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Joy flows

Wednesday, 10th February, 2021

Kathalka tipped some water over her head, enjoying every drop. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Kathalka tipped some water over her head, enjoying every drop. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

The Darling River is flowing and the Wilcannia Weir has precious water trickling across its rocks; which means for a very happy community in Wilcannia. 

Owen Whyman, Baaka man and Wilcannia resident, said the excitement throughout the town when the river flows is unmatched - locals wasted no time getting down to the river to make the most of it. 

“Well it’s the excitement, there’s a buzz that runs through our community every time there’s water coming down,” Mr Whyman said. 

“There’s always a buzz in the community, everyone wants to know if the fish are on so people can go fishing, go swimming and mainly just spend time down at the river itself and watching the water flow.”

Mr Whyman said the water flowing through the river is so important to the Wilcannia community and their livelihoods because it’s who they are. 

“We’re Barkandji people, Baaka means river and we’re river people.

“I’m one of the lucky ones who can tell stories about the river and spending time down at the river with my grandmother, I want my children and their children after that to be able to tell stories of the river too and their children when they grow up.

“By the destruction from these cotton growers I don’t think my kids will ever be able to tell as many stories of the fun and the times we used to have down the river, it’s devastating. 

“So every time we get some sort of flow, I jump at the chance to take my kids down, do a bit of fishing, have a cook up on the river and spend time on the river itself.”

The Whyman kids have a passion and love for the river as strong as their father’s, taking every opportunity to spend time in the river. 

“My girls, as soon as they get home from school - it doesn’t have to be a weekend - as soon as they’re home from school it’s; ‘Dad take us down the river, Dad take us down the river’,” Mr Whyman said.

“Put it this way they had the swimming pool open and when the water started coming the kids all left the swimming pool and went down the river.

“Our story lies within the river system you know, without the river system there is no us and that’s always the way, so I hope it keeps flowing.”

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