Maudie Palmer | Birrarung

18 April – 18 May 2019


Maudie Palmer, Birrarung, 2016, single channel video and surround sound (still), 26 minutes, 37 seconds



The Birrarung film is a narrative of the River Yarra (misnamed by European settlers) from its source to the sea. It is a nature/culture; visual poem that reminds us of the importance a river has upon the ecology of a city.


The Birrarung begins high in the mountains in the depth of the indigenous forest, where its closed catchment, one of only five in the world, captures pure potable water for the population of Melbourne.


European settlement has extended upstream from what is now the flourishing city of Melbourne. While the appreciation of this life giving force has improved, there are still parts of the river that are neglected. As the urban sprawl has developed -unclean storm water caries pollution into the river and human carelessness undervalues the city’s dependence upon the river’s waters.


The film highlights artworks and cultural institutions that have been made and built in its valley. The valley the river flows through was formed over forty thousand years ago. It flows 242 kilometres from its source to the sea. The film follows the course of the river acknowledging the Wurrundjeri people’s occupation of their land and waters.


The viewer is invited to view and to sit in contemplation of the Birrarung’s majesty as they would sit by the river itself, to understand the river and its environment’s importance to the ecology of the city and to be encouraged to enjoy its beauty, to restore it and preserve it from the threat of climate change and the indifference of man.


A Film by Maudie Palmer
26 minutes 37 seconds
Cinematography: Darryl Whitaker, Jackson and Jacqueline Mitelman
Editor: Ashlee Lukas
Original music by: Bryony Marks
Graphics: John Power



Part of ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019 23 April–19 May, a socially-engaged festival of exhibitions, theatre works, keynote lectures, events and artist talks considering climate change impacts and the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change. For more information: www.artclimatechange.org


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