Rivers: Lifeblood of Australia

Rivers: Lifeblood of Australia

A watercolour painting of Clarence River, near Dr. Dobie's, in New South Wales by Edward Thomson
30 March 2021 to 12 September 2021,


Exhibition Gallery, Ground floor


No booking required

Australia is the driest populated continent on the planet and yet it is covered with evidence of water: rivers, creeks, washes and wetlands. The paradox is due in large part to the ephemeral nature of the water. The continent is a land of drought and flood.

People have adapted to these various ecologies over millennia. The First Australians survived in both the driest and wettest of places, living with plenty and scarcity. Europeans brought with them a different mindset, one formed over thousands of years in the northern hemisphere. They sought to shape the environment to serve their existing cultural, social and economic ideas and support a growing population. Dams, reservoirs, tunnels and pumps are evidence of that.

This new collection-in-focus exhibition, opening on Tuesday 30 March, explores Australians’ relationships with their waterways.

Rivers: Lifeblood of Australia was curated by Ian Hoskins, author of the NLA Publishing title Rivers: The Lifeblood of Australia.

About the Book

 The Lifeblood of Australia by Ian Hoskins

In this broad-ranging survey of ten Australian waterways and river systems, Ian Hoskins presents a history of our complex connections to water.

Learn more

Image at top: Edward Thomson, Clarence River, near Dr. Dobie's, New South Wales, c.1848, nla.cat-vn2156723