Murray Darling Basin under discussion


 Wounded Country, The Murray Darling Basin – A Contested History by Quentin Beresford

Online interview with Quentin Beresford and Ross Lake

7.30pm, Thursday 23 September 2021

This is an online event via Zoom


Collins Booksellers Mildura will be hosting an online event with Quentin Beresford, author of Wounded Country, The Murray–Darling Basin: A contested history, in conversation with local businessman and historian, Ross Lake.


In Wounded Country, the award-winning author investigates the complex and contested history of Australia’s largest and most important river system. Beresford writes that waves of farmers over-capitalised on the region’s potential, with little consideration for the consequences. Dispossession and marginalisation denied local Indigenous people their lands and European settlers the cultural knowledge to manage the Basin sustainably. Instead, we’ve had ‘nation-building’ irrigation schemes and agricultural enterprises promoted by politicians more concerned with short-term profits and a development-at-all-costs approach than expert advice and long-term environmental effects.


Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler, claims Beresford’s work to be ‘one of the most important books to emerge in recent decades concerning both Australia’s dangerous environmental mismanagement and the indivisible plunder of Indigenous society.’    


It is no surprise the Murray–Darling Basin is under threat. This vast and spectacular geographical region, covering one million square kilometres from central Queensland to South Australia, has been exploited for nearly 200 years. Soil erosion, sand drifts, dust storms, salinity, algal blooms, threatened native flora and fauna, the drying out of internationally recognised wetlands and steadily worsening droughts have repeatedly brought large parts of the Basin to its knees.


Quentin Beresford has had a diverse career in academia, the public service and journalism. For many years he was Professor of Politics at Edith Cowan University in Perth. He is the author of many books on Australian politics and history, and has won several literary awards for his work. His most recent books are the Rise and Fall of Gunns Ltd, which won the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary award, and Adani and the War Over Coal. He is currently adjunct Professor of Politics at the University of the Sunshine Coast.


Ross Lake is looking forward to the discussion and will encourage questions from the virtual audience:

‘I am keen to reignite the debate around strategies, policies and politics that ensures sustainability in communities in the Basin,’ he said.  


For more information contact Donata Carrazza on 0407817741.