Three story-tellers - a podcaster, a photographer and a writer - set out on an ambitious journey. Their brief: bring back the voices of the Darling, the forgotten people of the forgotten river.
Sound, pictures and words were gathered over a 3500km journey into the far reaches of outback NSW.
Voice of Real Australia podcast host Tom Melville, Canberra Times photographer Dion Georgopoulos and ACM roving journalist John Hanscombe spent eight days collecting material for the Forgotten River: an Outback Tragedy.
Each was asked to approach the subject from the different perspectives of their chosen medium.
Here are the stories of our story-tellers.
Before joining ACM as the host of the award-winning podcast series Voice Of Real Australia, Tom worked for the BBC in London. He began a freelance career in Tunisia just as COVID-19 began to sweep across the world and joined the scramble to return to Australia, just making it out before international borders slammed shut. He has travelled extensively - including through Kyrgyzstan on horseback - and that wanderlust has not subsided back in Australia.
"The voices of the people we met on this trip reflect the sorrow and the hope to be found along the course of the Lower Darling," Tom explains.
"The sounds of the birds, the water flowing in the river and the wind through the trees speak of the wonderful environment that should be a national icon but is in peril."
Dion Georgopoulos was born and grew up in Canberra before moving to Melbourne where he studied photography at RMIT University, which sparked his passion for photojournalism, storytelling, and portraiture.
After finishing his studies and returning to Canberra he began working as a photographer for The Canberra Times. During the Black Summer fires, he documented the drama through his frontline photojournalism and the deep human tragedy with his portraiture.
"Drawing out the emotion of the people we spoke to on this trip required time to build trust - to allow them to feel comfortable being themselves," Dion says.
"The trip also allowed me to venture into new territory, recording video, so we could tell the story in a different way."
John Hanscombe has worked in print, television and radio over the course of his 40-year career. Most recently, he was editor of a cluster of ACM mastheads on the NSW South Coast, before taking on the role of national reporter for The Canberra Times and the ACM network.
While enjoying glamour jobs such as travel writer, it was always the people stories he found most rewarding.
"I've interviewed some high-profile people over the years, great train robber Ronnie Biggs and actor Sir Michael Caine among them," John says.
"But it's the ordinary folk who really stick with you, those facing adversity which is often not of their own making. The people of the Darling are certainly in that situation and telling their stories is incredibly important."
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