The beach shacks look out at a grey dish of cracked silt. These houses are made of dust and are slumped on the sand, many for sale and some abandoned; a bed half-made from when its occupant rolled out from under the doona for the last time many years ago. If you walk onto the lake bed and look back at the village, the houses look like moviegoers, all facing forward and eager for the film to start. But someone has stolen the screen. This is Sunset Strip, a village overlooking a waterless Menindee Lake. If the name Menindee is familiar to you, it is probably because this is where recent kills of up to a million fish made global news. Grown men crying and cradling dead Murray cod like lost children put into the national consciousness the harrowing images of one of Australia’s longest rivers toxic with blue-green algae and awash with the white bodies of native fish. The dying Darling opened a discussion around the systemic problems facing the Murray-Darling Basin and the future of its management.
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