Monday 2nd May 2022

Biennale River Conversations Symposium

The PRCG recently attended the two-day River Conversations symposium as part of the Biennale of Sydney. The event aimed to start a discussion around the challenges faced by our river systems, how we can appreciate and acknowledge the holistic value of our rivers, and what the implications are of giving our rivers a ‘voice’ by recognising them as living entities.

At the Parramatta River cruise on Day 1, Darug artist Leanne Tobin and Kamilaroi man and Assoc. Professor Bradley Moggridge shared their personal and professional relationship with river Country and the importance of combining traditional knowledge with modern practices in waterway and land management. Nadia Young was also invited to talk briefly about the role of the Parramatta River Catchment Group in managing and improving waterway and catchment health.

Our Riverkeeper Jasmine Payget attended Day 2 of the symposium, which explored the experiences of organisations such as the Birrarung Council in achieving living entity status for the Yarra/Birrarung River. Prof Anne Poelina from the Kimberley region also talked about changing approaches to addressing the wellbeing of Country and Indigenous Australian people.

Participants were invited to take a small sample of water from the Yarra/Birrarung River, which had been specially prepared and smoked, to pour into a local waterway as a symbolic gesture of the conversations between all rivers. Jasmine chose the clean-up at Toongabbie Creek last weekend as the opportunity to pour the Yarra/Birrarung water into this important freshwater tributary of the Parramatta River.

Work continues with the Biennale organisers to create a Pact with the River, which we’re hopeful will be launched before the end of the exhibition.

Date: 02 May 2022