‘The Kimberley’ Exhibition Online

Hi folks,

The exhibition, The Kimberley – Australia’s Threatened Wilderness has been run and won: they came, they saw…and one person even won (one of Hunter G’s images!). Scroll on for the full series of exhibition images and accompanying text . All images are available for sale. See end of post for sales info.

And for those who were unable to attend Bob Brown’s Closing Address on June 7 (or for those who just want to get lost in Bob’s inspiring words and gravelly tones once again),  a video of his speech can be viewed here

A big thanks to Dave Meagher and Singing Bowl Media for filming and editing this.

But now it’s over to the exhibition artists, Tom Montgomery and yours truly, Hunter G…

Artist Statement: Tom Montgomery – Watercolour Painter.

I am 23 year old conservation artist based in beautiful Broome, Western Australia. My passion is exploring the Kimberley’s pristine environment from its spectacular gorges, waterfalls, cave systems, isolated islands and pockets of lush rainforests. With no recorded extinction, the Kimberley is the Noah’s arch of northern Australia’s biodiversity. A complex and immense landscape abundant with unique wildlife.

Rugged terrain makes the Kimberley largely inaccessible, thus holds the key to its remarkable preservation. Rocky gullies have so far sheltered sensitive areas from most external influences such as raging fires and over grazing from livestock. At the very heart of this pristine wilderness we unearth its greatest threat, untapped resources.

A proposition that comes with a choice that puts the Kimberley’s future on the line. If we say nothing against industrialisation our limitless thirst for resources will decide the verdict.

Walmadan

Walmadan Coast

Shore Bird

Shore Bird

Squirrel Fish

Squirrel Fish

Barramundi

Barramundi

Kingfisher

Kingfisher – work in progress

Pelicans

Pelicans

GreenSeaTurtle

Green Sea Turtle

Work-In-Progress, 'Jamesy'

Work-In-Progress, ‘Jamesy’

Notes regarding the above portrait image:

The tedious work that Tom puts into his watercolours has transferred into the same level of discipline when it comes to creating his own unique portrait style. A style that seeks to capture the real spirit of the Kimberley people and their connection to the land.

This is achieved by collecting ochre pigments from the local landscape to enhance his work. When drawing inspiration from the vibrant colours of the Kimberley, Tom observes the elements as the perfect painter’s pallet

Pindan Technique

He first uses an interesting preparation technique that involves burying the cotton paper in raw pindan earth in specially selected locations. Once the pindan hues are embedded in the paper any excess dirt is rubbed away with a rag.

Dark tones are acquired by using charcoal from the camp fire which is ground up and applied to the paper with a firm brush and smudge sticks. Light values are then brought forth by removing the pigment from the paper with a kneedable eraser. Finally the work is fine-tuned with graphite pencil. Over the following days the pindan is slowly tamed and the Kimberley character begins to emerge from what was once dust.

………………………………………………….

And now…, it’s over to Hunter G’s images from across The Kimberley (nb. all images taken from the main highway except those at Walmadan. Just imagine what you’d get if you got into the wild and tasty innards!)

Electrical Storm

#1            Electrical Storm

Dec 31, 2012: 22:52

Latitude, Longitude: -15.450886, 128.11904

Here, from Five Rivers Lookout, in the Kimberley’s NE, one can see five rivers flow into the Cambridge Gulf: The King; The Durack; The Pentecost; The Ord and The Forrest.

I spent four nights living up here after the local policeman’s wife suggested I do so, despite the ‘No Camping’ signs. On the morning of day five, the ranger asked me kindly to move on.

Five Rivers Lookout has been listed as one of the world’s top lookouts and, for once, I’d have to agree. However, the recent addition of the Kimberley Metals Group’s iron-ore loading yard is a worrying sight. (refer #2)

Iron Ore

#2        Iron-Ore

Jan 1, 2013: 21:19

Latitude, Longitude: -15.44023, 128.114946

Kimberley Metals Group run this iron-ore loading yard, set amidst a sensitive mangrove and mudflat eco-system. Council signs in the area ask people not to drive on the mudflats, yet it is somehow ok to build this industrial site.

The ore is delivered from KMG’s Ridge’s Mine (refer image # 10) about 165km away. Road-trains up to 53 metres in length travel in both directions EVERY 20 minutes for approximately 20 hours per day. And this is a small-scale mine. If the Kimberley becomes the industrial hub Premier Barnett wants it to be, this will be catastrophic.

A few days later I was camping about 30 km from this yard at a spot called The Grotto (a gorge and waterfall) which is a few km off the main highway. Apart from nature I could hear nothing else…except the road-trains.

Tidal flats and mangrove forests are important ecosystems. They usually support a large population of wildlife and are often of vital importance to migratory birds, crabs, molluscs and fish. In the UK mudflats have been classified as a Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat. The maintenance of mudflats is important in preventing coastal erosion. However, mudflats worldwide are under threat from land claims for development, dredging due to shipping purposes, and chemical pollution.

The Blood-Stained Cliffs of History

# 3       The Blood-Stained Cliffs of History

Feb 5, 2013: 12:07

Latitude, Longitude: -17.466437, 122.152138

These incredibly beautiful coloured sands and stone are just a couple of km north of Walmadan (James Price Point), the site proposed for the world’s largest ever Liquefied Natural Gas Processing Plant – the primary reason I undertook this project. Fortunately the proposal has been abandoned by the main company, Woodside Petroleum. However Premier Barnett is determined to build a massive industrial port in The Kimberley and he is still considering JPP.

If he is successful, a port would open the floodgates to industrial development, providing an export point for companies that cannot otherwise afford to begin mining. It is vital that a port is not built anywhere in The Kimberley. Over the past ten years there has been a 500% increase in mining leases across the Kimberley. Lack of a port is the main thing stopping many of them from beginning operations.

