TAR-RU: The story of Lake Victoria

[Waves lapping, bird sounds] [Music] David Allen: It is an ancient lake, one of the great wonders of the nation. Tar-ru, known more recently as Lake Victoria, is a place of reckoning. It is the place where Australia’s past confronts its future. In a remarkable twist of fate, Tar-ru has recently revealed evidence of a sophisticated and prosperous Indigenous civilisation, which of course precedes European colonisation of this land. This area was home to a society which challenges and overturns conventional ideas about the evolution of human civilisation but Tar-ru offers more than just a unique understanding of the past. Since exploration and settlement of the region around Tar-ru, the land has endured pressure previously unknown. Over a century of stock grazing and agriculture have interrupted the rhythms of nature. For much of this time, this lake has operated as an artificial but vital water storage too, which has added to the stress on the environment and overlooked the cultural heritage values of the area. For the past 10 years Lake Victoria has been the epicentre of a remarkable challenge, to find a sustainable balance where water supply, land use, and environmental and cultural values are respected. Encompassed by Mallee desert, Lake Victoria in far South-Western New South Wales is nourished by, and in turn nourishes, the River Murray, its waters returning through the Rufus River. Twenty thousand years ago the lake was an enormous resource of 40 kilometres in diameter, as big as the artificially-constructed expanses of water today. Its perimeter then stretched to today’s sand plains to the west and north, and to the high lunette in the east. When the river it relied on dropped some 10,000 years ago, Tar-ru’s shoreline receded. The lake became a grand oasis in the parched interior of an increasingly thirsty continent. When the first Europeans saw it, that oasis was home to the Barkindji Maraura people. For thousands of years Lake Victoria was an oasis midst the extremes of the Australian climate. It was a resilient resource that sustained an abundance of wildlife and a prosperous Indigenous civilisation. The waters of Lake Victoria flooded and fell dramatically. For the new users of Lake Victoria, this was frustrating. In 1902 governments began the process of sharing the River Murray. This ultimately led to irreversible changes at Lake Victoria. One of the premier initiatives of an emboldened Australian federation would be to tame the erratic waters of the Murray and Darling Basin. In 1917 the River Murray Commission, now known as the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, was established to manage the water in the Murray River system. The aims were to create water storages and to control the level of the Murray River for safe and reliable navigation. Later, regulation would become vital in irrigating and opening up the arid Murray Basin to cultivation. One component was the regulation of Lake Victoria as a water storage. Construction of regulators, an artificial inlet channel, and embankments was completed by September 1927. Don Blackmore: Well what’s changed is when Lake Victoria was first thought about, which was back in the 1920s, we were just building Hume Dam. Hume Dam was then the second largest dam on earth, and the pressures were very slight. What people were trying to do was take out the variability of flow in this river, which has a very high variability of flow. They were just trying to make sure they could drought-proof themselves. Since then we’ve had 65 major dams built in this basin, 600,000 private water supply dams, stock and domestic dams and the like. We now store, in this basin, one and a half times the average annual flow of every river. So the whole demand pattern in this basin has just changed dramatically. We’re now consuming – when Lake Victoria was first conceived we were consuming less than one million mega litres a year, and we’re now consuming 11 million mega litres of water a year, out of this basin. So it’s just been a massive change, and we’ve all benefited from the economic performance of that. David Allen: Seventy years on, in early 1994, the level of the lake was lowered for maintenance on the regulators. Alf Richter: We were a bit concerned about our structure. Twelve months earlier we’d done work on the inlet regulator, which was pretty extent. So we then we thought we’d better do the outlet regulator in the winter. We repaired the gate which wouldn’t close. We’ve replaced a lot of stone, a lot of riprap which was down the downstream side of the tow. We replaced quite a few of those – well quite a few tonne of that. We’ve built a new wall, a diffusion wall below the structure, on the sill, which breaks up the flow or the stream so it will cause no scouring now, or hopefully it won’t. This structure hadn’t been looked at for near on 60 years, so about time we done some repairs. David Allen: Neither Alf Richter nor the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, could have anticipated that an apparently routine procedure would have such far-reaching implications. Lowering the lake was like opening a book, a rare and important volume of Australian history, which had remained closed for 70 years. The lake held secrets which would change lives. While the waters were low, Colin Pardoe, a physical anthropologist, had been asked by the Barkindji to use the opportunity to salvage some known Aboriginal burials on the lake floor. Colin Pardoe: I started doing archaeological field work in about ’84, spending a lot of time surveying, walking around observing and describing what’s on the ground, out at Lake Victoria a number of times, from ’84 onwards. I was recording small clusters