Tag Archives: exploitation

In Your Bones – Paddy Roe

“We don’t go to what is in our bones – that feeling. In order to experience this, we have to walk the land. Then we wake up to feeling, what we call ‘le-an’. We become more alive, we start feeling, we become more sensitive. And that’s the time you start to experience, when the land pulls you and takes over.”

Paddy Roe – Goolarabooloo Elder, Law Boss, Traditional Custodian, OAM, – the man whose vision it was to create the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, an 82 km trail following part of a Songline along the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, Western Australia. Paddy’s aim was to share aboriginal knowledge, bring two very different cultures closer together and to get young aboriginal kids back ‘out bush’ to reconnect.

nb. ‘le-an’ can roughly be translated as ‘gut-feeling’ – exactly what brought me here from the other corner of this vast country. No logic, no reasoning, just profound le-an that stayed with me for five sleepless nights and days – during which time I felt intensely alive and deeply ‘connected’… to The Kimberley specifically, but also to everything and nothing.

Aboriginal Flag, Walmadan

Aboriginal Flag, Walmadan

Law Boss, Phillip Roe leads an anthopologist, marine biologist and protectors through the Dunes at Walmadan.

Law Boss, Phillip Roe leads an anthropologist, marine biologist and protectors through the Dunes at Walmadan.

Turtle Shell, Walmadan Dunes.

Turtle Shell, Walmadan Dunes.

Traditional Custodian and Law Boss, Phillip Roe (Paddy's Grandson) walking in Country

Traditional Custodian and Law Boss, Phillip Roe (Paddy’s Grandson) walking in Country

I am currently at Walmadan (James Price Point), one of the ‘stops’ on the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, about 50 km north of Broome. It is here, atop a Songline and sacred sites (including burial grounds), that Colin Barnett (WA Premier) and a joint venture led by Woodside Petroleum, want to build the world’s biggest Liquefied Natural Gas Processing Plant.

Walmadan and Distant Storm Cloud at Dusk

Walmadan and Distant Storm Cloud at Dusk

The Cliffs at Walmadan (James Price Point)

The Cliffs at Walmadan (James Price Point)

The proposed plant would initially cover approximately 2500 hectares (approximately 21 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD), require dredging of 34 million tonnes of reef and seabed in a humpback whale calving area, involve 8000 workers and increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. But the overall amount of land ‘acquired’ by Woodside is apparently approximately 100 000 hectares (plenty of room for expansion as time goes by).

IF it goes ahead, it will destroy the songline, Walmadan and the Lurujarri Trail. It will tear apart the social, cultural and environmental fabric of the immediate surroundings. And in a short time (perhaps three decades) it’s flow on effects will devastate the entire Kimberley region.

Enough said. Save The Kimberley. Please.

Hunter G, reporting from Walmadan (named after the Aboriginal warrior, Walmadany).

nb. for a more detailed overview, keep your eyes out for the story by writer/photographer, Charlie Sublet, in the upcoming edition of The Big Issue magazine. Available at all good street corners in capital cities (and Broome!!) around Australia from approximately Feb 21.

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

Background Info and Ways to Help:

The Goolarabooloo People, Paddy Roe Story and Lurujarri Trail

Broome Community’s ‘No Gas’ Website

Environs Kimberley

Wilderness Society’s Kimberley Link

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Some Things I Saw – Part 2

…and away we go again. Some more things I saw.

Wyndham, The Kimberley’s northern-most town, to Halls Creek, the beautiful, intriguing and tasty innards …

Wyndham to Halls Creek

Wyndham to Halls Creek

Above – the section from Wyndham to Halls Creek. Below – the overall Kimberley Region.

The Kimberley

The Kimberley

nb. ‘bog’, as in car being bogged. just thought i better clarify.

And a quick word of warning again, as per the Some Things I Saw Part 1 post – more pics below of beautiful, but deceased, animals.

But not this first pic. Here we have a real live crocodilus from Wyndham. Truly ruly! But with what look like flippers instead of feet – oh well, minor flaw.

THE BIG CROC!!!!

THE BIG CROC!!!!

Ah, yes, there it is – THE BIG CROC. How we all love a BIG whatever (why am I not surprised that Queensland seems to have the greatest quantity?) Soon, if we’re not really determined, we’ll find ourselves with THE BIG LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS PROCESSING PLANT near Broome. And we could all come and take souvenir pics of ourselves, dwarfed by…..THIS…

…the proposed gas hub overlaid on a map of Perth.

Proposed Gas Hub Overlaid On Perth

Proposed Gas Hub Overlaid On Perth

…Or…equivalent to 21 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD!

In a wilderness zone (with sacred sites and a living aboriginal culture also), that is madness and completely disrespectful, in my humble (or not) opinion. But Colin (a.k.a. The Big Croc…of shite) likes to say the proposed plant is simply like a Big Fridge – ABC’s ‘Q & A’ a couple of months ago – Read Transcript/Watch Episode

A Big Fridge

A Big Fridge – Pic by Coinneach Shanks (check out his interesting blog here)

Personally, my primary reason for coming to help save The Kimberley is based on a long-term view and also on my sense of deep connection with wild natural landscapes – a connection which I believe all humans could experience if they allow themselves the required time and mental perspective. So we need to safeguard these wild/natural areas from the exploitative human hand. If the current Woodside/WA State Government proposal goes ahead it is my firm belief that the entire Kimberley region will be irreversibly devastated within three decades due to reasons discussed in previous posts and below.