Mining Exploration in The Kimberley

Current Mining Exploration in The Kimberley – an horrific prospect for this incredible wilderness zone.

Ghost Dogs at the Cliffs of Walmadan

#4        Ghost Dogs at the Cliffs of Walmadan

April 10, 2013: 20:04

Latitude, Longitude: -17.489176, 122.142686

This is taken from James Price Point, looking south along what Premier Barnett claims is an “unremarkable piece of coastline” in a cynical attempt to fool the general public based on an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach. He knows full well that most Australians will never see this area for themselves.

It’s strikingly similar to former Tasmanian Premier, Robin Gray, who described The Franklin River as “a leech ridden ditch” during his attempts to dam The Franklin in the early 80’s. Post the campaign that ‘ditch’ became part of the South-West World Heritage Area. Post his political career, Gray went on to be Director of Gunns Limited, famous for wood-chipping Tasmania’s old-growth forests. I wonder where Barnett will end up?

And A Lion I Did See

# 5       And a Lion I Did See

April 10, 2013: 20:15

Latitude, Longitude: -17.489176, 122.142686

Rock formations along the “unremarkable piece of coast” at Walmadan. These rocks sit only metres from some of the world’s most significant dinosaur footprints, next to a Humpback Whale migratory path, and on a sacred Aboriginal Songline. The Lurajarri Trail, established by Aboriginal Elder and Order of Australia recipient, Paddy Roe, passes along here. It offers Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from across the world a chance to learn another way of being, bridges the gap between cultures, teaches bush-tucker and bush-medicine skills, and highlights the Aboriginal understanding regarding the reciprocal nature of the relationship between humans and the earth. All of the above would’ve been destroyed if the LNG plant went ahead.

NB. A songline forms part of The Song Cycle which “…is an oral heritage map. Its songs contain codes of behaviour fundamental to sustaining the balance and well-being of the land and its people.” – Jeanne Brown, artist/environmentalist from Melbourne who has been living with the Goolarabooloo Community intermittently since 1992, invited up initially by the late Paddy Roe OAM to help with the documentation of cultural heritage, including functional plant use, significant sites, language and seasonal knowledge of place. Refer the song cycle for more info.

Advancing Storm

# 6       Advancing Storm

Jan 19, 2013: 20:33

Latitude, Longitude: -17.967657, 122.239082

Looking across Roebuck Bay from Broome. Roebuck Bay is an important migratory zone for waders (shorebirds). The bay’s wader feeding habitats and roosting sites have been identified by BirdLife International as a 928 km2 Important Bird Area (IBA).

Meandering Streams

# 7       Meandering Streams

Jan 5, 2013: 09:21

Latitude, Longitude: -16.793298, 128.28105

These beautiful meandering streams to the NE of Halls Creek will be unrecognisable when the Wet Season storms arrive, turning them into a massive river. The Kimberley has 33 of Australia’s 48 listed Wild Rivers.

Wild rivers are waterways where biological and hydrological processes continue without significant disturbance. The river systems bring nutrients and freshwater inundations into coastal saltwater bays and estuaries and provide nurseries for fish and crustaceans.

Day's End

# 8       Day’s End

April 1, 2013: 19:46

Latitude, Longitude: -17.497987, 122.147021

The sun begins its daily farewell over the monsoon vine thickets at Walmadan. The MVTs are remnant rainforest and were recently listed as ‘endangered’ under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. They form part of the sacred Songcycle for the Goolarabooloo people and have one of the highest densities of food and medicinal plants in Australia. They are also a vital source of timber for ceremonial implements and provide habitat and safe passage for the wildlife of the area.

This section pictured would’ve been destroyed by the gas plant. It was taken at the end of a Mayi (bush-tucker) walk run that day by the Goolarabooloo, the traditional custodians of this land who were always against the LNG proposal.

Iron Storm

#9        Iron Storm

Jan 5, 2013: 20:42

Latitude, Longitude: -18.244136, 127.699971

Ten minutes of ridiculously beautiful light, storm clouds and rocks converged here one evening. I was on my way to Caroline Pool, near Halls Creek (known as ‘Hells Crack’ to some), when I rounded a bend and there this was. I came to a sudden halt, shot a few frames and then soaked it up as best I could. This scene will always stay in my mind, like The Kimberley itself.

Off Limits - Ridge's Iron-Ore Mine

#10      Off Limits – Ridges Mine – a Wilderness No More

Jan 4, 2013: 18:04

Latitude, Longitude: -16.652781, 128.24897

This is KMG’s ‘Ridges Iron Ore Project’. The iron-ore is loaded into road-trains and every 20 minutes one then begins the 165 km trip to the loading yard (refer image # 2) where it is stock-piled, then conveyed to barges in Cambridge Gulf, carted upstream to waiting mother-ships and then shipped to the Hong Kong buyer. This is a relatively small-scale mining operation.

Numerous mining companies of much greater size are just waiting for a massive port to be built (by someone with the money, possibly taxpayers) in order to begin large-scale operations across The Kimberley (refer map). These operations will result in massive environmental destruction, habitat loss, species loss, cultural loss, various forms of pollution and social upheaval. Currently the northern section of The Kimberley has NO recorded mammal extinctions (unlike anywhere else in Australia). On the contrary, new species of flora and fauna are discovered on a regular basis.

The Kimberley environment has a right to exist, just as we do. We have other ways and means at our disposal.

Iron Mountain

#11      Iron Mountain

Jan 3, 2013: 20:54

Latitude, Longitude: -15.9598, 128.420048

On passing through a cutting on the Great Northern Highway, this mountain appeared to my left, amidst the savannah plains at dusk.

