The River : A Journey through the Murray-Darling Basin
The 2011 ACT Book of the Year Assessment Panel considered this book to be a heartfelt and honest account of one of the major issues facing Australia today. A unanimous decision by the Panel, the work strongly met the assessment criteria for the Award being that of excellence in literature, quality of writing and a contribution to the ACT’s literary profile.
The author takes the reader on a journey through Australia’s heartland, following the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, recounting his experiences, his impressions and stories of the people he meets along the way. In this, his first book, Hammer uses the style of travel writing to explore the crisis confronting the basin, including its environmental, financial and social aspects.
Australia's major river system is collapsing. Parts of it are dying; parts of it are already dead. Australia's most significant river no longer reaches the sea … I look out into the dim autumn light and wonder once again how it has come to this …
In The River, Chris Hammer takes us on a journey through Australia's heartland, following the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, recounting his experiences, his impressions, and, above all, stories of the people he meets along the way. It's a journey punctuated with laughter, sadness and reflection.
The River looks past the daily news reports and their sterile statistics, revealing the true impact of our rivers' decline on the people who live along their shores, and on the country as a whole. It's a tale that leaves the reader with a lingering sense of nostalgia for an Australia that may be fading away forever.
Chris Hammer is a Canberra-based journalist with more than 25 years experience, working for newspapers, magazines, and television. He has worked as a roaming international correspondent for SBS Television’s Dateline, Chief Political Correspondent for The Bulletin, and a senior political writer for The Age. the River was shortlisted for the 2010 Manning Clark House National Cultural Award.