Wambuul Stories

This is a collection of stories of the Wambuul/ Macquarie River from the communities of Narromine, Dubbo and Wellington—capturing the past, present and future. Sharing memories, connections and hopes for the river’s future, stories have the power to shape the way we think, feel and interact with the world. These stories have been gathered as part of the Sonic Territories: Wambuul project. More stories will be added over time. The Wambuul bila soundtrack was also created for Stage 1 of this project, released on World Rivers Day, 25 September 2022.

Click on the map to see the Wambuul Stories map in detail
Blue pins are field recording sites; orange pins are storytellers


Ruth Carney

Ruth Carney
“I’m very proud of what connection I have to the river because it’s my roots and my being.”
Recorded by Kim V. Goldsmith
Ruth and Dick Carney
Dick and Ruth Carney
(photo supplied)

From A Little Piece of Heaven: The story of Dick and Ruth Carney, 2019

As Bill (Dick Carney’s brother), Betty (Ruth’s sister) and Dick (Carney) were driving back across the timber bridge into town, they saw Betty’s sister (Ruth) and her cousin (Val) walking towards them in the other direction. In later years, Dick Carney’s and Ruth’s memories would be peppered with good-natured disagreements. Did Ruth hail the boys over, or did they see two good-looking chicks on the bridge and pull up?

From that day forward, Dick always came back to Narromine.

New bridge over the Macquarie River at Narromine, 1907
Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 June 1907

Ron and Richard Powell

My brother, Ron and his wife Sharon built this house looking over the river, over to where we used to live. That was a real buzz, to know we’d come from a tin shanty with dirt on the ground and here’s this big, beautiful home with decking looking over the river. He’s now sold it. This photo is Ron and my nephew, Richard, being very jovial about the river in flood—emphasising how important their connection to the river was by floating on it in their canoe. I’d like to point out though that the canoe was tied to the decking! It was a bit of fun, saying ‘Here we are, living in this beautiful house when we’ve come from the dirt’. The land and the river are connected and we’re very proud of that. – As told by Aunty Ruth Carney.
Western Herald,
19 April 1963


Phillip D’Addario

“That’s a big part of me, growing up on the river.”
Recorded by Milena Sallustio
The railway bridge near Shibble Pedestrian Bridge on the Wambuul/Macquarie,
upstream of Sandy Beach (Image: Kim V. Goldsmith, July 2022)

Matt Hansen

“…he (Sturt) described the fish floating likes birds in midair, in huge shoals; the water visible to great depths…”

Inland Waterways OzFish

Signage near Shibble Bridge on the Wambuul/ Macquarie River
The Daily Liberal & Macquarie Advocate,
2 March 1943
The Daily Liberal & Macquarie Advocate, 21 Feb 1951


The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 1916

Have you got a story to share? We’d love to hear from you.

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