Murray: Oral History of Wally Cooper and Pat Larkin


Murray: Oral History of Wally Cooper and Pat Larkin


An interview in five parts with Wally Cooper, a Moitheriban man, and Pat Larkin.

Wally talks about traditional fishing, fishing women, tickling fish, fishing with spears, hand lines, baiting, canoe fishing and diving for Crayfish. He also mentions cross lining and the use of drum nets in floodwaters. He marvels at the dexterity and play habits of water rats, and reflects on their scarcity. He discusses their history of being hunted, skinned, exported, and in some cases, eaten; He says it is customary that only male elders eat water rats and use their skins (men's-business).

Of the river, Wally and Pat discuss sustainable fishing practices, and talk at length about the Basin's wider management. They consider local agriculture, irrigation, habitat management, water allocation, floods, droughts, pests, weeds, silviculture, as well as the rivers' recreational and fish industries.

Wally and Pat refer to a chemical era, when DDT and Dieldrin were used as a pesticide on vinyards and Tobacco crops along the River. They talk about the chemicals, their effects on native fish, the contamination of farmland, and the ecological footprint of Tobacco growing itself.

Mention of Moira Forest, King River, Ovens River, Glenrowan, Yielima Station, Barmah Forest, Yarrawonga, Echuca, Nathalia, Barmah Lake, Wodonga, Oxley, Docker, Wangaratta, Fifteen Mile Creek, Mokoan, Hume Weir, Mulwala Weir, Namoi River, Lake Cargelligo, Broken River, Rose River, Lake Buffalo, Goulbourn River, Upper Murrumbidgee River, Warby Ranges, Swan Hill, Moira Station, LaTrobe Valley, Charlton.

Mentioned: silver bream, mountain galaxias, cormorant, worms, Bardi Grubs, platypus, water rat, white mussel, black mussel, swan, mice, tiger snakes, frog, foxes, cats, pigs, rabbits.

Plant life mentioned: Red gum, willows, bottlebrush. blackboys, tobacco, cotton, St. John's Wort, blackberries, grey box, kabungi, water hyacinths, blue gum.

Also mentioned: Flemington; Barmah Muster; River Improvement Trust; Department of Sustainability and Environment; Rex Hunt; Erni Briggs; Charlie Carp; the huge influx of silver perch in either 1954 or 1957; the changing structure of the river influenced by the removal of snags and willows.


Heather Goodall
Jodi Frawley


University of Technology, Sydney


Murray-Darling Basin Authority
NSW Department of Primary Industries - NSW Fisheries


Copyright University of Technology, Sydney



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Open access



Jodi Frawley


Wally Cooper
Pat Larkin


Ovens, Victoria, Australia


Part 1 00:02:58
Part 2 00:20:50
Part 3 00:22:38
Part 4 00:21:07

Item Relations

This Item Is Part Of Item: Mainstem Murray River
This Item Was Created By Item: Prof. Heather Goodall
Item: Dr Jodi Frawley
This Item Has Provenance Information Item: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA)
Item: State Library of New South Wales
This Item References The Subject Item: Trout Cod
Item: Redfin

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