of burials on the lunette, on that big sand dune on the leeward side, down on the southern end. We knew that there was a cemetery on the lake edge. We knew that a large number of burials had been taken out in the ’40s, 1940s, which have subsequently been re-buried. We knew that there was wave action and wind action that was affecting the margins of this lake, because all these lakes are used for water storage and they’re kept artificially high. So these big shallow reaches where the wave action actually touches the ground can scour them a bit. When the water goes down, like it did in Lake Victoria when they were fixing the regulator, do you know it was such a fantastic opportunity. You go out there and you have a look, because you’re seeing stuff that hasn’t been exposed for a very, very long time. David Allen: The existence of Aboriginal burial sites around the lake shore had been known for many years, but as Pardoe and his colleagues began recording the burials, they found many more than had been expected. This was a very large cemetery. The Murray-Darling Basin Commission and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, arranged for a large survey of the area to find out exactly how many Aboriginal burials there were. The high estimates of the number of Aboriginal burials at Lake Victoria had attracted immediate attention.>From the earliest time, the Barkindji elders had a plan for what had to be done. Roddy Smith: I want protection work done here. I don’t care what other people say about things, they can talk about what they want to talk about. I want to do things for my ancestors, what should be done. Not thinking about other people, what they think. Things have got to be done. I won’t take no from anyone what are trying to stop what I’m doing. David Allen: In 1994 Barkindji elders may have seemed uncompromising, but their fortitude would pave the way for a better understanding of the ecology and history of the lake. Lake Victoria was in the spotlight at a politically complex time. Mabo and the new native title legislation gave credence to the Indigenous perspective in the law. Nevertheless, set against the crucial need for water supply, cultural heritage and environmental concerns were real issues. The Murray-Darling Basin Commission began to directly negotiate with the Barkindji community. Don Blackmore: We wanted to engage, and I have to be honest, we didn’t quite know how to engage. We knew the Barkindji elders were the group that were ordained by their community to represent their views, and so we started a process of sharing the knowledge, sharing their feelings. We started to get from them a verbal history of the area, and had that recorded. So we got an oral history written down. We had an oral history and then we had it transcribed so that we had a record of what they were feeling about their area. We continued to work then on understanding the significance of the site. The more we understood, the more significant the site became, and that’s very important. David Allen: Among the first things done were large protection works on the lake shore. Years of fluctuating water levels, wave action and wind erosion on the Snake Island peninsula had exposed many burials and caused noticeable environmental degradation. Early works to stabilise the cliffs and control erosion had been partially successful, but a permanent solution was needed. Don Blackmore: Then we said well our skills, our natural engineering skills to deal with this, are the wrong set of skills, because we would have wandered in with hard engineering fixers in some way or other. So we went out and engaged a group of coastal engineers, people who understood the wave dynamics and other things that were happening in this area, so the – to see whether there was possibly a solution we could get that would protect the burials, restore the vegetation around the area which had been destroyed by our operations. David Allen: The construction of this massive sand barrier was the engineering fix. It has largely protected the headland, the shoreline, and the cultural materials they contain. The environmental and cultural protection program included the removal of stock from the sensitive cultural sites, which in turn would also assist re-vegetation and erosion control. Some areas of the lake shores are now isolated by fences. Properties which fronted the lake shore were directly affected by this decision. Whilst the fences protected the important areas, they also cut off lake access to thirsty sheep. Bob Duncan: We did agree to it, to put a fence, but we are losing by not using the land that’s fenced off. We have been assisted with a pipeline, second to none you might say, which gives us permanent water in all paddocks. So even in the drought, the severest drought that we’re having now, we’ve always had plenty of water for the stock. David Allen: In 1995 archaeologist Dr Jeanette Hope was engaged by the Commission. First to monitor the creation of the sand barrier at Snake Island, then to begin mapping and recording the increasing number of burials found eroding out of the lake shore. The complex story of human occupation of the area was unfolding. Roddy Smith: When you cleaned round, like you see when the ground is damp, you can always see where the hole had been dug so the person can be put in there. That’s why the black marker is showing, see? They didn’t dig that far – far enough that way. There is one there, you can see over there. It’s still under the ground there, see? David Allen: The burial protection work was significantly increased in 1996. Teams of Barkindji men from the local area were employed for this work. As these significant sites were identified and recorded, they were protected, covered