9 October 2022

Goulburn artist presents clarity on contentious water issue

| John Thistleton
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Capturing the natural environment through her art has reinforced in Jodie Munday the benefit and beauty of clean and thriving water catchments. Photo: Jodie Munday.

An accomplished Goulburn artist is drawing on her skills to oppose the NSW Government’s proposals to raise the Wyangala Dam in the Central West and Warragamba Dam near Sydney. Both projects will flood vast areas of bushland, wiping out more threatened animals and native fauna. Warragamba Dam has been fast-tracked, making it more difficult to oppose through the courts.

Proponents say Wyangala Dam’s extra 10 metres would increase storage for improved water security and drought resilience. Warragamba’s additional 14 m would address flooding in the Nepean-Hawkesbury catchments.

But artist Jodie Munday is among many people who dispute these benefits. A commercial artist, teacher and graduate of the ANU in fine arts, Jodie is running workshops and has an exhibition to show people what’s at stake in the environment.

Born in Orange, raised in Dubbo and living for the past 11 years in Goulburn, Jodie has always felt connected to the Southern Tablelands. Her mother, Fay, comes from the Kable and Carney families who have lived in the Tuena, Bigga, Oberon and Jenolan districts since the convict era. Her father, Owen, grew up in Wiradjuri Country in Dubbo, Peak Hill and Trangie.

Raising her and her sister Katrina alongside numerous foster children, the Mundays embraced creativity.

“We were raised where being creative was not shunned. Dad’s very good with wood and landscaping and Mum is very clever with sewing, knitting, crochet, things like that,” Jodie said.

Her workshops are designed to reveal the full beauty of the Southern Tablelands, and what’s at stake in a vulnerable environment.

“Recently I did a piece of work called Spring Creek Bed, which is actually a multimedia work,” Jodie said. “It represents the fact that if waterways are cared for and vegetation and farming are done in an environmentally friendly way, you get really clear, really fresh running water, where you can see the reflections of the rocks under the surface. And in sunlight you get all these beautiful, almost rainbow-like prisms reflecting up off the water. The water takes on the colours of the blossoms and plants around it.”

Her strong interest in environmental issues, and disgust at Australia sitting at No. 2 in the world for extinction of native wildlife, brought her along to the Upper Lachlan Landcare group’s activities on the Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala (K2W) Link. A major landscape corridor, K2W connects the sandstone forests of the Greater Blue Mountains with protected areas and treasured habitats on private land in the upper reaches of the Lachlan River catchment.

Woman with art

Jodie works in photography, printmaking, pottery, wood burning and painting. Many of her works are in mixed-media forms once completed. Photo: Supplied.

Attending the group’s seed collection and native plant identification workshops, she met coordinator Mary Bonet and other volunteers and suggested her workshops to bring attention to the dams’ proposals, which are in planning and consultation stages. While the cost and purported benefits are being debated, Jodie shakes her head over the environmental impacts.

“How many ecosystems, native animals and plants will go from threatened to extinction because their habits are constantly flooded?” she said.

“Platypus can’t survive in dammed-up or constantly flooded areas either. And a lot of these animals have already faced a massive hit with the bushfires.”

Jodie’s artwork centres on the bush. Her family is on a property between Bungonia and Goulburn.

“We live in the bush and my parents live near Grabine State Park on Wyangala Dam at Bigga, we go down there a fair bit as well,” she said.

“I always take Samual, my little boy, with me. It is important the younger generation grows up knowing we need to do something about this.”

Coinciding with the workshops is her exhibition Fight or flight, which raises the question: Are the animals fighting for survival or disappearing? In the Southern Tablelands, that question hangs over lyrebirds, black cockatoos, kookaburras, gang-gang cockatoos, spotted quolls, blotched blue-tongue lizards, scarlet robins and regent honeyeaters, to name a few species.


Jodie Munday launched her own business, Cr8ive Art, in 2011. Here is an example of her work. Photo: Jodie Munday.

Jodie’s next free, hands-on workshop will be at the Crookwell Hotel Motel (Top Pub) on 12 November for children and adults.

Participants will work alongside Jodie using contemporary art techniques and new methods and materials, including native fauna. All materials are provided.

A free kids’ workshop will be held from 10 am to 12 pm, with adults from 1 pm to 3 pm. Participation is limited to 10 people. For more information, call or text Jodie on 0408 492 482.

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