Desert Lake is a book combining artistic, scientific and Indigenous views of a striking region of north-western Australia. Paruku is the place that white people call Lake Gregory. It is Walmajarri land, and its people live on their Country in the communities of Mulan and Billiluna. This is a story of water. When Sturt Creek flows from the north, it creates a massive inland Lake among the sandy deserts. Not only is Paruku of national significance for waterbirds, but it has also helped uncover the past climatic and human history of Australia. Paruku's cultural and environmental values inspire Indigenous and other artists, they define the place as an enduring home, and have led to its declaration as an Indigenous Protected Area.The Walmajarri people of Paruku understand themselves in relation to Country, a coherent whole linking the environment, the people and the Law that governs their lives. These understandings are encompassed by the Waljirri or Dreaming and expressed through the songs, imagery and narratives of enduring traditions. Desert Lake is embedded in this broader vision of Country and provides a rich visual and cross-cultural portrait of an extraordinary part of Australia.
Scientific editor, Steve Morton, an ecologist, has undertaken most of his work in the Australian deserts. He is Honorary Fellow, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.Mandy Martin is an internationally renowned artist. Desert Lake is her third major collaborative project in the Australian deserts incorporating art, science and story. She is an Artist and Adjunct Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.Writer and artist, Kim Mahood, grew up on Tanami Downs Station to the east of Paruku, and has strong connections with Walmajarri people, some of whom worked for her family. Kim has worked as Liaison Officer for the Paruku Indigenous Protected Area.John Carty's expertise in anthropology and Aboriginal art has arisen from years of work in the Western Desert, Pilbara and Kimberley. He is a Doctoral Candidate, Research School of Humanities, Australian National University.