Cooks River Soundscape History

room 3 ECHOES

In my production I attempted to capture as many real and accurate sounds as possible with almost all sounds being recorded at the river. This was to provide an authenticity to the walk that could not be replicated. Of course, there were limitations as parts of the soundscape have faded into history. However, I believe this approached has layered an element of depth otherwise inaccessible.

The Cooks River has undergone many transformations in its history, from pristine wetland to polluted canal. Having lived nearby my whole life I have seen rapid changes in my lifetime. From a smelly, derelict, polluted river with a rotting bridge and constantly flooding soccer grounds to a re-vitalised place for young family’s having picnics and, for going on runs, with the smell being somewhat more bearable now. One might even see a row boat in the water on occasion. It has had in a sense been three different places. The Native wetland, The hotbed of industrial activity and most recently, the local park and soccer ground.

In a soundscape filled with heavy machinery and factories it may have been hard for the sounds of birdsong to cut through. Even now there is the constant hum of traffic and planes. However, there has always been the sounds of birds. In a sense this is what defines the soundscape of the Cooks River more so than the sounds that inhibit it. To people the picture of a place in their mind may be determined visually, however what shapes the memory equally if not more so is the soundscape of the area. Loud, busy soundscapes provide an impression of vibrancy and life, where as quiet, uncluttered soundscapes provide a sense a peace and tranquillity.

As you walk through the experience allow yourself to be transported through space and time. Imagine hearing the soundscape before human interference, pretend you’re a factory worker in the 19th century or even place yourself at a family picnic as people laugh and play.

Hugo Sack

Hugo Sack



The Echoes

Pre Industrial


Modern Usage

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