Oral Histories

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Interviewer: Sue Rosen

Length: 12,370 words

Date: May 1992

Bruce Ferguson was 76 years old when interviewed he came from a family that had owned land by the Nepean for generations. His property to the immediate south-west of Camden was the site of Ferguson’s Australia Nursery. Later in life he was Mayor of Camden and was in an official capacity with issues related to the water usage and the health of the river.

"We stopped swimming because the water had a smell sometimes. I think it was due to the treatment works, further up the river ... In those days it was up near the bridge to the aerodrome, the Cobbitty Road Bridge, and the town started to grow. I think the treatment works probably worked well up to that point and when the town started to grow, it maybe overloaded, the treatment works plant … Suffice is to say that the water was unattractive ... and at about the same time the weeds in the river started to die ... and the carp noticeably thinned out, and then we had a tragedy. We had a long period of dry weather, and the river got, completely covered with a little green algae thing, [a] little plant - quite a pretty little plant in itself - and ... it was like that for a good while and then, all of a sudden, fish started to come to the surface, and sw m on their bellies, and every thing in the river died, all the eels, all the fish, everything died."

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