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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Salinity story inspires

History is recorded to inspire the next generation, author John Northage said at the launch of, Mending the Goulburn Broken, in Shepparton last week.

CATHY WALKER September 2, 2014 3:05am

Pat and John Dainton at the launch.


History is recorded to inspire the next generation, author John Northage said at the launch of Mending the Goulburn Broken in Shepparton last week.

His documentation of the story of salinity campaigner John Dainton and his achievements in the catchment took persistence and several years to put together.

‘‘We Australians make a great success of hiding our light under a bushel,’’ said Mr Northage, who believed this was a story that deserved to be told.

Mr Northage, a retired civil servant now based in Cairns, was prominent in natural resource management.

He reiterated the persistence theme in describing Mr Dainton.

‘‘He was a great champion of his region,’’ Mr Northage said.

In the book he wrote: ‘‘One of the fundamentals and encouragements to be drawn from the Goulburn Broken story is that ordinary people can make a difference — a big difference — when they have down-to-earth abilities, a practical vision, integrity and real commitment.’’

Water Minister Peter Walsh launched Mending the Goulburn Broken on Wednesday, cutting the ribbon on a box of books with Mr Dainton, who said he’d had the odd run-in with water ministers, but was pleased Mr Walsh had agreed to officiate.

Mr Dainton said the campaign to raise awareness of the ‘‘underground flood’’ (rising water tables) and the threat of salinity that it posed included dealing with six government agencies and 24 local governments that all acted as silos rather than joining together in a common task.

But, he said, if you gave the community the knowledge, they would support the science.

‘‘Systems make things possible, but it’s people who make things happen,’’ Mr Dainton said.

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