Water, water not everywhere

Talking of what has shaped our national destiny (as we inevitably do when centenaries loom), H2O deserves a close look. Plunging into Michael Cathcart’s 2010 book The Water Dreamers we find a quote from German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder (‘History is geography set in motion’) plus the remark of economic historian AGL Shaw that ‘the history of Australia could be written as the struggle to conquer two obstacles – great distances and a lack of water’. ‘Water is the fundamental limit on how Australians live’, says Cathcart. ‘It determines where we establish our cities, how we think about country, how we farm it, build on it, defend it and dream about it.’

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