Photo competition winners
Published: 17 April 2024

Connected rivers, connected people photo competition winners

The winners of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s ‘Connected rivers, connected people’ Waterway’s photo competition have been awarded with a photo of Heart Morass in Sale taking out the main prize.  

“We would like to acknowledge the time that the community took to share their connection with Gippsland’s waterways through photos,” said CEO of West Gippsland CMA, Martin Fuller. 

“Images submitted confirmed the deep connection the community has to the special waterways around the region and there were also a few unexpected stories behind the images this year.” 

The photographs will form part of the West Gippsland CMA’s annual Seasonal Watering Proposal document to be submitted to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder. Once approved, the proposal is used to plan the year’s environmental water deliveries to promote and support healthy waterways and ecosystems along the: 

  • Durt’Yowan (Latrobe River) – including the Lower Latrobe Wetlands such as Dowd Morass, Heart Morass and Sale Common
  • Wirn wirndook Yeerung (Macalister River)
  • Carran Carran (Thomson River) – including Heyfield Wetlands.

“These environmental water deliveries play an essential support role in improving the health of rivers and wetlands in West Gippsland for us all to connect with and enjoy,” said Martin. 

Overall winner was Damien Kook for his photo of Heart Morass. “This photo was taken in the early morning from the edge of the water, just after the morning fog had cleared. I was drawn to the scene because of the incredible, still reflection in the water,” said Damien who also noted that he had never entered a photo competition before. 

Runner up was Ukraine born Iryna MacMillan for her photo ‘Reflections’ taken on the Durt’Yowan (Latrobe River). “Because we all live such hectic lifestyles, it’s good to stop and smell the flowers. Even when we are jogging or riding a bike, it’s important to take a break… stop and meditate about our life, or just simply enjoy the beautiful nature around us.  Many people in Ukraine would be so jealous to have what we have here in Gippsland. We have to look after our rivers and our environment and not pollute it or destroy it,” said Iryna. 

Two judge’s special mention prizes were awarded to Georgie Lambert for her photo of the Carran Carran (Thomson River) bridge and Emma O’Neill for her photo of the sunset over Lake Guthridge. 

“I love taking photos of waterways, like the Thomson, as I think they are pretty and support a variety of life around them, making for a nice photo. It also sounds kind of hippy, but I think water has such a great energy, and is literally the lifeblood of earth and brings people together,” said Georgie. 

“I enjoy a walk around this wetland whenever I have the opportunity to stay in Sale for work. I am always impressed by the beauty, peace and abundance of wildlife. It is such a special way to start the day connecting with nature and I always feel grounded and invigorated when I visit this magic place,” said Emma.

“Thanks to everyone who took part this year, it was wonderful to see how people responded to the theme and the important role waterways play in our lives and wellbeing,” Martin concluded. 

Connected rivers, connected people overall photo competition winner - Heart Morass Damien Kook
Overall winner – Heart Morass 📷 Damien Kook
Connected rivers, connected people photo competition Runner-up Reflections Thomson River Iryna MacMillan
Runner up – Reflections Thomson River 📷 Iryna MacMillan
Connected rivers, connected people photo competition Special mention Georgie Lambert Walhalla Road Bridge, Thomson River
Special mention – Walhalla Road Bridge, Thomson River 📷 Georgie Lambert
Connected rivers, connected people photo competition Special mention Sunset over Lake Guthridge Emma O'Neill
Special mention – Sunset of Lake Guthridge in Sale 📷 Emma O’Neill