Art, science and ancient knowledges come together through partnerships across the Wiradjuri and Barkindji Nations
In 2019, when the catastrophic Menindee Fish Kill event saw one million fish die on the Barka/Darling River in Western NSW, the Narrandera Fisheries Centre was responsible for the rescue and care of the surviving native fish, including the breeding of over 60,000 new fish to be returned to the Barka/Darling River.
Narrandera-based arts organisation, The Cad Factory, worked with Matt McLellan from the Narrandera Fisheries Centre and a group of First Nations boys from the Clontarf Academy at Narrandera High, participating in weekly visits to tend to the fish and help prepare them for being released back on Country.
The Cad Factory led the process which set out to understand and share the connections between the two different river systems and how the communities of Menindee and Narrandera could come together through a sharing of arts, science and ancient knowledges.
Before the ‘official’ release of 60,000 Murray Cod, The Cad Factory and Clontarf Academy students and educators travelled to Menindee and worked with local Barkindji Elders, Aunty Patsy Quayle, Aunty Cheryl Blore, Aunty Barbara Quayle, plus local river rangers, to undertake a cultural release of 200 Cod.
The next stage of the work culminated in a family friendly event and performance in the Narrandera community at the Marrambidya/Murrumbidgee River in April 2021, Wirramarri: Long Way From Home. The performance told the story of the journey through projections, storytelling and cultural dance, centred around honouring all life forms and their ancient connection to place.
The following video shares The Cad Factory’s Menindee experience.