Author(s): Steve Morton
Desert Lake is a book combining artistic, scientific and Indigenous views of a striking region of north-western Australia. Paruku is the place that white people call Lake Gregory. It is Walmajarri land, and its people live on their Country in the communities of Mulan and Billiluna. This is a story of water. When Sturt Creek flows from the north, it creates a massive inland Lake among the sandy deserts. Not only is Paruku of national significance for waterbirds, but it is has also helped uncover the past climatic and human history of Australia. Paruku's cultural and environmental values inspire Indigenous and other artists, they define the place as an enduring home, and have led to its declaration as an Indigenous Protected Area. The Walmajarri people of Paruku understand themselves in relation to Country, a coherent whole linking the environment, the people and the Law that governs their lives. These understandings are encompassed by the Waljirri or Dreaming and expressed through the songs, imagery and narratives of enduring traditions. Desert Lake is embedded in this broader vision of Country and provides a rich visual and cross-cultural portrait of an extraordinary part of Australia.