Murray: Oral History of the 'Kerang Crew'


Murray: Oral History of the 'Kerang Crew'


John Baulch: taught himself how to fish as a child with an Alvey sidecast fishing reel. He talks about flow rates; water levels; the European Carp supplanting the Redfin; the decline of Yellowbelly; selling fish to the local clubs; and the return of native fish.

Greg McNeil:, an irrigator, suggests that recent floods might have made unecessary plans to re-snag and reclaim the river. He advocates for a hands-off approach to river management and says that irrigation across the basin has matured while becoming more 'intense'.

Unannounced: recalls professional fishermen; swimming in the river; and observes that there was less recreational fishing in the past. Remembers that the Loddon was different when backed up by a weir from 1923 to 1964 and also talks about water levels and the river's improved health more recently.

Rodger Reilly: remembers fishing with his uncle. Mention of Woods Point. Worked with Fisheries and Wildlife, transferred to the Lands Department, and ended up in Kerang. He talks about needing to change where he goes angling because of the poor quality of water (caused by Cumbungi, siltation); frontage licenses and the advantage of local knowledge.

Esther Kirby; (of the Baraba Baraba people) used to fish at the weir with her brother sister and partner, catching Redfin and Yabbies and sharing the spoils. She talks about the decline in fish diversity (especially catfish) with arrival of Carp; and how she learnt a technique to call fish up from one of her Aunties. She has fished the Edwards, Wakool, Niemur, and Goulburn rivers, among others.

Elaine Jones; learnt to fish for Flounder on the coast and only later stared fishing on the Loddon. She discusses the 1973 flood and the arrival of European Carp; the disappearance of Tortoises; irrigation, water efficiency and the salinity problem.

Ross Stanton: remembers fishing for Redfin out of Gunbower Creek. and talks about schools of small Carp.

Rob O'Brien: learnt to fish with his Uncle in the lower Kerang. catching Yabbies with "roly-poly" woodlice. He talks about the colour of the water; fishing with spinners; and recalls that people used to fill half a wheat bag with Redfin dragging a spinner while walking from the old Kerang bridge to Kerang. He mentions the arrival of Carp in 1974; swimming; siltation; and using drum nets.

The group goes on to discuss the return of Murray Cod; the use of Murray Cod to control Carp; size limits; catch and release; changing attitudes; competitive fishing; blackwater (in 1986); different species of trout cod; and fish lanes.

Esther mentions that the (Wadi Wadi?, Wodi Wodi?) group met with Parks and Wildlife and the Water Catchment Authority to raise the issue of fish being killed by irrigation.

Mention of Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre; "Water Catchment Authority"; "Fisheries and Wildlife"; "Lands Department"

Also mentions: Red Azolla (Azolla filiculoides); Myriophyllum ("watermilfoil", "cat tail"); Cumbungi (Typha latifolia).


Heather Goodall
Jodi Frawley


University of Technology, Sydney


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


Copyright University of Technology, Sydney



Access Rights

Open access. Conditional use.



Originally organised by researchers in sub-collection 'MDB Extra'. Loddon River is a major tributary of the River Murray.


Unmediated licence agreement. Interviewee's consent condition: Some participants have requested access restrictions but have not specified what they are.


Jodi Frawley


John Baulch
Nicole Bullen
Brian Drummond
Fern Hames
Elaine Jones
Esther Kirby
Jon Leevers
Greg McNeill
Rodger Reilly
Ross Stanton
Adrian Wells
Emma Wolters



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: River Blackfish
Item: European Carp

Position: 73 (51 views)