. He also tells stories of the environment, and sees first hand the effects of climate change, drought and mismanagement on the land.
What is the future of settlement west of the Great Dividing Range? Can the once-mighty Murray-Darling river system continue to support the agricultural industries and towns of the hinterland, or will Australians increasingly be forced to retreat to desalination-dependent coastal cities?
Chris Hammer explores these questions and more in this compelling investigation into one of Australia's key environmental and political issues. Part travelogue, part personal observation, The River is environmental reportage at its best.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 03 / 2010