by geotextile bags filled with sand. For those who worked on the conservation, this was far more than back-breaking labour. This was a long overdue opportunity to express their respect for their ancestors and their heritage. Christine Kelly: Well like they’re doing now, they never had a chance at all to do these things, early days. Our people knew that the burials were there, and because now the young kids are coming out and they’re working there, and then they’re getting to see something that people used to talk about years ago. They’re actually seeing it now, what’s laying there. It’s very important that they do something about it. At least they’re picking and then they work hard to protect – they’ve done a terrific job over these last three or four years. I’m hoping when everything is done there’ll be some water put back there and our ancestors will be protected by the water, you know? David Allen: Around the lake shore protection of shell middens, burials, and artefact scatters, such as these on the Talgarry Barrier, were causing concern. Because this low sandspit lies two metres below a high water mark, it’s difficult to protect it from erosion caused by rising and falling water levels. In 1996 the National Parks and Wildlife Service required the Murray-Darling Basin Commission to apply for a consent to damage or destroy the site under Section 90 of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act. Rick Farley: Well it was something that was legally required, because under the provisions of Section 90 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act in New South Wales, the approval of the Director-General is required before any Aboriginal relic can be disturbed or removed. So it was as simple as that. There were legal requirements on the commission to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage. Now that situation was not well understood by local land holders. So one of the benefits I think of the advisory committee was that it brought together Aboriginal people, agencies, private land holders. They came to appreciate the complexity of the issues and the legal responsibilities that the agencies had in relation to Aboriginal people. Having said that, my view is that the Aboriginal people were remarkably generous, because right from the word go, they said that they recognised a need to continue to provide water to private land holders, and the need to continue to provide water to downstream users. They could have just put their foot down and said no, we’re not going to negotiate. That would have created all sorts of problems for everyone. I think the Aboriginal people were very sophisticated and very mature in the way in which they approached the issues. David Allen: To apply for a consent, much more information was needed. Not just about the archaeology, but of the Aboriginal history and the natural environment. An Environmental Impact Study was required. As the EIS progressed the dimensions of the extraordinary Indigenous community that lived on the shores of this ancient lake began to unfold. The nature of this society has much to teach us about the future. When the first white explorers came to the area, they too noted the richness of the community around Tar-ru. During his epic journey rowing a boat along the Murray River, explorer Charles Sturt noted that Aboriginal populations intensified at the junction with the Darling River. He describes turning a bend in the river and surprising a large group of men, most likely a ceremonial gathering. Sturt was completely outnumbered, and the men became hostile, shouting and raising their spears. Thankfully Sturt was recognised by a warrior he’d befriended at an earlier stage of the same journey. Weapons were laid to rest and the expedition passed through without incident on this occasion. Sturt’s boat was to sail right past Tar-ru, but he noted that the district was heavily populated and was amazed at the numbers of people who approached him. Sturt: We seldom communicated with fewer than 200 daily. They sent ambassadors from one tribe to another to prepare for our approach. Natives were seen daily but they generally displayed a friendly attitude. David Allen: Several years later, in early 1838, Joseph Hawdon, droving a herd of cattle along the Murray River to Adelaide, became the first European to see Tar-ru. Hawdon’s renaming the lake Victoria, after his recently crowned young queen, indicates the impact this vision had upon the cattleman. Hawdon knew that he’d found a rare and valuable treasure. The waters and fertile shores of Tar-ru were as vital to the large population of Barkindji as to the steadily growing number of the white overlanders. As the overlanders became more and more intrusive, a struggle for dominance was looming. In early 1841 the South Australian Commissioner of Police, O’Halloran, made two expeditions to Tar-ru. He buried one white overlander and could not find the bodies of another three killed in conflicts with Indigenous warriors. On July 31, Assistant Police Commissioner Shaw and the Protector of Aborigines, Moorhouse, led a regiment of some 29 bushmen to the Rufus River. Promoted as a peace mission, it ended on 27 August in a massacre. A large group of Barkindji were trapped in crossfire between the east and west banks of the Rufus River. Those who jumped into the river to hide in the reeds were fired upon. Early accounts of the Rufus River conflict provide a range of theories of what took place on that day. Most likely the conflict involved a series of skirmishes, though the final showdown in the reeds of the Rufus River appears to be confirmed. This notorious battle of the Rufus was to be a turning point for the Barkindji at Lake Victoria, and is to this