Local Artists Bianca Acimovic, Vicki Luke and Vernon Bartlett have presented riverun as one of ten One River projects, working with communities throughout the Murray Darling Basin to uncover local experiences of life in this broad region as part of the 100th birthday celebration of Canberra, the largest city in the Basin.
“We have worked closely with the Albury LibraryMuseum and the Albury Historical Society to engage a broad cross-section of this cross-border community to find out more about what this part of the river means to people,” Vicki Luke said. “There are still people who remember the building of the Dam and this is a vivid experience, but a lot more people use the river for recreation and enjoyment. There are so many stories to tell.”
The afternoon commenced with a bus tour of the dam, hosted by the Albury Historical Society which immensely proved popular with the 51-seat tour booked out and 40 people turned away. The tour ended at the Hume Dam and visitor numbers swelled to over 300 as the gates on top of the spillway were opened for a rare opportunity to experience the beauty of the river from this vantage point. Speakers included Glen Baker from State Water NSW, Neil Ward from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Albury City Council Mayor Cr Alice Glachan. After the official proceedings, the valves were opened to the delight of everyone present.
Hundreds then crossed the Murray and headed to the bottom of the Hum Dam on the Victorian side to see Albury-Wodonga’s first cross-border film. A giant data-projection onto the wall depicted the many aspects of the history of the Dam including its construction, historical photos sourced from the Albury LibraryMuseum collection depicting how local people reacted to the site, including residents from the Bonegilla Migrant Centre.
“Many frail and elderly people with a personal involvement in the building of the Hume Dam braved the weather and the paddock to enjoy the experience,” Vicki said. “Don and Leonie Fraser, a couple in their eighties said it was a beautiful experience.” One of the films projected told of a woman whose husband had died not long after moving to the Border. She told how the river had repaired her life.
The project also involved a display of feature installations with light and shadow carefully embedded into the landscape that formed the viewing area. Due to the unexpectedly high turn-out, some of these projections were a little difficult for visitors to properly interact with. “I will never forget the quiet influx of young people, families, the elderly and very frail, quietly making their way in to this event to celebrate our little patch of a mighty river system,” Vicki said.
The artists wish to thank all the major water authorities in the Albury-Wodonga region for their support and co-operation in planning and delivering this historic event.