One River Reference Group members will contribute critical writing and analysis to this page as the project develops.

Links to selected critical writing by Reference Group members can also be found on the Reference Group information page.

Critical Undercurrents Symposium Goolwa

I wanted a project where we could link up all these communities, in the belief that despite the continuing divisiveness about water ,we could still share positive stories about river life.

» Robyn Archer’s address

The Murray is One River, but it has so many stories. Each family, each kinship group, every township has its own unique story to tell about its relationship with this One River. And within every story is the desire to keep telling it, for that story to flourish and grow, for others to hear it, and respect it.

» Asa Walhquist’s address

Our passion for the river system and the sweep of land that it represents – as an ongoing site for visualization, and consciousness, as well as a source of wealth, is one that has sustained itself across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and into our own.

» Ken Orchard’s address

We are all responsible. Today, the way we do things, we think in isolation, we’re always worried about ourselves and what we can get from resources, and we’re not thinking about our neighbours and our friends.

» Adrian Brown’s Address

Critical Undercurrents Symposium Mildura

The idea of Australia shipping off bountiful harvests to feed the world is a myth.

» Cameron Muir’s Address

Now is a good time to restore confidence for the farming communities so they can embrace the opportunities and look at new systems.

» Lani Houston’s Address

If you are going to allow a resource as important as water, which ultimately determines the health of the Basin, to be controlled by a market then you better think about how you are going to control that market very, very seriously.

» Ross Lake’s Address

It can certainly become easier if the community, over time, makes (the) transition together. We all need to accept the Basin Plan as a framework for the future as it will affect all of us who live and work in the Basin for the rest of our lives.

» Di Davidson’s Address

Here’s a critical question: Do we need to develop new “food bowls” in other parts of Australia? Or should we be doing more to look after the one we’ve got?

» Paul Sinclair’s Address

Critical Undercurrents Symposium, Canberra

Sustainability is very much like that: ‘Lord make me good, but not yet.’ When you think about a long-term development strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin, there comes a point where ongoing decline – and that’s what we’ve been operating on for most of the twentieth century – is not a rational basis for long-term planning.

» Daniel Connell’s Address

I find water to be an incredibly emotional thing. I have an intrinsic understanding that without water there is no life and that it’s the driving force of all nature. That’s why I get involved in all these exceedingly bureaucratic committees and occasionally bang my head on desks wondering, ‘Why aren’t we getting anywhere? Will we ever get anywhere?’

» Sarah Moles’ Address

How many people live along the river? Thousands, millions of people live along the rivers right through the country, but how many of them know the creation stories? How many of them know the songs that are sung at certain places?

» Major Sumner’s Address

Irrigators and the environmentalists are not enemies – they’re allies – and some of us are wearing both hats. We want balance. We want a healthy future. We want a green and prosperous future for everybody – for communities, for cultures and for the land as well.

» Kim Chalmers’ Address


Audio recordings of the One River symposium and artists’ talks held at the National Museum in August 2013 can be found at:

http://www.nma.gov.au/audio/series/critical-undercurrents-a-one-river-symposium/