The Kimberley is one of the world’s last remaining savannah wilderness regions. A savannah is a grassland ecosystem characterised by the trees being sufficiently widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of grasses.

Boab Cluster

#12      Boab Cluster

Jan 4, 2013: 19:16

Latitude, Longitude: -16.69979, 128.252506

On the side of the highway about 200 km NE of Halls Creek this cluster of Boabs huddled together on the savannah before the distant range. I was so taken by this scene that I pulled off onto a roadside levee where I watched them under the setting sun before sleeping there for the night.

Paradise Once Lived Here

# 13     Paradise Once Lived Here

Dec 27, 2012

Latitude, Longitude: -15.77973, 128.740239

Industrial Facility, Kununurra, far NE Kimberley.

The Bastion

#14      The Bastion

Jan 1, 2013: 21:23

Latitude, Longitude: -15.450886, 128.11904

Looking towards the mouth of the Ord River at Cambridge Gulf, far NE Kimberley.

Morning Glory

#15      Morning Glory

Apr 8, 2013: 07:55

Latitude, Longitude: -17.500548, 122.145216

Morning Glory is traditionally used as a bush medicine, a bandage of the ground vine leaves being applied as a poultice. Sections of vine could also be rubbed, bent and bruised, and then tied around the head to relieve headaches and migraines.

I slept out here on the dunes (at Walmadan, the epicentre of the proposed Liquefied Natural Gas processing plant) for about five weeks, under a star-filled sky, sometimes with an Indian Ocean breeze rolling up the dunes to keep the mozzies at bay, sometimes with the breathless humid night air which left me dripping with sweat and made me a feast for the mozzies, and occasionally with a stormy inland easterly tearing at my covers.

…………………………………………….

And here the visual and literary trip ends. That’s all folks. Really hope you enjoyed the show and thanks to you all for your involvement, whether in person or virtually. The more we all get the message out there, bit by bit, the greater the chance to keep The Kimberley wild and free.

Personally, it’s been a massive, massive, massive experience and adventure which has spanned this amazing continent over several months and about ten thousand kilometres, and which has come full circle back to Melbourne where the original realisation that ‘I must go’ occurred nearly one year ago. I’ve learned a few things along the way about nature, humanity, culture…and myself. Hopefully I’ll remember some of the more profound personal lessons and stop falling down unnecessary rabbit-holes.

In closing, I’d like to send out a big thanks to: Elder and Law Boss, Phillip Roe and The Goolarabooloo Mob – traditional custodians of the Walmadan area; The Awesome Foundation for their funding support; Tom Montgomery – the awesome painter; The Bob Brown Foundation for providing Bob; Rathdowne Cellars for greatly discounted plonk.

I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment if you’d like to.

Thanks for listening and bye for now,

Hunter G

p.s. Keep The Kimberley always in your hearts and minds. The industrial invaders are just around the corner….but before they arrive…think about helping Save The Tarkine which is under immediate threat. The Tarkine is an area of immense natural beauty in NW Tasmania but, as with The Kimberley, it is also an area of immense mineral wealth – and the mining companies are on their way.

Sales:

All Hunter’s exhibition images are available for sale in the following formats:

A) 30 x 40 cm framed prints on metallic paper;

B) 120 x 84 cm unframed prints on 160 gsm matt paper;

C) Special 100 x 70 cm framed Limited Edition prints of ‘Iron Storm’ and ‘Electrical Storm’ on metallic paper (Edition limited to 5). NB. ‘Iron Storm’ and ‘Electrical Storm’ are also available at the other sizes as an open edition as listed in A) and B) above. Please contact Hunter on 0410 757 202 or leave a reply to this post.

Tom’s watercolours are also available for sale. Contact Tom via his blog.

Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 (except where noted) and available for sale.

English: Location of the Kimberley region in A...

English: Location of the Kimberley region in Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Price Point

James Price Point Area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Savage River Mine Pit, Tarkine

Savage River Mine Pit, Tarkine (Photo credit: Greens MPs)

Savage River

Savage River, Tarkine (Photo credit: -jell-)

tarkine

tarkine (Photo credit: howard61)

Looking towards Mt Lindsay and Parsons Hood, T...

Looking towards Mt Lindsay and Parsons Hood, Tarkine (Photo credit: Greens MPs)

Fungi detail, Mt Lindsay, Tarkine

Fungi detail, Mt Lindsay, Tarkine (Photo credit: Greens MPs)

‘Room with a View’ Exhibition

Room with a View

Room with a View (by close friend and artist, Charlie Sublet), is a photographic exhibition exploring conflicting worlds and ongoing tension, choice and doubt.

Views through windows on the top floor of the old Abbotsford Convent were recreated as transparencies on the ground floor windows lining the courtyard of the same building.

Room with a View is part of the Spiritous Grant Program.

While the physical exhibition has finished, here’s an online version, including a few extras.

Exhibition Details

Dates & Times:

May 1 – 31, 2013. Twenty-Four Hours. NB. Images change depending on time of day and perspective.

Where:

Ground-floor windows in the courtyard of the main convent building. Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford, 3067, Melbourne, Australia. Directions.

Who: 

Charlie Sublet is a Melbourne based artist and writer. His work has been acquired by the State Library of Victoria and he has received numerous awards, grants and residencies. Visit www.charliesublet.com for more information.

Sales:

All images available for sale. Prices vary depending on output type. The original exhibition included 8 Electrostatic Prints (which cling to a surface using static electricity) and 1 Duratrans (usually used in lightbox displays but equally good on windows, etc.). Standard Type-C prints on paper also available. Please contact Charlie Sublet on 0410 757 202 or via charlie@charliesublet.com

Images and Text Copyright Charlie Sublet, 2013 and available for sale.

