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After seeing the destruction of the fragile alpine ecology of Australia’s Snowy Mountains first hand, Richard Swain with the support of his wife, Alison decides to speak out. Hard hoofed animals are trampling and endangering the viability of the headwaters of three iconic rivers.
Where The Water Starts reveals how the fragile alpine region, particularly Kosciuszko National Park, the largest in the Australian Alps is seen by a number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who were born or live, or who care deeply about it.
The direct impacts of global warming become a visceral and frightening reality for Richard and his wife, Alison. The massive bushfires of 2019-2020 surround their community and burn vast swathes of Kosciuszko National Park, highlighting the broader context of the climate crisis.
Where The Water Starts brings together respected Aboriginal community leaders as well as business people, a local farmer, a scientist, a former parks officer and a social historian.
The film explores our shared Indigenous and colonial histories and identities. It focuses on the themes of Caring for Country as a shared responsibility of all Australians; that the best of Aboriginal connection and the best of regenerative science can work together for a better future for the alpine environment and the planet.
While the connection between Indigenous people and the land is at the heart of the film, the message is also one of a partnership between Indigenous people, other community groups and scientists working together in order to conserve the Park and rehabilitate degraded areas.
Wendy Bacon, journalist, activist October 2021
After the film, there will be a special Q&A featuring the below speakers.
Richard Swain – Indigenous Ambassador Invasive Species Council
Richard has worked for 25 years as an Indigenous guide within Kosciuszko National Park.
Having spent his life in the Snowy Mountains he has seen first-hand the huge impact feral animals are having on the park and the threatened species that rely on Kosciuszko for survival. He is passionate about educating the public on the true history of landscape changes and degradation over the past 230 years.
Bruce Pascoe – Aboriginal Australian writer of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays and children’s literature. He’s best known for his non-fiction book, Dark Emu (2014).
Dr Phillip Zylstra – Associate Professor at Curtin University and the country’s leading fire ecologist. He is an environmental scientist connecting plant traits to wildfire behaviour and its effects on ecosystems. He has authored the book, Fire History of the Australian Alps – Prehistory to 2003.
Pam O’Brien – former NPWS (National Parks and Wildlife Service) area manager in KNP (Kosciuszko National Park) and local land holder.
Mandy King & Fabio Cavadini – Director & Producer
Mandy Kingis an Australian filmmaker who has been producing documentaries since the late 1980’s. Her interests include the environment, Indigenous rights and independence struggles, through to the arts and labour history. She works closely with her partner, Co-Producer and Cinematographer Fabio Cavadinias the partnership Frontyard Films. They have produced a number of documentaries based in the Pacific – in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Bougainville – which have shown on Australian broadcast networks as well as to international audiences. Their most recent production is WHERE THE WATER STARTS.
FanForce acknowledges that we are on traditional lands, and recognises the global indigenous peoples. We honour all traditional custodians, and pay our respects to spiritual Elders both past and present.