Monday, 14 January 2013 at 9.30pm on ABC NEWS 24
Repeated on Sunday, 20 January 2013 at 4pm
The Hunter River is one of Australia’s great rivers. Almost 500 kilometres long, the Hunter has flowed through the lives of Australians since the earliest days of British settlement – and for thousands of years before that, defining the rituals and inspiring the legends of Aboriginal tribes.
ABC journalist Scott Bevan explores the river, from the headwaters high in the Barrington Tops to the sea at Newcastle. And the best way to see the river is on the water itself, so Scott paddles some of the Hunter in his curiously named kayak, Pulbah Raider.
During his journey, he spends time with the people who live and work on its banks and rely on its water – some are doing it tough, others enjoying the good life.
As he learns, the Hunter has helped shape not just a region but also the nation, from the food and wine we consume to the electricity in our homes. The river itself has inspired storytellers, it has helped realise dreams and make fortunes, such as in mining and the thoroughbred industry. And during floods, the river has washed away livelihoods – and lives. Now, as the competition for resources intensifies, the river’s health — and the region’s lifeblood – are under increasing pressure.
Scott Bevan grew up within earshot of the sea in Newcastle and began his journalism career at the Newcastle Herald. He has worked as a reporter, presenter and producer for television, including as a senior reporter and relief host for The 7.30 Report. He was the ABC’s Moscow Correspondent for two years. Since 2010, Scott has been the presenter of The World, a nightly international affairs program on ABC News 24.
The “sublime music” used throughout this documentary is by Australian Composer Matthew Dewey.