'Along the western shore of Lake Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) is a line of springs where one of the edges of the Great Artesian Basin comes to the surface and discharges freshwater. This has made it possible for people, wildlife and plants to live there. As a nation building project in the late 1800s, a railway line was built from Adelaide to Alice Springs, with steam trains dependent on this good supply of freshwater. Ironically the line suffered continuous damage mostly from flooding and the arrival of diesel locomotives saw it abandoned in the 1960s.
Early European explorers expected the inland flowing rivers would be filling a vast sea and were dismayed to find they disappeared into a network of dry channels or bitter salt lakes. It is a rare occasion that any rivers actually ‘flow’ into Lake Kati Thanda and it fills with water. I have only seen it as a glittering white surface of salt that stretched to the horizon with a shore of sand, gravel and sparse vegetation. Into this stark landscape intrude the remains and ruins of water towers and train stations as reminders of our hubris.'
- Sybil Curtis, 2019
Image: Sybil Curtis, Curdimurka, Kati Thanda 2019, oil on linen, 125 x 125cm