A view of the library from the left side facin...

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vue panoramique de la salle de lecture La Trob...

The Domed Reading Room, State Library of Victoria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Taken by Anthony Agius Category:Image...

(Photo credit: Anthony Agius; Wikipedia)

She Had to Move to Think

Maybe…..Get up and move yo body!

Dance Yo Arse Off

Dance Yo Arse Off

It worked wonders for me last night – danced my buzzingg bee-hind off to some rock-a-billy. It was good, damn good – so good in fact that I was able to ‘lose’ myself in it…to the extent that on the walk home at 2am, as I followed a tangential smell of baked goods into an all-night pizza-by-the-slice shop, a stranger leaving the shop said,

“Nice dancing.”, as she stepped out the door and back into the night.

“Thanks, it was so much fun.”, I called after her. (She must have witnessed me cuttin’ up the floor.)

Thanks to the music.

Sir Ken Robinson on exploring alternatives…

Simple and beautiful remedy…

Bye for now,

Hunter G

Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 (except Dance Yo Arse Off) and available for sale (FREE for not-for-profit activities – just include a link to this blog). All profits from sales will be re-invested in Save The Kimberley activities.

Exhibition – ‘The Kimberley’ – May 21 to June 9

Barramundi & Iron-Ore Loading Yard.

Barramundi & Iron-Ore Loading Yard.

Breaking News!!!…The full series of exhibition images and accompanying text is now online here.

Or read on for the original promo post…

Hi folks,

from May 21 – June 9, Kimberley painter, Tom Montgomery, and I will hold an exhibition about the ongoing threat of industrialisation to the magnificent Kimberley region in NW Australia. Tom will be exhibiting watercolour paintings from the Walmadan area while I will be showing photographs from across The Kimberley. Please spread the word. All welcome.

The Kimberley – Australia’s Threatened Wilderness

When: May 21 – June 9

Where: St Heliers Gallery, Abbotsord Convent Arts Precinct, Melbourne

Opening Night: Fri May 24, 5 – 8 pm.

Official Closing Address: June 7 at 10.30 am. Come and hear Bob Brown (ex Greens Leader, ex Franklin River Campaigner, current Bob Brown Foundation creator, current Save The Tarkine Patron, and all round bloody awesome fella!) tell us why he thinks The Kimberley is so important. Thanks Bob.

Why: Despite Woodside canning its plans for the world’s largest LNG processing plant at Walmadan, WA Premier Barnett has declared he is continuing the compulsory acquisition process of the land around Walmadan. Industrial Invaders will keep coming in the months/years ahead. Keep Kimberley always in your hearts & minds.

There is too much priceless culture and wilderness to lose…millions of years of creation and 40,000 + years of Aboriginal culture…in exchange for a predicted 50 years of mining. Madness!

Here are some sample images of Tom’s incredibly detailed and beautiful watercolours:

Walmadan Cliffs

Walmadan Cliffs

Squirrel Fish

Squirrel Fish

Barramundi

Barramundi (detail)

Barramundi

Barramundi

Pelicans

Pelicans – symbol of the Goolarabooloo Aboriginal people

Shore Bird

Shore Bird

Owlface

Owl faced Finch

All of the above would’ve been severely affected/destroyed by Woodside’s/Barnett’s failed plan.

And here follow a few of Hunter’s pics:

Cliffs at Walmadan (James Price Point)

Cliffs at Walmadan (James Price Point), 2013

Savannah, Eucalypts & Mountain

Savannah, Eucalypts & Mountain, 2013

KMG's Iron-ore Loading Yard on sensitive mangrove and mudflat ecosystems. Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

KMG’s Iron-ore Loading Yard on sensitive mangrove and mudflat ecosystems. Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham, 2013

Above, an example of inappropriate development…on a small scale – Kimberley Metals Group Iron-Ore loading yard on sensitive mudflats and mangroves at Cambridge Gulf. Signs around town warned people not to drive on the mudflats due to their sensitivity – but an iron-ore loading yard was somehow deemed OK!! If Barnett’s plan ever comes to fruition, we will see hundreds of large-scale mining projects across The Kimberley.

To get to and from the loading yard, the Kimberley Metals Group employs Hancocks transport to drive massive road trains (up to 53 metres long)  to/from their iron-ore mine site, Ridges Mine, located several hundred kilometres further inland. These road-trains pass in each direct EVERY 20 minutes for approximately 20 hours a day. Again, remember, this is relatively small scale – nothing compared to the plans Barnett has.

And below, overlooking Cambridge Gulf from The Five Rivers lookout, which was recently listed as one of the top ten lookouts in the world. And not to forget that the NY Times recently listed The Kimberley as one of the top must-see destinations in the world – they also noted the massive threat of industrialisation if it not protected soon. And yet the iron-ore loading yard went ahead, right at the base of this lookout. Crazy, frightening and a major warning of potential things to come if we don’t continue to act.

Storm over Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham, NYE 2012

Storm over Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham, New Years Eve, 2012

Tom and I really hope you can join us at the show. Please help spread the word.

Keep The Kimberley always in your hearts and minds.

Hunter G and Tom would like to sincerely thank the Goolarabooloo Aboriginal people, and in particular, Law Boss and Traditional Owner, Philip Roe.

Thanks for listening and bye for now,

Hunter G, Tom and Claude (the damn van – that was my house, home and transport for 5 months – thanks Claude, I’ll come back for you soon!)

Journey to Ithaka

Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy – one of my favourite poems to TRY to live by…



As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Trans. Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

The above is taken from the Kelsey Museum’s website, Cavafy’s World – care of a transatlantic collaboration between the Kelsey Museum and two archives in Athens, Greece: The Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies (S.N.H.) and the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archives.

