Upper Murrumbidgee: Oral History of Bryan Pratt


Upper Murrumbidgee: Oral History of Bryan Pratt


An interview in four parts with Bryan Pratt.

Brian came to the Murrumbidgee in 1965. He talks about seasonal variations in the prevalence of fish, and their breeding and migration habits. He remarks on regional variations within species and cross-breeding (e.g. how the Clarence River Cod differs from the "Fitzroy Cod"). He discusses the annual mass death of Silver Perch and Murray Cod, speculating that its cause is a pathogenic. He also speaks about population decline, and weighing the social and ecological consequences of translocating and re-stocking fish. He offers a strong endorsement of the Native Fish Strategy and talks about his efforts to advocate for native fish in the media.

He shares his knowledge of lures; their colour, size and patterning, as well as other ways that their design replicates nature. He also talks about bait; what it's used for, where it comes from, and how it's collected.

Mention of Fitzroy Cod, Brook Trout, Atlantic Salmon, Nile Perch, Barrumundi, Midget Barrumundi, mussels, scrub worms, bardy grub, witchetty grub, wood grub (variant?), yabby, squid, pilchards, prawn, beach worms, abalone, EHN Virus, pathogens, Lernaea (parasite)

Current owner of a fishing and tackle shop in Belconnen. But this is only a retirement enterprise. He started life as a scientist, but was lured to the public service firstly by Gough Whitlam. When the Whitlam government fell- he went to work for the territories conservation department and so was an early cross over of science and bureaucrat. But all the time he was an avid recreational fisherman. He has been a long time advocate of building bridges between science and recreational fishing and strongly believes that mass communication is the way to go. He has written for popular Rec fishing magazines and newspapers for decades. He also has a regular spot on radio. He sees the tackle shop as a type of liminal space where he can translate science for fishers and gather information and knowledge from fishers for science. I think that Bryan's interview has lots of gems - but the section that I particularly liked was when he and I went over to the lures and he talked to me about how they work; their design and the ways that they replicate nature. He gives very strong endorsements of the Native Fish Strategy.


Heather Goodall


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


Bryan Pratt


Belconnen, Canberra, Australia


Part 1 00:20:29
Part 2 00:10:05
Part 3 00:20:25
Part 4 00:04:39

Item Relations

This Item Is Part Of Item: Upper Murrumbidgee 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: Silver Perch
Item: Murray Cod
Item: "Talking Fish" Radio documentary, Hindsight, ABC RN
References This Item

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