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Tonight – Back Roads heads to the East Kimberley region in WA

Wiradjuri woman and journalist, Rae Johnston, takes Back Roads to the East Kimberley region, at the very top of WA, where the mighty Ord River is the lifeblood of the community.

Back Roads heads to the land of red dirt, blue skies and boabs: the East Kimberley region, at the very top of WA. Wiradjuri woman and science and technology journalist, Rae Johnston, sees how water has shaped the lives of the people who live on this arid frontier. It’s a tale of two very different towns – one old, one new. On the surface they are miles apart and yet both rely on waterways for survival.

Rae travels to the Port of Wyndham, the Kimberley’s oldest town, which slowly roasts in summer. Despite the extreme conditions, Rae finds a place steeped in history and a community full of surprising stories. Like that of Tik Tok stars, Outback Tom and Outback Grandad.

Next, Rae follows the mighty Ord River to the new kid on the block, Kununurra. A town originally built in the 60s to service the construction of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. While it might be a young town, the local Aboriginal mob, the Miriwoong people, have some ancient stories to tell.

Rae visits Waringarri Arts and finds an oasis for creativity, where artists keep their culture alive through paintings, textiles and sculpture.

Rae’s water fuelled journey ends at the tourist mecca and massive engineering feat, Lake Argyle. Created in 1972, this aquatic wonderland is home to around 70 islands, one third of Australia’s bird species and plenty of freshwater crocs. Rae cruises out onto this gigantic, blue inland sea to discover how it’s changed the face of agriculture here, and also life.

Production credit: An ABC Original Production. Executive Producer, Louise Turley.

Back Roads – Monday 30 January at 8pm on ABC and ABC iview

Media Release – ABC

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