Used to be a river, 2019. (32°24'50"S 150°38'27"E)
Installation with 2-channel HD video, 6:45 minutes
Includes fibreglass canoe, broken paddle, native flora, soil, dirt and coal

Installation view, The Lock-Up Contemporary Artspace, 2020
Dimensions variable
Photo credits: Jesse Jane Photography
I used to be a river
I used to flow but now I’m dry
Not because I recently took turn to sobriety
But, 39 years ago they took me away
Those filthy mutts
I know who youse are
Glencore’s Ulan
Yancoal’s Moolarben
and Peabody’s Wilpinjong
You don’t have to remind me
I know who I was named after
Some stinking old British Politician
Henry fuckn’ Goulburn
Under-secretary for the Colonial Office
Don’t think he ever even came to meet me
But it’s funny you see
Cos we don’t own our names
We don’t even choose ‘em
Names are borrowed
Names are gifted to you
You remember that other strange fella
His name was William Lawson
Him and his expedition
His mates Blaxland and Wentworth
Well they was just trying to impress
They was also just passing through
When they named me
Tourists y’see
Well they gone now
But the residue lingers
That vicious colonial project
Still digging us up to turn a profit
Still toiling in our wealth
Hijacking our bloodlines
Then telling everybody how to sing our songs
But they all outa tune
Them words mixed up
Just like the salinity levels downstream
They got my mate Hunter all confused,
Think’n they the ocean
Great big ships coming in and out
All day
All night
You can hear ‘em
But you’s just not listenin’
Yeah, and so, they re-routed me
The Goulburn River Diversion
1981 to 2031
50 years
Then maybe they’ll think about it
Ending coal
That’s why I’m dry
And that’s why we all on fire - guyang
In the long run
I’ll rehabilitate myself
These trees and reeds
​​​​​​​
They’ll grow back
My ecology will thrive again
And there’ll be no one around
No one to farm them hooved animals
My banks will be clean
And you’ll be gone
Wonder if that Henry fella
ever seen what a cow goes through
When there’s no water - yuyuwi
When a young calf dies
The mumma cow just stays there
cries and cries and cries
Just like she did under that bridge they built over me
There’s no telling how long for
It’s the kinda grief you wouldn't wanna imagine
Let alone cause
And they say we can’t live without coal
Well, we not doing much good with it
Maybe we better off leaving it the ground
And giving back my galing - water
So I can go on singing my song
And stop draggin’ empty vessels down dry creek beds
This wasn’t really ever about drought
Buram-buram-bang
But this is stolen water
yuyuwi  no water
And it didn’t start 1981
Started before they even named me Goulburn
Used to be the main tributary
For Hunter
From all the way up at the Drip
Wiradjuri Country
Down through Wonnarua
And out at Worimi
I miss my brother
I miss my sister
And our lost river pair
This not a negligible impact
These companies keep applying
They wanna discharge me as their waste water
Not enough they already stole me
for washing dirty concentrates
to clean their $35 million
to reduce pollution
maybe we should just stop polluting
bila
and now it’s dry
And your leather boots keep crackin’
Only the skin on your face knows the time
But the bank of the river, your body
badha where you sit
While your eyes keep burning
And you, filling up with tears
As if it’s the only way
to bring back water
I used to be a river
Above: Used to be a river, 2019. 2 channel HD video, 6:45 minutes. Video excerpt.