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Far West water run

Monday, 4th March, 2019

(From left) Matt Rumler, Aunty Sue Hall Williams and Darlene Rumler, getting ready to head off with their truckload of water to Wilcannia residents on Saturday after stopping off in Broken Hill Friday night. PICTURE: Callum Marshall (From left) Matt Rumler, Aunty Sue Hall Williams and Darlene Rumler, getting ready to head off with their truckload of water to Wilcannia residents on Saturday after stopping off in Broken Hill Friday night. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Ngiyampaa/Barkindji woman and Victorian public servant Darlene Rumler is on a mission to deliver water to Far West residents.

Driving all the way from Ballarat with slabs of water donated to her, Darlene arrived in Wilcannia with her husband Matt, her friends and her aunt, Aunty Sue Hall Williams, on Saturday. 

Aunty Sue, like Darlene, has been instrumental in getting desperately needed water to communities that need it most.

Ms Rumler said she wanted to do something after hearing how bad the water situation was in the Far West.

“It started up with social media and seeing the family wanting some assistance with this water,” said Darlene.

“I haven’t lived in Broken Hill for over 21 years now, and so I didn’t realise how bad (the water situation) actually was.

“Not just for Broken Hill but Menindee, Pooncarie, Wilcannia and all that.

“(In fact) most of the people from Ballarat and further down south didn’t even know what was going on.

“They weren’t even aware of the fish kills at the time (they happened), and the funniest thing was they didn’t even know where the Darling River was.

“So I got onto the phone with Aunty Sue and just asked her, ‘what do you want me to do?’

“I said I was happy to help out wherever I could and just had the idea of collecting some water and seeing if I could come up (with it.)

The weekend trip to Wilcannia follows one Darlene made out to Menindee recently.

“It’s been a hard slog from the first time (I did this) four weeks ago to Menindee on the Australia Day long weekend,” said Darlene.

“So I asked people to donate a slab of water, and I’d foot the bill for everything else.

“So I carted 4,500 litres up and met with Mal (Highet) from South Australia on the first Menindee run. 

“And I distributed my water to the Elders within the community, house by house, where I actually walked in and put it on their kitchen benches because they couldn’t do it themselves.”

Darlene said that as a proud Ngiyampaa/Barkindji woman she felt compelled to do something and help out her old community.

“(Part of coming up) was also about connecting my current community to my traditional country and old community within the Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee area,” she said.

“Water is a human right and when I started doing some further investigating and seeing pictures of babies up there breaking out in sores, as an early childhood educator that really got to me.

“As my mob, my old community, why wouldn’t I do something? And that’s why I’ve done this. 

“So by the time we roll out Saturday morning we’ll be carting almost 7000 litres of fresh water to Wilcannia.”

If you’d like to get in contact with Darlene about future water runs, you can message her on the Barka Water Run Facebook page.

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