One River was informed by an informal Reference Group with significant skills, knowledge and experience in areas including art-in-community, water politics, environmental science and history, Indigenous history and management practices. Panel members provided expert insight and guidance around the more complex issues to do with a collective responsibility for managing the rivers of the Murray Darling Basin.
Panel members presented at various One River symposium events, contributed critical writing and analysis for the project web-site and provided contextual advice and support for project artists and the creative team.
The members of the One River Reference Group were:
Cameron Muir is a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University and the National Museum of Australia. He writes about agriculture, food and the environment. His essays have appeared in Griffith REVIEW, Inside Story, and newspapers. In previous years he has won the Griffith REVIEW Emerging Writers Prize for Nonfiction and an ASA Mentorship. He was raised in Dubbo and still spends time travelling and writing about that country. At the moment he is finishing a book about the history of our modern food system, and starting another about pesticides and the food chain.
Kim Chalmers is an artisan winegrower, composer, musician, festival director and environmental activist based primarily in Mildura.
Kim’s family company, Chalmers Wines, has introduced Italian avant-garde grape varieties new to Australia but well suited to the climate and environment in which they are now being grown. The winery has also worked to greatly reduce its consumption of irrigation water from the Murray River.
As a musician and composer, Kim’s catalogue of compositions ranges from acoustic piano solos to large scale electronic and multimedia performance art pieces. Her most recent major works Riverlife and Elements both focus on environmental stewardship, climate change and water issues in the Murray Darling Basin.
Kim was Artistic Director for the 2013 Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival.
Adrian Brown is a proud descendant of the Ngunnawal people. Raised in Queanbeyan, he has lived in the Canberra region all his life, along the Murrumbidgee River and its local tributaries. Currently employed by the ACT Parks & Conservation Service as a Ngunnawal Country Ranger, Adrian is passionate about raising the profile of his people and Ngunnawal Country, and bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Highly regarded for his extensive knowledge on the cultural landscape of the region, Aboriginal land management skills and traditional tool making techniques, Adrian was the recipient of the 2010 ACT NAIDOC Caring for Country Award.
Åsa Wahlquist has been a rural journalist since 1984, working for ABC radio (the Country Hour and Australia All Over) and television (Countrywide) and writing for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian newspapers.
She has a degree in Agricultural Science from Adelaide University. She worked on her family’s vineyard, Botobolar at Mudgee in central west NSW, where she made the first vintage in 1974. Botobolar was the first vineyard to be organically credited in Australia.
Åsa has a long-term interest in the Murray Darling Basin, her interest being initially stirred by the 1,000 kilometre long blue-green algal bloom in the Darling River in December 1991. She has written and spoken extensively about rivers and about water issues more generally and is the author of Thirsty Country (Allen & Unwin, 2008), a book about Australia’s water crisis.
Åsa has won a dozen journalism awards, including a Walkley Award in 1996; the Australian Government Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism in 2005; the European Community Journalist Award in 1994; four Mackellar Media Awards: and several Dalgety Awards for rural journalism.
Ross Lake OAM
Ross Lake is a Mildura based business operator, wine grower, community activist and arts impresario with a long-standing interest in Murray River water management and water politics.
Ross trained as a lawyer, an economist and a teacher, but is now an “accidental capitalist” in his job as Managing Director of Tasco Inland Australia P/L, a large fuel distribution and retail company.
Ross is a stalwart chairperson, board member and supporter of many community and cultural organisations, including the Mildura / Wentworth Arts Festival and SunRISE21, the Sunraysia Initiative for a Sustainable Economy. Ross has been one of the main drivers in developing ambitious and far-reaching cultural programs in his region, many of which connect directly to underlying economic and environmental agendas.
Sarah Moles trained as a photographer and worked in the advertising industry before moving to a small property on the Darling Downs. She has spent almost 20 years working in community based natural resource management. Sarah has a passion for freshwater environments and has worked extensively on the conservation of wetlands in the Murray Darling Basin. She was a member of the Community Advisory Committee to the former Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council and The Living Murray Community Reference Group. Sarah is currently a Director of the Queensland Murray Darling Committee and the Ethos Foundation, a member of two Great Artesian Basin advisory groups and a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.
During 2006, Sarah and her partner, visual artist Michael Pospischil, travelled extensively throughout the Darling Basin to produce an exhibition and book entitled “The Dying Darling.”
Dr Paul Sinclair
Paul Sinclair is a writer, historian and environmental activist with a life-long interest in the Murray River. Paul is the author of The Murray – a River and its People (MUP, 2001), a critical study of the evolving understandings and cultural values that have impacted upon the river throughout the period of European settlement. (As part of his research for the book Paul paddled a canoe over 1300kms along the river.)
Paul is currently the Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation and is also a member of the Community and Industry Advisory Board for Environmental Programs at the University of Melbourne.
Lani Houston is currently CEO of Regional Development Australia in the NSW Riverina, based in Griffith. Over the past ten years she has worked for various community and economic development organisations, from positions at local grass roots level to others with more regional focus. This work, combined with her teaching background and a variety of experiences overseas, has given her a diverse and practical approach to regional development.
In 2005 Lani was awarded a Churchill Fellowship ‘to investigate the opportunities to retain and attract youth in regional communities’, visiting the USA, Canada & Ireland to learn what strategies that other countries have employed to combat this global issue. This experience reinforced her passion for working with young people and involving them in the decision making process about issues that affect the future of our communities and regions.
Lani advocates the importance of arts and culture as a core part of regional development, particularly through her work on the Boards of South West Arts and Regional Arts NSW.
Ken Orchard is an artist, curator and researcher with a long-standing interest in the visual history of the Murray-Darling Basin. Now based in Adelaide, he has been involved in many events and symposia with a focus on the river system.
Ken was the winner of the inaugural Fleurieu Biennale Prize for landscape art (Water category) in 2006 (Goolwa Arts Centre), and his collaborative touring exhibition Prospects: re-imaging gold country at Ophir & Hill End (with Ed Douglas) was a component of the Just Add Water program for the 2012 Regional Year of Culture (Signal Point Gallery, Goolwa).
Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner
Major Sumner (or Uncle Moogy as he is known to many) is a Ngarrindjeri elder from the Coorong region at the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia. A teacher and mentor to many of his people, Major has for several years now being working to revive ceremonial journeys (or Ringbalin in the Ngarrindjeri language) along vast stretches of the Murray and Darling Rivers to summon the river spirits and encourage the return of fresh water to depleted and damaged country. Drawing together different Aboriginal peoples from along the rivers, the Ringbalin have become a powerful representation of indigenous interests across the Murray Darling Basin.
Daniel is a historian, teacher and public policy analyst who has written extensively about the Murray Darling Basin politics and policy issues, including the book Water Politics in the Murray Darling Basin (ANU, 2007). He has a particular interest in governance issues relating to rivers that span and divide different political constituencies, both in Australia and internationally, focussed around issues including water reform, environmental justice, public participation, cultural change, water markets and risk created by the interaction of different levels of government. Daniel is currently a Research Fellow in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.
Ngarrindjeri Elder Tom Trevorrow was a member of the One River reference group until his untimely death at age 58 years on 18 April 2013. At this time he was Manager of Camp Coorong, a centre for cross-cultural learning in South Australia. Tom was Chairperson of the Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee and a long- term advocate for restoring the health of the Murray and Darling Rivers. He was a determined and dedicated teacher and mentor to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike, generous in his sharing of knowledge and culture.