Image

More images of Ithaka – not a bad place to end up…if we make it. Background info here. Map here.

Some Things I Saw – Part 3

And so we hit the road again, this time for the final leg to the West Coast and only 50 km south of the seriously threatened Walmadan (James Price Point), traditional country of the Goolarabooloo Jabbirr Jabbir peoples and the warrior, Walmadany, who once lived there.

Halls Creek (the beautiful, intriguing and tasty innards) to Broome (pearling mecca and home of The Pigram Brothers).

Great song which refers to Walmadan…

The Kimberley

The Kimberley

Once again before we depart, a warning as per previous Some Things I Saw posts – more pics below of beautiful, but deceased, animals.

Afternoon Storm and Sunrays I, Near Halls Creek

Afternoon Storm and Sunrays I, Near Halls Creek

Rocky Outcrop, near Halls Creek

Rocky Outcrop, near Halls Creek

Afternoon Storm and Sunrays II, Near Halls Creek

Afternoon Storm and Sunrays II, Near Halls Creek

White Man's Trash

White Man’s Trash

Who is Hunter G II

Who is Hunter G?

Road Victim, Injured Snake

Rather Annoyed Snake

The rather annoyed snake, above, had just been hit by a car and was bleeding from the side of its head. Helped it off the road with my tripod. And do ya think it was grateful? Not so much as a ‘thank you’. Just rearing and hissing. So I reversed over it before continuing on. Not.

Dawn, Rest Area near Halls Creek

Dawn, Rest Area at Numpan Hills

Numpan Hills I, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills I, near Halls Creek

Beautiful colours and forms.

Numpan Hills II, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills II, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills III, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills III, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills IV, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills IV, near Halls Creek

And here’s WA Premier, Colin Barnett, below, beer-bellied but hard at work plugging himself as usual and thinking dirty thoughts – “what’s in dem hills below? Will they make me immortal if I dig’emupandsell’em?”

Colin Hard at It - Numpan Hills, near Halls Creek

Colin Promoting his Personal Philosophy – ‘1 + 1 = Whatever The Hell I Want’. Numpan Hills, near Halls Creek

Road Kill Scar

Road Kill – scar of burned out car

Numpan Hills, near Halls Creek

Numpan Hills, near Halls Creek

Above, reminds me a little of Monument Valley, Utah, USA. Let the drooling begin, a la Homer Simpson. ‘Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

Things that make Homer go ‘Mmmmmmmmm…

Below, Limestone country to the left, Sandstone country to the right.

Limestone & Sandstone, Numpan Hills

Limestone & Sandstone, Numpan Hills

Swimming, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Swimming, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Fitzroy River Patterns, Fitzroy Crossing

Fitzroy River Patterns a la Michael Leunig, Fitzroy Crossing

For some reason the above image reminds me of Michael Leunig cartoons….

Michael Leunig - Inner Duck

Michael Leunig – Inner Duck

And if you want a greater insight into the working’s of this great cartoonist, artist, philosopher’s mind, here’s an interview with Leunig by Margaret Throsby from ABC Classic FM (takes a while to load).

Kids Swimming, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Kids Swimming, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Raptor at Dusk, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Raptor at Dusk, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Net Fishing, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Net Fishing, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park I, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park I, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

‘Mm, I think these are both weeds, above and below (Passion weed?). But beautiful nonetheless….and much safer than an invasion of Barnettus Colinus.

Geike Gorge National Park II, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Barnettus Colinus, below…

Barnetus Colinus - Invasive Species

Barnetus Colinus – Invasive Species

Don’t say I didn’t shoot a croc – you can see the snout, below, breaking the waterline just inside the tip of my high quality, giant red Croc. So there!

Achtung! Crocodile! Geike Gorge National Park IV, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Achtung! Crocodile! Geike Gorge National Park IV, Fitzroy River, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park V, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park V, Fitzroy Crossing

Damn fine wet season grass, above. And striking rocks, below.

Geike Gorge National Park VI, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park VI, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park VII, Fitzroy Crossing

Geike Gorge National Park VII, Fitzroy Crossing

Below – Damn it, just after I said to myself,  “Hunter, you said you’d be sensible on this road trip and focus on the main ‘Save The Kimberley’ objective. Stop following this dodgy road or you’ll end up bogged. Turn around.” So I did. And got bogged in the process!

Step One, below – dig a bit and throw some wood around…

Bogged I - Fitzroy Crossing

Bogged I – Fitzroy Crossing

Step Two, get in driver’s seat and drive…backwards probably best.

Bogged III - The Road Ahead, Fitzroy Crossing

Bogged II – The Road Ahead, Fitzroy Crossing

Step Three, below – fail! Show concern, then start again.

Bogged II - Fitzroy Crossing

Who is Hunter G? Bogged III – Fitzroy Crossing

Below – Starting again, this time with the assistance of the City of Melbourne.

Bogged IV - Authorised Vehicles Excepted, Fitzroy Crossing

Bogged IV – Authorised Vehicles Excepted, Fitzroy Crossing

But Failed Again!

Step Four – Give Up! Call RACV via RACWA, over to RACV back to RACWA back to RACV, over to Towie… wait for ages…but make the most of the Total Care you paid for…and get them to tow you all of 3 metres at a cost (to them) of about $180. Yep. Worth every penny despite the dent to my manliness. To mitigate my manly losses just keep in mind that I’m a newby in the tropics, it was about 40 degrees celcius, 70% humidity and I gave it a red hot go for a couple of hours.