day commemorated. Many Indigenous survivors of the conflict later found work on the large pastoral leases that spread over the land. Others moved south, down the Murray. In the late nineteenth century epidemics played their part too, quickly devastating the once large and prosperous population of Tar-ru. By the 1890s only a handful of the original people were living in the Tar-ru area. The lake and rivers now bustled with paddle-boats as the pastoral properties flourished unhindered. The wool industry boomed. Surveys to identify historic and prehistoric heritage would present a detailed picture of the cultural richness of Lake Victoria. The full significance of the lake to archaeology in Australia emerged during the excavations and the months of analysis which followed. Dr Jeannette Hope: People had not only been buried around the lake, but they clearly lived there in large numbers for some time. We found lots of Aboriginal fireplaces, recognisable as clusters of burnt clay, huge numbers of stone artefacts. We subsequently during the EIS tried to do some statistics, but we’re talking about millions of artefacts. In one area, on the channel of French – of the Rufus River as it runs across the lake bed, we recorded 1200 whole and fragmented grindstones, which is a huge number. You don’t see grindstones in that number anywhere, partly because they’re collected – they’ve been collected, but also this was clearly a place where there was intensive use of grindstones, probably for grinding seeds or bulrush roots. We often saw these in clusters, we’d get two or three together. In combination you would have complex fireplaces, massive shell middens, that went on for hundreds of metres and sometimes up to a metre thick. We knew from some of the historical records that there were actually huts along the Frenchman’s-Rufus. So effectively you’re talking about a village. In fact you can sum it up by perceiving Rufus River coming into the southern lake bed, flowing across this little flood plain, as the road. We know people used bark canoes. There are scarred – a lot of the dead trees have canoe scars. The huts along the creek, and the burial grounds, the cemeteries, are in the little sandy rises at one end of the village. This is very rare, to get archaeological preservation of both the way people live, nearby where they bury the dead, plus historical records actually of descriptions of numbers of people living in houses. This is extremely rare. David Allen: Lake Victoria is something of an archaeological contradiction. It’s important not because it’s particularly old, but because it’s relatively young. In Western New South Wales, lakes such as Mungo are famous for their early Aboriginal occupation of 45,000 years ago. The oldest radiocarbon dates at Lake Victoria go back only 14,000 to 18,000 years, and most are much younger, less than 2500 years old. Archaeology reveals that over the last few thousand years in Australia, there were more open sites, the first known Aboriginal cemeteries were established, and the number of sites increased dramatically. Some archaeologists think that this points to population growth, and perhaps economic change. Dr Jeannette Hope: This has been highly debated, and not everybody agrees with it. However, it has worldwide significance because we know that elsewhere in the world human populations generally start growing rapidly, and to high numbers, over the last 5000 plus years. This is generally associated with the development of agriculture. It would be extremely intriguing if the same thing happened in Australia where agriculture didn’t develop. Now why is Lake Victoria interesting? At Lake Victoria, at one place, all the criteria for this area of late Holocene intensification can be found in the one place. The high localised intense use of resources, specifically water resources, river, lake resources, a very dense occupation and a very short time frame. David Allen: For many years the waters of Lake Victoria had concealed this Barkindji heritage. The same waters yielded more recent stories too. Stories of overlanders, pastoralists, labourers, and the lives and societies which sprang up around them. Male: 20mm cannon, 50 cal, .303, and here are the slugs. That’s the cannon slug, and the 50 cal. David Allen: During the Second World War, No. 2 Operational Training Unit of the RAAF used the lake for air gunnery training. Two planes crashed into the lake. At the Rufus River outlet there is now a plaque to commemorate the airmen who lost their lives here. After the war a new period of development began. Lake Victoria properties were again subdivided as part of the soldier resettlement scheme. When he visited the area in 1844, the explorer Charles Sturt enthused about the thriving birdlife and diversity of Lake Tar-ru. Sturt: The expanse of water on which were innumerable water fowl. The majestic swan, the screaming long-billed ‘Navarete’, and the spur-winged plover form a beautiful picture. David Allen: Decades of pasture and water regulation have radically changed this picture. The surrounding area was heavily over-grazed. Huge sheep properties sprang up around the lake. Stations which now carefully carry around 5000 sheep, once carried up to 100,000. New cropping methods downstream met international market demands, but the agricultural boom extracted a high ecological price. Dr Ian Sluiter: One of the downsides of lake operations has been that salinity has increased dramatically around the lake itself. That’s caused the tree death and tree decline of large areas of Black Box particularly, on the flood plain towards the Murray River and out to the east side of the lake as well. Effectively what happens is, underneath the whole area there is an underground