The Water Ends Up in the Swan River

The Water Ends Up in the Swan River, 2020. knitted copper wire, plastic coated wire mesh, aluminium, nail polish

Tania Spencer

As a child, my Dad always told us that the floodwaters that came through the surrounding farms ended up in the Swan River. This became viable as we flew up over the floodwaters of 2006 when 230mm of rainfall fell in Lake Grace. These ancient riverbeds groaned and remade their pathways ever so gradually towards the Swan with the sheer amount of water that came down in 24 hours. The floodplain falls only 30cm per kilometre and drains 32,000 sqkm, a very large and flat area. Braided channels join the lakes in this ancient drainage system. Normally discontinuous, they only run when there is significant summer rain or prolonged winter falls. There is one running right through our farm where the Lake Biddy/Magenta tributary joins with the Pingrup River tributary.

I come to the realisation I have always lived on the rivers of the Swan. I grew up living on the Camm River, the Eastern tributary of the Lockhart River, which joins with the Yigarn River to make the Salt River. The Salt River flows into the Avon River, which in turn becomes the Swan River. I now live on the Pingrup River, the western tributary of the Lockhart. My teenage years were spent at Swanleigh and Governor Stirling in Middle Swan both situated on the banks. We spent many afternoons canoeing, swimming and exploring the Swan.

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