Desert Lake

Art, Science and Stories from Paruku

May 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    16th May 2013
  • ISBN 9780643106284
  • Language English
  • Pages 312 pp.
  • Size 10.25" x 9"
  • Images color paintings & color photos throughout

Desert Lake is a book combining artistic, scientific and Indigenous views of a striking region of north-western Australia. Paruku is the place that white people call Lake Gregory. It is Walmajarri land, and its people live on their Country in the communities of Mulan and Billiluna.

This is a story of water. When Sturt Creek flows from the north, it creates a massive inland Lake among the sandy deserts. Not only is Paruku of national significance for waterbirds, but it is has also helped uncover the past climatic and human history of Australia.

The Walmajarri people of Paruku understand themselves in relation to Country, a coherent whole linking the environment, the people and the Law that governs their lives. These understandings are encompassed by the Waljirri or Dreaming and expressed through the songs, imagery and narratives of enduring traditions. Desert Lake is embedded in this broader vision of Country and provides a rich visual and cross-cultural portrait of an extraordinary part of Australia.

"It is a journey to another country that will fill you with wonder."

- Aboriginal Art & Culture Blog

List of contributors
Map of Paruku
Part 1: Deep time
Chapter 1: Everything comes back to here
Chapter 2: Earth science in traditional lands: bridge or barrier?
Part 2: Recent times
Chapter 3: A Lake in time: histories of Paruku
Chapter 4: Mulan story
Chapter 5: Water of life
Chapter 6: The living world
Chapter 7: We have come to the shores: an artist’s diary
Chapter 8: The shape of the Lake
Chapter 9: Thinking about painting
Part 3: The future
Chapter 10: A strong community for the future
Glossary of Walmajarri words
Desert Lake. Art, Science and Stories from Paruku Folio and DVD

Steve Morton

Dr. Steve Morton is an Honorary Professorial Fellow with Charles Darwin University. He is an ecologist who studied at the Universities of Melbourne, California, and Sydney. He joined CSIRO in Alice Springs in 1984 to work in the desert environment that has long been his focus. From 2000 until 2010, based in Canberra and Melbourne, he helped lead CSIRO as Chief of Division and Executive Team member.

Mandy Martin

Mandy Martin is an internationally-renowned artist and this is her third major collaborative project in the Australian deserts incorporating art, science and story. She is an Artist and Adjunct Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.

Kim Mahood

Kim Mahood is a writer and artist and has worked as Liaison Officer for the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area.

John Carty

John Carty has expertise in anthropology and Aboriginal art that has arisen from years of work in the Western Desert, Pilbara and Kimberley. He is a Doctoral Candidate, Research School of Humanities, Australian National University.