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Family tells river stories in song

By Melissa Pouliot as part of ‘The Wimmera’s Flowing Tale’, a Wimmera Catchment Management Authority series raising awareness of a need for Wimmera River health.
During the mid-2000s, Lake Albacutya farmer Peter Gosling was so desperate for water for his sheep that he and his sons Ben and Andy would pump it out of puddles left by the little rain that fell at the time.
The third-generation sheep and cropping farmer has lived through many droughts, but none quite as desperate as the longest on record when the farm almost ran out of water.
As well as drought, Peter has also lived through many floods and uses song to express his deep connection with the Wimmera landscape.
Ben and Andy, also songwriters and musicians, are continuing the tradition, playing gigs and recording albums as The Lazy Farmer’s Sons.
When Peter shared his story for a 2011 publication: “For Life…how we got the water back”, a book about the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline Project, he said he closely followed the campaign for piping because of his concern for the Wimmera River.
He said he had a strong realisation about 25 years earlier that although the open channel system was essential for the survival of farms and towns – it was taking ‘a heck of a toll’ on the lower reaches of the river system.
“For me, even though I knew my farm would benefit from the pipeline, I was more concerned about seeing the river system return to what it used to be and I saw the pipeline project as the only way to achieve this,” Peter said.
“I didn’t take an active role in the campaigning or the lobbying, but I sure did write a lot of songs about it.”
When five Wimmera walkers covered the full 350-kilometre stretch of the Wimmera River during a 15-day ‘Mountains to Mallee’ adventure in 2007, Peter walked the first leg from the start of the river to Elmhurst.
Having grown up at the opposite end of the system, he said he had always been fascinated by where the river began and shared stories about the other extreme – floods.

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Posted on Jan 30 2013

Posted by on Jan 30 2013. Filed under Agriculture, Arts Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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