Publication Details

Adams, M. (2019). Friday Essay: a black marlin at Port Kembla and an 8,000-year-old midden - nature in the 21st century. The Conversation, 30 August 1-12.

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The Conversation


The shaky video shows the crescent tail cutting through water as the black marlin swims through the creek, hunting bream and tailor. As the phone camera pans around, the built structures of the Port Kembla steelworks in south eastern Australia come into view, heavy trucks rolling over a concrete bridge, smokestacks and factories crowding the landscape. The roofs, pipes and conveyors are rust-brown, soot and grime coat the surfaces, sulphuric smells drift across the space. We know this because a steelworker happened that day to see this marlin in the steelworks and filmed it. I found his footage recently when searching Google for information on local creeks. It is highly likely that this sighting was not a one-off event, that large predatory fish like the marlin now periodically hunt in the steelworks unseen by human eyes, or if seen, unreported. The processes of rewilding leak across time and across tenures, the push of natural forces pulsing more strongly as the industrial force of the steelworks declines.