aquifer which is highly saline, more saline than seawater. By putting a large freshwater body over it, it pushes the salt out hydraulically and of course that would manifest itself in the salt expressing itself in the – at the surface in low-lying areas outside the lake itself. David Allen: Bob Duncan and his sons have run a successful merino stud on the foreshores of the lake for almost 50 years. He knows all too well the challenge of running his business on fragile country in a low rainfall zone. He too has witnessed the increase of salt-effected country. Bob Duncan: It’s a glorious bit of wool… I think they’re beginning to realise, by that – putting that bank up in 1928 to get double capacity for South Australia, for their irrigated settlements, they didn’t know enough about the salt business. Probably they wouldn’t have cared then, because water looked good. See, in the ’56 flood when there was 10,000 acres of our country flooded, the hierarchy from South Australia, wouldn’t it be good if we could harness all that water? David Allen: There is no doubt that water regulation has played a significant role in the wealth of the nation. The question today is, at what price? Raising the level of the water in the lake for sustained periods has destroyed the woodland and swamp vegetation along the lake shore and caused severe erosion. Management of the natural environment, water levels and river flows, and a review of farm practises, are the critical ingredients for a new partnership of sustainability in the region. Annabelle Walsh: Over the last 200 years that we have been here – well Europeans have been in Australia – we have farmed the land with European eyes. We have managed the water systems under the practises that were established in Europe. It’s only now that the people who are managing the water are saying whoops, we’re under – we’re dealing with a different landscape here, and land system. We have to do it differently. You will find landholders are starting to see that as well. They’re saying whoops, we can’t set stock, we need to rotationally graze. We have to crop differently. We have to look at what’s happening to the ground water. We really have to work as a team. We have to get science, government, and land holders really working as a team. David Allen: The Murray River has been so radically changed in less than a century, that it is now in crisis. Low flows since 1996 have allowed the Murray mouth to block with sand, threatening the ecology of the Coorong. Since October 2002, the Murray mouth has been kept open by dredging. Don Blackmore: We all want the food and fibre this mighty river produces for us, right? But we also don’t want to take our kids down to a desert, right? We don’t want to take them down to a river that looks like a desert because we haven’t been able to protect the fringing vegetation. We’ve got our fish population down to about 10 per cent of the natural population. Well is that good enough? We’ve got the Murray mouth almost closed with the dredge down there pumping sand to keep it open. Well are these things indicating the right balance? I think what we’ve got to do is to make sure we listen to what our community say about balance, and we’re not going to have everybody clapping or singing to the same hymn sheet at the end of the day, but we want as many as we can. We want sufficient consensus on what is a sensible outcome from this river, and we’re working towards that. David Allen: The health of the Murray River, and the future sustainability of its waters, has challenged the whole community. Now a $500 million partnership between the Australian Government and the states is developing a national water initiative to define water rights, and therefore ensure regular flows back to the Murray. Don Blackmore: The reality is, you do what knowledge tells you. Having invested now, the Commission and the states, over the last 20 years to understand about the environmental health of the river, the very things that sustain the values that we want, we’d be foolhardy to ignore that message, and that information. David Harriss: Well I suppose we’ve learnt an enormous amount over the last 70 or 80 years since we’ve been operating the lake. We’ve learnt all about the hydrogeology. We’ve learnt all about the hydrology and how – the impacts that’s had on the environment. We’ve learnt all the lessons of adopting European land management practises in a really harsh and fragile Australian environment. We’ve learnt this over a number of generations. I suppose the next couple of generations are going to demonstrate how much we’ve learnt. How we can apply new methods of agriculture, how we can include the cultural heritage and – as a perspective in our land management, how we treat the environmental hazards, how we actually manage for the environment. All those things have got to come together. It’s going to take generational change, but Lake Victoria’s brought it all together in a hurry, and we’re going to have to do that otherwise it will just keep declining for all purposes. Male: [Speaks foreign language]. Welcome to our land in Barkindji language. So could you please clap the rhythm… [Clapping beat] Male: …or dance the rhythm. David Allen: In October 2002 the Lake Victoria Cultural Landscape Plan of Management was launched at Rufus River. This was an important milestone. After years of concern, negotiation and compromise, the plan is a blueprint for the future. At its heart is a commitment to ongoing consultation between the stakeholders, which will see the Barkindji elders taking on a greater role in managing Aboriginal cultural heritage and conservation matters. Rick Farley chaired the discussions of the advisory group through the long period of consultation and negotiation. As tough as it was at times there’s optimism that a realistic balance has been achieved. Rick Farley: Well the only thing that I can really base any judgement on is the fact that there seems to be a view from most of the stakeholders that so far they can live with the outcomes. The Aboriginal people I’m sure would say that this is not the best way to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage, but they also recognise the reality of the other requirements that are on the Commission, in terms of supplying water to downstream users and to other local land holders. So probably Aboriginal people wouldn’t regard it as a 100 per cent success, but it’s something that they appear to believe that they can live with.