​Media Release

River maps to reconciliation

31 July 2018

  • Two events this week celebrating Aboriginal people of Australia's two great water basins
  • Aboriginal land and water maps of the northern Murray–Darling Basin presented today
  • 'Aboriginal Way' map of Lake Eyre Basin launched on 1 August 2018 in Alice Springs​

Two mapping projects of great Australian water basins will be launched this week to celebrate the strong and ongoing connection Aboriginal people have with land and water.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the Northern Murray–Darling Basin and the Lake Eyre Basin maps would be valuable resources.

"The maps clearly show important cultural features on the land and in our waterways and the first peoples in those areas," Minister Littleproud said.

"The Northern Murray–Darling Basin maps show more than 26,000 features across the Barwon, Narran, Culgoa and Balonne rivers, from Brewarrina in northern New South Wales to St George in Queensland.

"They mark out Aboriginal land and water cultural activities across the region and were handed to traditional owners today in Brewarrina.

"These maps will help the broader community meaningfully engage with the land's traditional owners.

"I hope these maps will inspire people to learn about Aboriginal culture."

The Northern Murray–Darling Basin maps were compiled by First Nations experts mapping with support from the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

The maps were handed to Euahlayi (You-alley-eye) traditional owners before Aboriginal leaders including Fred Hooper, Chair of Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations which represents 22 Aboriginal Nations.

The Lake Eyre Basin 'Aboriginal Way' map will be unveiled tomorrow in Alice Springs, showing traditional stories, songlines, trade routes, and languages.

Fast Facts:

  • The Murray–Darling Basin is home to over 40 Aboriginal nations dating back 65,000 years
  • The Murray–Darling Basin covers one million2 km – four times the size of New Zealand
  • The Murray–Darling Basin covers 14% of the continent, producing 40% of our food and fibre
  • 2.6 million people live in the Murray–Darling Basin, 3 million rely on it for drinking water