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About the project

About the project

Waterwatch. Australian Capital Territory. Communities Caring for Catchments.

Bottles from the Basin

Bottles from the Basin is an exciting National Museum of Australia community outreach initiative in collaboration with ACT Waterwatch to coincide with the Water exhibition. Waterwatch is a national community water quality monitoring network that encourages all Australians to become active in the protection of their waterways.

A colour photo of Emi Callaway holding her water sample.
Frogwatcher Emi Callaway.
Photo: Kumiko Callaway.

The idea for the project developed from a small display in the Museum's Old New Land gallery. This display, Australians Living Inland, presents an analysis of water from three inland Australian cities; Kalgoorlie, Wagga Wagga and Alice Springs.

Through discussions with ACT Waterwatch the Museum agreed to extend this idea to communities along Australia's major water system, the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). On this website you can explore a number of other projects that the Museum has done with Murray-Darling Basin communities.

A call went out for participants. The response was overwhelming! Those that responded were sent a kit that included an empty bottle, instructions and a questionnaire. Participants contributed a bottled water sample from their local river, lake, wetlands or other source together with a water analysis and accompanying words and images.

A colour photo of Jamie Hearn, the Living Murray Communications Coordinator NSW.
Jamie Hearn.
Photo: Sandy Dellwo.


The Bottles from the Basin water samples were collected between October and December 2009. The information and images supplied by participants were collated and uploaded to create this website. The Museum also displayed a selection of the bottles themselves during the 2009-10 Summer school holidays so that children in particular who visit the Museum could see the results.

The objectives of the project are to show the important connections from state to territory across Australia's largest water system, to help reveal the issues we are facing as a nation and to recognise some of the people in our communities who are working to resolve them.

Water management and the environment are perhaps the greatest single issues confronting nations and communities globally. Bottles from the Basin shows people and places, the water quality and issues that communities along the Murray-Darling Basin are dealing with.


The Bottles from the Basin website is a community generated website. The views expressed here are those of the individual participants and do not necessarily represent the position of the National Museum of Australia.