Exhausted and filthy as a result of the misadventure, I decided to stay in official accommodation for the first time on the trip thus far and get myself cleaned up. I chose to stay at the top o’ the line, Tarunda Caravan Park where I met the supportive couple, below, at the shower block.

Lizard & Cicada

Lizard & Cicada

Infinitely better hangin’ out with them than the other close-encounter I had – a man in his fifty’s who hung outside his caravan IN HIS Y-FRONTS while listening to Neil Diamond‘s ‘Cracklin’ Rosie‘ for an extended period.

Cracklin Rosie…

In my humble opinion, y-fronts should be banned. However, if due to some vagary of personality you would in fact like to see more, I suggest you visit here for a general Y-front overview. Or here, here..and here for the good, the bad and the downright weird (respectively? I’m not saying. So be prepared!)

And here are two more of our favourites in their finest…

Homer, Tribal Man & Donut

Homer, Tribal Man & Donut

Borat in his Finest

Borat in his Finest

Rubbish Bin & Approaching Storm

Rubbish Bin & Approaching Storm

I love that bin. Yeah, that one, above.

Ahhhh, let the off-highway adventure begin. On the Leopold Road, heading towards Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge where the Aboriginal warrior, Jandamarra hid out during his brave attempts to repel the whitefella settlers.

Oscar Range, Leopold Road

Oscar Range, Leopold Road

Quarry, Leopold Road

Quarry, Leopold Road

So, there we were, Claude and I, driving along Leopold Road in the middle of beautiful wild nowhere when we rounded a bend and copped this obscenity (below) in the face. Suddenly, out of the remote blue, a billboard promoting Wesley fucking College private school from Melbourne. Only a private school sense of entitlement would result in this sort of advertising in the wilderness. Nowhere else did I see anything remotely like it. The only other signs around in this sort of terrain were humble signs noting one’s passing of such-and-such cattle station.

Sense of Entitlement - Wesley College Private School, Leopold Road

Sense of Entitlement – Wesley College Private School, Leopold Road

Abandoned Combi - Leopold Road

Abandoned Combi, with Nazi Swastika – Leopold Road

And then, drum roll, Claude’s and my first real test….

Approaching Bog - Leopold Road

Approaching Bog – Leopold Road

And then, Claude’s and my first MAJOR fail…

Bogged I - Leopold Road

Bogged I – Leopold Road

Damn it, I was so close. I’d tested the solidity of the ridges, picked the most suitable ones…and then simply misaligned the bloody wheels and slipped off the edge. Bugger! Bogged!…

Bogged II - Leopold Road

Bogged II – Leopold Road

… for TWENTY-SEVEN long, isolated yet mostly enjoyable hours!

Step One – I tried the obvious, below. A bit of the old rock wedging under and around.

Bogged III - LH Rear - Leopold Road

Bogged III – LH Rear – Leopold Road

Bogged IV - RH Rear - Leopold Road

Bogged IV – RH Rear – Leopold Road

Step Two – jump in the driver’s seat, look happy (too happy perhaps) and try to convince yourself and the Gods that all is OK! And drive!

Who is Hunter G? Bogged VI - Leopold Road

Who is Hunter G? Bogged VI – Leopold Road

But fail. All was not OK. And, once again, it was about 40 degrees celcius.

Step Three – Begin again. In an attempt to reverse the near-25-degree tilt that Claude ended up on when we first got bogged I whacked the jack under the back LEFT wheel and jacked away, expecting weight to be shifted to the RHS. But what’d we end up with? This…

Bogged VI - RH Rear - Leopold Road

Bogged VI – RH Rear – Leopold Road

Yep, the left wheel went nowhere but the right one headed further skyward, instead of earthward as I had predicted. Weird and uncanny. But more likely that the high school physics recollections that I employed were way off track.

Step Four – But at least it meant I could jam a shiteload more rocks under the rear RHS wheel which had previously been spinning like a top. But unfortunately I didn’t notice the small sharp edge on one of dem rocks that resulted in part of the tyre being shredded when I next tried to drive away.

And so, NEXT IDEA…

Step Five – Tried again to level Claude, this time by jacking the front LH wheel up while digging a dirty big hole for Front RHS Wheel. Yay! This worked – eventually the jacking and digging led to a collapse and levelling.

Bogged VII - RH Front - Leopold Road

Bogged VII – RH Front – Leopold Road

I then left the jack in place with the intention of eventually driving straight off the top of it. Unorthodox? Perhaps. But before that could happen I decided it’d be necessary to go the whole hog’ and re-sculpt the road ahead, cutting away high bits to fill in the lower boggy bits.

Bogged VIII - LH Front - Leopold Road

Bogged VIII – LH Front – Leopold Road

Obviously at this point (god knows when exactly) I grew tired of documenting things for you folks so this is where the visual journey ends. I was prepared for up to about a five day wait while slowly working on various de-bogging options. And if five days did roll around and I was still bogged, the vague plan was to carry as much water as possible and walk back out to the highway, a distance of about 50 km, over two nights, knowing that there were at least a couple of creek crossings along the way.

At some point, one day turned into another – ah, yes, that occurred before the leveling because I remember trying to sleep in Claude on a 25 degree angle and continually rolling into the lower wall, readjusting…and then rolling again into the lower wall, and so on and so on. The following day, during my heat-o’ the day nap’ when I’d downed tools to stop from dying of heat exhaustion, I had a vision….

…not of the holy Brahmin bull below (fine specimen though he is), but of two humans approaching slowly. In my dazed state, they may have been Adam and Eve (but then, who would’ve I been?).

