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Darlings on the Darling

Saturday, 14th September, 2019

(From left) Lexia Layback, Megan Williams, Tom MacLeod, Supre’ Schultz, Charlotte Borthwick and Fox Pflueger beside the Darling River near Tolarno Station. PICTURE: Supplied (From left) Lexia Layback, Megan Williams, Tom MacLeod, Supre’ Schultz, Charlotte Borthwick and Fox Pflueger beside the Darling River near Tolarno Station. PICTURE: Supplied

By Callum Marshall

Friends of the Earth has once again joined with the LGBTI and drag communities to raise awareness about the state of the Darling River with a trip out to Menindee yesterday, and a visit to Broken Heel today.

Friends of the Earth’s Megan Williams said coming out to the region and having events planned for the day in Menindee was about raising awareness of the issue to a wider audience.

“This is our second time coming to do a drag show on the river,” she said.

“To bring the story of the (river’s) disaster back to the cities.

“And to bring some creative wear to what is otherwise a really devastating situation.”

She said it was really important for marginalised communities to come together and support each other.

“Obviously the queer community has a long history of fighting for their own survival,” said Ms Williams.

“So they’ll really understand what it must be like for communities struggling to survive.

“And that’s why we’re here, showing our support, bringing some energy and doing what we can.”

Ms Williams said last year’s first event emerged due to Broken Heel coinciding with an important day. 

“We had the idea last year because it was Threatened Species Day on the first day of the Broken Heel festival,” she said.

“This year, obviously with the fish kills happening over the summer, people are aware of the issues going on in Menindee but back in the cities it’s not front of mind anymore.

“Both the state and federal governments have been talking about the problems lately and the life support efforts to save the last few fish in the river, which isn’t enough.

“It’s a whole ecosystem that’s dying and there are many practical solutions that they need to address the systemic failings in the river system.”

She said yesterday’s activities in Menindee included a Darlings on the Darling talent show with several drag show performances and an open mic night for members of the community to get involved and have some fun.

Today, she said, they’ll be in the parade at Broken Heel.

Talent show MC and performer Fox Pflueger said this year’s event was all about supporting the community. 

“This time the focus is definitely on community, supporting them and also giving them a voice,” she said.

“Last night (Thursday) we had a film screening which was about an action that happened in the Northern Rivers with communities coming together to speak out against fracking.

“So it was really nice to have some families there and a bunch of kids watching and getting really inspired.”

She said listening to the community and hearing their stories about dealing with a dry river was important.

“I’m hoping we can collect some stories about people’s experiences out here,” she said.

“What it’s like for them dealing with a dry river and what’s happened to them since the rivers have been over extracted.

“And hopefully (we’ll) make a little video so that we can get that message out to the world.”

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