The Water Dreamers: The Remarkable History of Our Dry Continent

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Text Publishing, Aug 2, 2010 - History - 336 pages

The long-awaited history that will change the way Australians think about their country.

The Water Dreamers is the story of the settlement of Australia: of the scarcity of water and the need to fill an imagined silence with the sounds of civilisation. From the moment the First Fleeters stepped ashore, water determined progress. The Tank Stream that flowed through what is now the Sydney CBD provided fresh water until settlers and their livestock fouled it. Then water from a nearby swamp was piped into the growing settlement. When it ran dry sights were set further afield.

The Water Dreamers is an illuminating account of the ways people have imagined and interpreted Australia while struggling to understand this continent and striving to conquer its obstacles. It’s an environmental history and a cultural history with an unmistakable sense of how, today, we are part of that continuing story.


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The Water Dreamers

User Review  - Thorpe-Bowker and Contributors - Books+Publishing

I'm glad for books like Michael Cathcart's The Water Dreamers. In recent years, history has been reinvigorated by taking new slants on old narratives. Here, Cathcart traces the familiar narrative of ... Read full review


The Valley of the Tank Stream
Mr Busbys Bore
Sounds of Water
The Myth of the Inland Sea
River of Dreams
Silence Victorious
Mapping the Silence
The Great Artesian Basin
Dick Hardwicke to the Rescue
Change of Heart
Australia Unlimited
New Beginnings

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About the author (2010)

Michael Cathcart was born in Melbourne in 1956—the year that television came to Australia. He was educated at Melbourne Grammar, the University of Melbourne, ANU and a tyre factory in Port Melbourne. He has worked as a schoolteacher, university lecturer and theatre director.

Cathcart has presented several Radio National programs, including ‘Arts Today’ and the ‘Radio National Quiz’, and for ABC TV he has presented the history magazine show ‘Rewind’ and the documentary series ‘Rogue Nation’. Cathcart is the author of Defending the National Tuckshop (1988), an expose of a secret militia called the White Army formed in Victoria in 1931, and he has published an abridgement of Manning Clark’s epic A History of Australia and an anthology of Australian speeches.

Michael Cathcart’s latest book is The Water Dreamers.

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