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On Water: Eight Speakers. Eight Stories.


There is no more precious resource on the planet than water. It comprises 60% of our body mass and covers 70% of the planet’s surface. We drink it, we bathe in it, and it surrounds our island. In 2014, the Wheeler Centre joins forces with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, presented by Bank of Melbourne, to explore the myriad ways we relate to water – how we’re using and abusing it, are dependent upon it for our survival and are sometimes powerless to stop it.

Eight guests, including Lucky Peach magazine’s Chris Ying, will present their personal and imaginative visions on water. Conservation consultant and editor Helen Doyle will examine the history and heritage of water supply in the Australian landscape.

Other guests include Genevieve Grieves, curator at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum’s Aboriginal Cultural centre, Oxfam Australia CEO Helen Szoke, and Olympic gold medalist diver Matthew Mitcham, each with their own unique perspective on H2O.

Join us for a fascinating and entertaining insight into the liquid we all take for granted.

Presented in partnership with Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.


Helen Doyle

Helen Doyle has demonstrated expertise in Australian historical research and in the preparation of site and place histories and thematic environmental histories. Her contributions to heritage and conservation reports include the identification of historic themes and the assessment of cultural signif... Read more

Michael Mackenzie

Michael has been working in radio for more than 25 years, 16 of those for ABC Radio. His work in Lismore, Bathurst, Orange and Darwin has laid bare a diverse range of people, places and stories. Despite hurtling towards midlife, Michael clings obstinately to a sense of child-like wonder over just ab... Read more

Helen Szoke

Helen Szoke commenced as Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia in January 2013. Prior to this appointment, Helen served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, following seven years as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner. She is currently Co-Chair of Make Po... Read more

Simon Griffiths

Simon Griffiths is an engineer and economist turned social entrepreneur. His latest venture is an ethical home products company. Its flagship product is Who Gives A Crap, an environmentally friendly toilet paper that uses 50% of its profits to build toilets in the developing world. He is also well k... Read more

Yasmin Newman

Australian-Filipino Yasmin Newman is a food and travel writer, editor, presenter and photographer. Her work has featured in Feast, MasterChef Magazine, delicious and Selector magazines. She also presents Kitchen Conversations: Philippines for SBS Food Online. Yasmin was born in Sydney to an Australi... Read more

Chris Ying

Chris Ying is the editor-in-chief of the print version of Lucky Peach, the collaboration between McSweeney’s and David Chang.

Matthew Mitcham

Matthew Mitcham OAM is an Australian diver.

He is the 2008 Olympic champion in the 10m platform, having received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history.

Michael Cathcart

Michael Cathcart presents the radio show, Books and Arts Daily for Radio National. He has a background in Australian history and culture, both in writing and teaching. Michael is passionate about the arts and has worked as a theatre director, dramaturge and script editor. He is a regular participant... Read more

Genevieve Grieves

Genevieve Grieves is an Indigenous educator, curator, filmmaker, artist, oral historian, researcher and writer who has accumulated nearly 20 years experience in the arts and culture industries. She is Worimi – traditionally from mid-north coast New South Wales – but has lived and worked on Kuli... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respect to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.