My name is Monica Kerwin, I’m a proud Barkandji woman. I am mother, and a grandmother who was born and brought up in Wilcannia on the banks of the Darling River. My people are the Barkandji people. When I was a child, the river was fresh and flowing, and I was taught the traditional ways and stories of my people.
The Barka was also the main food source of my people. Today it brings me great sadness to see the river in such a bad way. I am 48 years old and for the last 20 years, the river has stopped flowing the way it should. The river turtles have gone, many fresh fish have gone, the bird patterns have changed, even the possums have left. I follow my mother’s bloodline, but the Barka, the Darling River, is all of our lifeline. Without the river, I am unable to teach my grandchildren my culture and allow them to have the identity of being a Wiimpatja Paaka, which is River People. Thank you.