Adam and Eve - Victor Brauner, 1923

Adam and Eve – Victor Brauner, 1923

In fact they were Mike and Trudy, heading out on a hot date to Tunnel Creek. But instead of romance they found themselves wondering whether they had just found a dead man lying in the back of his Toyota TOWN Ace (‘mmm, perhaps Claude’s ‘make and model’ should’ve alerted me to the dangers of 4wd’ing in a bloody TOWN Ace!!!). Anyway, Mike and Trudy thought I was dead. But in the third minute I awoke, dazed and, yes, you guessed it, confused…at least for 60 seconds or so as I rolled over, looked up at the vision, clumsily extracted myself from Claude’s innards and groggily walked towards them. After the surrealist vision wore off I realised I was in good hands. Not God’s hands. Good hands. Real live hands. My time was up.

Brahmin Bull, Leopold Road

Brahmin Bull, Leopold Road

And to cut an already long story a little short, they towed me out and I returned whence I came, successfully rejecting the inner voice telling me to venture on.

I returned to Fitzroy Crossing, but not as far as Tarunda Caravan Park and the man in his Y-fronts. Oh no, not that far back, that was for sure. I had already suffered enough. Never get out of the caravan. Whatever you do, never get out of the caravan…in your fucking Y-fronts, no matter who the hell you think you are or what funky Neil Diamond track you might be listening to. Just don’t do it!

A tenuous link. Because I can…

“Never get out of the Boat”

And continuing in the vaguely related gruesome vein of Apocalypse Now, I offer thee…

A white landcruiser, A cow and A bull. Switch off now if you are sensitive to death.

The landcruiser had managed to take out two large beasts, leaving everyone in very bad shape: two dead beasts, a written off car and an unknown final outcome for passengers, although hair caught in the cracks of head-butted, crazy-paved windscreen didn’t imply a fun experience.

Road Kill, Bull

Road Kill, Bull

Road Kill, Cow

Road Kill, Cow

Road Kill Trio

Road Kill Trio

Another darkly beautiful scene – Phantom of the Operatic Outback…

Road Kill, Cow III

Road Kill, Cow III

Road Kill, Cow II

Road Kill, Cow II

Road Kill, Cow I

Road Kill, Cow I

But things always lighten up again at some stage, even though a storm always lurks in the distance…

Cumulus Nimbus II, Fitzroy Crossing

Cumulus Nimbus II, Fitzroy Crossing

Cumulus Nimbus I, Fitzroy Crossing

Cumulus Nimbus I, Fitzroy Crossing

And so I returned once again to Fitzroy Crossing……and a welcoming party of two daredevil dogs that made every car, truck and even road-train run the gauntlet.

Dog Rage I, Fitzroy Crossing

Dog Rage I, Fitzroy Crossing

Dog Rage II, Fitzroy Crossing

Dog Rage II, Fitzroy Crossing

Dog Rage III, Fitzroy Crossing

Dog Rage III, Fitzroy Crossing

After a quick refuel Claude and I left town again that evening, bound for Derby, about 250 kms NE of Broome. I was finally getting close. Close to the west coast.

Soon after leaving Fitzroy Crossing, we were presented with an inspiring electrical storm in the distance ahead. Here are some abstract sort-of-shit-sort-of-interesting-thru-the-windscreen-while-driving shots of the action. Sort of depends on who’s viewing and/or what substances have been imbibed/injected. Over to you…

Storm over Highway III

Storm over Highway III

Storm over Highway II

Storm over Highway II

Storm over Highway IV

Storm over Highway IV

Storm over Highway I

Storm over Highway I

Storm over Highway V

Storm over Highway V

A painfully beautiful aside…

'Lightning Flower' - Image from ArmageddonOnline

‘Lightning Flower’ – Image from Armageddon Online

Above, the resulting scarring from a lightning strike.

Claude and I arrived in Derby ’round midnight, and chose the wetlands on the edge of town as our home for the next few nights.

Termite Mound and Boab

Termite Mound and Boab

Bee with Pollen, Derby Wetlands

Bee with Pollen, Derby Wetlands

Derby Wetlands II

Derby Wetlands II

Malformed Flying Formation

Malformed Flying Formation

Derby Wetlands I

Derby Wetlands I

The Boab Prison Tree on the outskirts of town – a dark history for a beautiful tree estimated to be 1500 years old:

The Boab Prison Tree IV, Derby

The Boab Prison Tree IV, Derby

Before Derby was established in1883, Aboriginal people were kidnapped. The kidnappers, known as blackbirders, were settlers connected with the pearling industry. They wanted divers and workers for the boats. They rounded people up and put them in chains and held them at the Boab Prison Tree while they waited for a boat. Later prisoners were held here awaiting trial in Derby.

The Boab Prison Tree I, Derby

The Boab Prison Tree I, Derby

The Boab Prison Tree II, Derby

The Boab Prison Tree II, Derby – Graffiti

The Boab Prison Tree III, Derby

The Boab Prison Tree III, Derby

Back in town I came across this funky propeller-gum combo. The propeller, from the sunken cargo ship S.S. Colac, was installed in 1964 and has been gradually engulfed by this adventurous eucalyptus.

Human Nature III, Derby

Human Nature III, Derby

Human Nature II, Derby

Human Nature II, Derby

Human Nature I, Derby

Human Nature I, Derby

Petroleum, Eucalyptus & Boab

Petroleum, Eucalyptus & Boab

The last known substantial population of the endangered Freshwater Sawfish lives here in the Fitzroy River. Another reason why mining The Kimberley makes such amazing sense.

Freshwater Sawfish, Wyndham

Freshwater Sawfish, Wyndham

Car Tracks at Sunset, Wyndham

Car Tracks at Sunset, Derby

And then it was back on the road for the last leg: Derby – Broome.

