River stakeholders meet with MDBA Chairmen

By Dominic Geiger

Stakeholders representing various communities along the Lachlan River met with the Murray Darling Basin Authority Chairman Craig Knowles as he toured the region on Monday March 28.
Mr Knowles and the various representatives, which included mayors, landowners and Aboriginal groups, boarded a bus in Forbes which took them to a dairy farm east of the town.
Mayor of the Lachlan Shire Des Manwaring said Mr Knowles listened closely to the concerns voiced during the bus trip and at the farm.
“He said it was a fact finding mission for him; he was trying to get his head around the issues of the Lachlan River,” he said.
“He told us he had no pre-conceived views on what should be done here.
“The main thing (the stakeholders) told him was that the Lachlan is a closed system; it very rarely flows into the Murrumbidgee at all.”
Mary Ewing, Executive Officer at Lachlan Valley Water, said the Lachlan River flowed into a large marshland area which was usually cut off from the Murray Darling system.
“The Lachlan ends in the Great Cumbung Swamp near Oxley,” she said.
“The only time the river joins the Murrumbidgee is during a major flood.”
Des said the consensus amongst the stakeholders was that too much water had already been ‘bought back’ from the Lachlan and the tougher water allocation allowances had placed social and economic burdens on Lachlan River communities.
“There has been almost no water for ten years with the drought and people are just starting to recover,” he said.
“The Mayor of (The Carrathool Shire) got the point across that growth had slowed in Hillston since the water allocations were reduced in the town.
“Towns are on a limited supply of water as it is and we’re trying to entice people from Sydney to move here; there’s no way we’ll be able to do that if our water allocation is cut.”

Tracing the Lachlan brings adventure and beauty

Colin Whelan has been the official photographer for the NRL since 1982. A reader of Australian poetry, lover of motorbikes, master of camera work and an adventurer at heart, Colin combined his passions to trace the entire length of the Lachlan River on one of his many motorcycles, from Breadalbane to the swamps near Oxley and through Condobolin.
“I was also doing some shoots for a project I am doing to illustrate the work of Banjo Paterson,” said Colin.
After a long ride, Colin found himself in Condobolin and decided to camp at Gum Bend Lake for the night. Colin says was happy to wake in the silence of a lakeside morning, and took photos.
The camera that took the photos was not all that Colin had to record his motorcycle travels across NSW.
After falling in love with the scenery in Condo, Colin continued west through Hillston, searching for some pictures of the land that inspired Banjo Paterson’s ‘Hay, Hell and Booligal’. The dirt track there caused his bike-top camera to fall off, and his unique rider-view photos were lost. There was no chance of returning to find it.
After leaving Oxley, Colin left for Lake Mungo. An enjoyable journey so far, minus one mini camera, turned unpleasant when his bike became trenched in red sand, and the bike up and fell on his knee trapping him there for three hours. It was then that a roo shooter found Colin and helped him from under his heavy motorcycle.
Gaffer tape is not usually used as a bandage, but Colin is the adventurous type. Back on top of his bike, he then rode 275 km to Wentworth with a broken leg held together with tape.
Upon his return to Sydney, Colin received a phone call from the Hillston Police, with Officer Grant Wright saying he had a camera handed in.
“A couple of council workers grading the road had found it, handed it in and Grant had taken the digital card from it, waded through over 1000 images and found two that showed my numberplate. He then ran the plate and found my company as the owner, Googled the company to get the phone and rang me. Nice story heh?”
“I would like to thank Dick (the grader driver) and Roy from Hillston who handed in the camera and Grant for all the follow- up.”
Colin’s photos from this ride can be viewed on the facebook page ridensw  – the gallery is called, Boxing Day ride 2010.

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