>From the point of view of private land holders, there are some ongoing issues. Some of them may require additional action by the Commission, but I haven’t heard any land holders say that their position is absolutely untenable as a result of the development of the management plan. Warren Duncan: I think the actual process of the management plan and everything that’s gone with it, it’s been fairly stressful on each of the people that have been around the lake. I think the actual process in the long run has actually probably cleared out a lot of the worries in relation to – people have actually been given a little bit more surety of what direction they’re actually heading on their properties and that. The cultural heritage has now been protected in relation to our area of the lake, is what we consider, and to actually get vegetation on a hostile environment like the beachfront of Dunedin Park and Talgarry, basically there’s regeneration of vegetation all the way along the actual beachfront, which is basically achieving what needs to occur. What it’s actually doing is trapping sand, and basically building up the eastern beach. We seem to be winning in relation to the actual – the protection of cultural heritage is occurring, and hopefully we’re actually – in the eyes of everybody concerned, it’s actually doing the job that needs to be done. David Allen: The management plan is a dynamic document. It has provisions for review and monitoring, and the capacity to react to new circumstances and new pressures as they develop. David Dole: Out of that I think we’ve got a balance. It’s a balance that isn’t what – everything that everybody expected, but it’s a fair bit of what most people expected. I think that balance has been something that we’ve learnt can be achieved, not without pain, but it’s achieved here I think in a very spectacular way with it. We’re operating the storage now at a time of critical drought. You can see from the vegetation that there’s been quite a deal of success in recovery of natural vegetation. Protection of burials has been pretty well done. It will have to be continued to be worked on. There’s a balance that I think reflects what we were trying to achieve in the first place, what we learnt we had to achieve after the first few years of discussion. Jane Roots: Yeah, I think natural resource management is involving Aboriginal communities, and natural resource management is a huge step towards reconciliation at a national scale. It’s actually a fundamental step, because of Aboriginal culture. I’m not one to speak on it, but because of the sense of country. That’s what our obligations as natural resource managers – we have to take that into consideration. We’re not managing natural resources until we manage the Aboriginal community’s expectations and their involvement in that landscape. It’s country, it’s their country, and we can’t manage it unless we actually understand that. Roddy Smith: The best thing that ever came out of this, all this mucking around and talking about things, is the protection of the burial site. It’s the best thing that ever happened. Yeah, we needed the protection very badly, and we got it. I’m pleased with that. My people are pleased with it too. Male: That’s the original burial site… Rick Farley: I think perhaps the lasting legacy of this process is going to be firstly building of capacity within the Aboriginal community. For instance, there is now and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer employed at Lake Victoria, specifically to deal with the heritage that exists here. The lasting legacy well may not be a management plan in terms of a document, but the lasting legacy I think is likely to be improvements in relationships. That is the basis of a healthy community. Christine Kelly: Well the past is the past I suppose. Now all we’ve got to do is look for the future. I’m sure that things are going to work out good out there, in Lake Victoria, because I can see it happening. The people are all coming together and there’s more children showing interest in Lake Victoria now, these days, because they go out on a regular basis and have a look around. That’s all that matters to me, it’s – our kids in the future, you know? There’s a big picture out there. We need to work together and solve it. I think it’s going to be great, Lake Victoria. David Allen: The story of Lake Victoria crystallises many of the driving issues in Australia’s national development. At a time when problems and environmental degradation and salinity are as significant as water scarcity, the story revealed by archaeology encourages a long-term view of land and water management. Lake Victoria teaches one central lesson. Shared responsibility is the key to future sustainability. This may be the lesson of Lake Victoria, but Tar-ru offers us much more, a unique understanding of the complexity and sophistication of Indigenous society in Australia. [Music plays]

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