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Cobram’s sandy beaches feature in Murray River documentary

By Dylan Arvela

The sandy beaches of Cobram made an appearance in the feature-length documentary Rivers of Australia: A Journey Along the Murray.

The documentary follows the journey of Albany Asher and James Livingstone, who along with their two blue heelers, Onyx and Rocco, kayak the 2500 km or so of the Murray River — from Bringenbrong Bridge to the Murray’s mouth.

The film, narrated by actor Tony Barry, premiered at the 2018 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York.

The journey included the Cobram-Barooga Apex Club’s Cobram Cod Classic fishing competition with Mr Livingstone trying his hand at catching the elusive native fish.

Ms Asher said the documentary, which was five years in the making, highlighted a number of themes, including wildlife conservation and the river’s importance to Australian indigenous culture.

As well as kayaking, Ms Asher was the writer, producer and director of the documentary, and said she intended the film to be an ‘‘armchair adventure’’, which anyone could enjoy.

‘‘The Murray-Darling Basin is the life-blood of Australia,’’ she said.

‘‘Hence, from a writer/director’s perspective, it is pertinent to ensure that an audience can connect with the Murray River on a deeper level.

‘‘James and I may star as the navigators of the journey, accompanied by our dogs Onyx and Rocco, a decision that adds a really unique and wonderful layer to the journey.

‘‘However, it is of course the majestic Murray River that is the real star of the show.’’

The adventurer said the Cobram leg of the journey was one of their most memorable, noting the hospitality of the locals.

‘‘Cobram is one of our favourite places along the Murray,’’ she said.

‘‘This section of the Murray is absolutely stunning — we enjoyed stopping for breaks on the sandy beaches on the river bends.

‘‘The people we meet were so lovely and share similar values to James and I — we value the importance of the country lifestyle and appreciate the strong integrity of the Cobram folk.

‘‘We also have friends that moved to Cobram just before we kayaked through, so we spent quality time with them before kayaking onwards — it was a really special time.’’

Ms Asher hoped the documentary, which covered a number of curriculum subject areas, was implemented into school programs in Australia and overseas.

‘‘I’ve already had teacher friends indicate that they’ll use the film in their own classes, which is fantastic,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a really educational film, so I look forward to seeing how it is received by teachers and students in the education system.’

Rivers of Australia: A Journey Along The Murray can be seen on streaming services DocPlay and EcoStreamz or it can be bought from the website The Education Shop.

Echuca’s Paramount Cinema will host a Q&A fundraiser screening at 2 pm on October 13 with funds going towards the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife to support the Murray River Turtle Project.

Additional screenings will be announced on Rivers of Australia Facebook page.