Library exhibition will celebrate All the Rivers Run’s 60th birthday

March 12, 2018

Campaspe Library services manager Jenny Mustey. All the Rivers Run is turning 60 in June. Photo by Luke Hemer.

IT’S the book that made millions fall in love with Echuca-Moama.

And 60 years after the release of All the Rivers Run, Echuca library is gearing up to celebrate the literary masterpiece.

An exhibition of memorabilia is planned for midway through the year, with library services manager Jenny Mustey (pictured above) putting the call out for any pictures or interactions locals had with the author Nancy Cato in her early years.

“We want to focus on her and what drew her to the river,” Jenny said.

“And while we’ve heard of people who met her during the filming of the television series, we’d also love more from the 50s, when she started writing the book.

“We know she visited Echuca as a young girl, and again later on because her mother-in-law grew up here.”

In fact, it was Cato’s mother-in-law – local painter Elma Norman – who inspired the book’s artistic lead character.

All the Rivers Run tells the story of feisty Philadelphia Gordon, an English girl torn between the harsh beauty of life on the Murray River and society life in Melbourne.

The book sparked the creation of the television miniseries, which was a massive national and international success, drawing tourists from far and wide to Echuca-Moama.

“It’s important to remember the book, as it’s the whole reason why the series was made,” Jenny said.

“And it drew crowds to the river, particularly in the 80s and 90s, so it has a lot of significance for the twin towns.”

Nancy Cato’s passion for environmental activism is reflected in her book, which vividly describes the rugged, wild beauty of the river — as well as the people who lived on it.

“It takes us back to the heady days of paddlesteamers,” Jenny said.

“They were the lifeblood of this region, they provided so much to the people living here.”

Jenny is encouraging people to read the book in the lead up to the celebrations.

“We’d love to have a community book chat as part of the celebrations,” she said.

Anyone with information should call Echuca library on 54812400.

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