Fitzroy River

Fitzroy River, further downstream from Fitzroy Crossing

White Man's Trash I

White Man’s Trash I

White Man's Trash II

White Man’s Trash II

Ski Lake

Ski Lake

Ski Lake Patterns II

Ski Lake Patterns II

White Man's Trash I

White Man’s Trash – bottle

Ski Lake Patterns I

Ski Lake Patterns I

Termite Field

Termite Field

Termite Mound

Termite Mound

And finally, after 8410 massive and mostly enjoyable kilometres, I rolled up to Minyirr (Gantheume Pt) at sunset. My coast to coast odyssey was over… but I still had 60-odd km to travel by road before I reached Walmadan, the sacred yet seriously threatened site where WA Premier, Colin Barnett, desperately hopes to build the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas processing plant.

If successful, the LNG gas plant will be the beginning of the end for the world-renowned Kimberley region, one of the last remaining wilderness regions of its type in the world. And one which is extremely rich in cultural history. It would be an incredible, irreversible tragedy to lose all of this. Yet despite cheaper and more environmentally/culturally appropriate alternatives (pre-existing infrastructure in The Pilbara would be $15 B cheaper OR using new foating LNG technology would be $9 B cheaper) Barnett is adamant that the plant must be built at Walmadan. The real reason for his obsessive and irrational determination is his extremely dangerous ego which hopes to see his name go down in history as having burst open and industrialised the entire Kimberley to greedily and short-sightedly gorge on its buried wealth. A sickening thought.

Lighthouse at Gantheume Point

Lighthouse at Gantheume Point

The pindan at Minyirr, below, was rich underfoot and in striking contrast to the cyan sea and faded yellow-orange sky.

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) IV, Broome

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) IV, Broome

Lurujarri Heritage Trail, Minyirr

Lurujarri Heritage Trail, Minyirr

The Lurujarri Heritage Trail, above, follows part of a sacred songline which runs along the Dampier Peninsula through the currently threatened site of Walmadan (James Price Point). The trail, beginning here and ending 82 kilometres north, was set up by Aboriginal Elder, Paddy Roe (recipient of an Order of Australia medal) in a generous and intelligent attempt to bring two very different cultures together in the interests of shared knowledge, greater understanding and furthering reconciliation. But this is  to be destroyed if Barnett’s vision for Walmadan succeeds. Walmadan, the trail and the songline (a continuous path which cannot exist in separate physical parts) will be destroyed – an horrific legacy of an egomaniac.

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) III, Broome

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) III, Broome

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) II, Broome

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) II, Broome. Cable Beach in the Distance.

Gantheume Point (Minyirr) I, Broome

Anvil, Gantheume Point (Minyirr) I, Broome

Do what you can. Thanks for listening and bye for now,

Hunter G

ps At this stage the best thing one can do to help would be to write to Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, who still has to give his approval for the project to go ahead. Visit the following links for letter writing tips and other ideas too.

pps. Interesting fact…Did you know that Hunter G just received a grant to help with production of his Save The Kimberley exhibition which will open in Melbourne in May (details to come)? He will be exhibiting with Kimberley painter, Tom Montgomery. Thanks to the Awesome Foundation for their grant.

Now for those links:

Broome Community’s ‘No Gas’ Website

Environs Kimberley

Wilderness Society’s Kimberley Link

Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 (except where noted) and available for sale (FREE for not-for-profit activities – just include a link to this blog). All profits from sales will be re-invested in Save The Kimberley activities.

The Power of the Pen/the Camera…..the Power of Caring

I just saw a promotion on Bob Brown’s facebook page for photographer, Chris Bell‘s new book, ‘The Tarkine‘.

The Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, recently signed off on a deal to allow The Tarkine region to be logged. But the fight is NOT over… victories due to community protest have occurred in many cases including The Franklin campaign of the 80’s (about which Chris also has also made a book) and The Abbotsford Convent campaign of the 2000’s. And, if we keep up the pressure, the victory will happen up here in The Kimberley too. There is always time…so pick up a pen, camera, computer and get started.

And refer lower down this post to see how Chris’s 1982 book about The Franklin, ‘A Time to Care’ directly inspired Hunter and Claude.

The Tarkine by Chris Bell (foreward by Bob Brown)

The Tarkine by Chris Bell

One fb user made this slightly confusing but seemingly derogatory comment about the book launch:

“We may as well see Tarkine in all its wild and unblemished grandeur before the miners rape and pillage it for their beloved shareholders. Take cover. We should be fighting out there, not sitting down and reading a book.”

This was Hunter’s response:

“Reading a book can definitely make a difference. Chris Bell’s 1982 book about The Franklin River, A Time To Care (with foreward by Bob Brown) directly inspired me to drive 8000-odd km from Melbourne to Walmadan to do what I can to help Save The Kimberley.

That has resulted in newspaper and ABC radio coverage in various towns along the way, an article in The Big Issue magazine, a dedicated blog and shortly an exhibition back in Melbourne (with a Kimberley painter I met up here).  Hopefully any of the above efforts will influence others, in turn, to take up pen, camera, computer or frontline protesting. Never underestimate the power of the pen, the camera, the people, the community, etc, etc, etc”

A Time to Care travels with me on this trip. It was found at the beginning of a profound period of clarity with respect to what really matters in life, and marked the beginning of a never-before-experienced 5 day natural high that left me virtually sleepless but exhilarated. His words from the foreward echo my and many others’ sentiments and are still equally applicable to both The Kimberley and The Tarkine.

Chris Bell’s book, The Tarkine WILL definitely influence people to take action! Get along to the launch if you be a sydney-sider, buy it if you can afford, or at least borrow it and be inspired.

Thanks for listening and bye for now,

Hunter G

Save The Kimberley