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Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre

2017 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

This superbly conceived and produced book combines lucid text with innovative mixed-media illustrations. It explores how the salt bed of a long-dead sea is brought to life when downpours in the continent’s far north flood through waterways into Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre in South Australia. There are two stories here. One is an eloquent telling of the magical transformation of the arid seabed into a magnificent lake, teeming with life: frogs, crabs, tadpoles, fish, dragon lizards, birds, and tiny hopping mice. The other more scientific narrative explains how the equivalent of three million Olympic swimming pools of water combines with the salt crust to create a temporary inland sea.

There is also an element of cultural history in this book. In one cameo we see a pod of pelicans soar above far-flung outback homesteads, water tanks and a windmill-driven artesian bore connected by dirt roads, the railway and the ubiquitous ute.