Very recently a NY Times story listed The Kimberley as one of the world’s top 46 destinations for 2013 but also noted the threat to the region from mining. ‘Colin the Croc’, however, likes to look at things from a simplistic and narrow-minded perspective in a cynical attempt to mislead the public. The Croc’s response to the NY Times story was to say that the proposed site at Walmadany (James Price Point) “is a tiny area of the Kimberley – if the Kimberley was the MCG then James Price Point would be one seat.” Thanks Colin for your profound and enlightening commentary which, as a sports-obsessed-ausssie, I can easily relate to. Fortunately The Wilderness Society’s WA State Coordinator, Peter Robertson, in turn commented, “Barnett’s attempt to downplay the threat of industrialisation across the region is deeply misleading.”

Read the wilderness society’s comments…in response to Colin’s comments…..in response to the NY Times comments.

With respect to physical size, Colin may be correct with his MCG comparison (I’m not sure, I haven’t done the maths) but it takes no account of the long-term effects OR the immediate devastating effects on society/culture in the affected region AND simply ignores the environmental effects, implying it would be ok to destroy endangered monsoon vine thicket, threaten whale breeding grounds, etc, etc, etc.

Whilst I am also aware and concerned about the impacts of mining and industrial activity on the social, cultural and spiritual fabric of the region, my primary drive is environmental, although I imagine the ‘connection’ of which I spoke above could well be described as spiritual. I certainly have had other-worldly experiences in wild places, particularly in The Kimberley and Tasmania’s highlands where I have FELT a profound sense of calm, peace, wonder and belonging. It’s my hope that current and future generations will also be able to experience this and help us change our attitudes to the environment, to ourselves and to how we want our society to operate. With respect to society and culture, I certainly don’t seem to experience the same depth of connection, not yet anyway. Perhaps this will happen in time.

From a photographic perspective, my personal experience with The Kimberley environment is partly why there are virtually no humans in my photographs thus far, including no pictures of Aboriginal people whose ancestors lived here for such an incredibly long time in relative harmony with nature. With respect to Aboriginal people, I do not know anywhere near enough about their complex culture to fairly comment on or document them and their traditional connection to land. In time, as I very very slowly interpret and absorb the complexities of Aboriginal culture, (including a way of thinking that is very different to Western thought) hopefully I will come to understand it more fully and feel it is appropriate to comment/document. If I was to do so at this point I still feel I would be unfairly and unethically objectifying them.

(An aside…Ok, I realise this is currently more ‘Some Things I Thought’ rather than ‘Some Things I Saw’ but I promise there are a heap of cool pics coming soon down below.)

However,  someone who is well qualified to comment on these things is Jeanne Brown, a very well respected woman who has worked with the Aboriginal custodians and the environment over the past twenty-odd years, with particular experience learning about the region which includes the proposed site for the LNG processing plant.

I highly recommend you read a letter from Jeanne to the WA Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Peter Collier. I have copied it to my FB page – go to the Jan 24 entry headed ‘Jeanné Browne’s letter re S18 Approval’. In it, she comments in detail from an environmental and aboriginal heritage perspective, about the destruction and desecration that will occur if the recent S18 approval is not overturned. (Section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, when approved, gives permission to the applicant, in this case Woodside Petroleum, to disturb/destroy areas that are covered by the Act.) You can read an article about the Broome community’s response to this approval here in The Australian. And if you wish to add your voice please sign the current petition to Minister Burke (Fed Minister for the Environment) who has the power to reverse the decision.

From Jeanne’s letter we can get an understanding of how, if this ruling is not overturned, it will destroy a previously unbroken Songline that passes directly through the proposed site. The proposed site at Walmadany (James Price Point) is about halfway along the Lurujarri Trail, a trail following the songline and opened to non-Aboriginal people 20-odd years ago by elder Paddy Roe, now deceased, who became an Order of Australia Medal recipient in 1990. It was Paddy’s vision to share his culture and heritage with non-Aboriginals in a genuine attempt to foster greater understanding and reconciliation between two very different cultures. Thousands of non-Aboriginal folk have now walked this trail.  NB. there are many ancestral graves in these dunes where Woodside has just been given permission for ‘exploration’. Can you imagine a company being given permission to destroy a revered Anglo-Australian’s grave such as war hero Weary Dunlop, Governer-General Bill Hayden (nb. not yet dead – sorry Bill), who awarded Paddy his OAM, or sporting hero Don Bradman?

Check out a short movie of ‘The Don’s’ Last Innings’ Is Don, Is Good (well, maybe not in this innings)

And here we have a short slideshow of Sir Weary’s local haunts set to uber cool old skool music.

Ok, less words from here on in, I promise.

———————————–

I found this lovely but dead raptor on the highway between Wyndham and the junction of The Great Northern and Victoria Highways – just near The Grotto where we saw Colin undertaking one of his estate sell-offs in Some Things I Saw – Part 1.

Road Kill, Raptor I

Road Kill, Raptor I

Road Kill, Raptor II

Road Kill, Raptor II

Road Kill, Raptor III

Road Kill, Raptor III

And another victim lays below. He was as dry as dry could be and I was very tempted to give ‘im a ride to replace the emu left behind at the quarantine checkpoint. Alas, I went on without him – his breath still had a slight ‘parfum de mort’.

Road Kill, Frog

Road Kill, Frog – or was it a toad?

If we let the Woodside proposal go ahead we open the floodgates to full-scale industrialisation of The Kimberley over the coming decades and we’ll be reducing the safe haven for native animals. Currently there are “NO recorded mammal extinctions in the north Kimberley” – source, Kimberley Coast.

Siamese Boabs

Siamese Boabs

Boabs – related to the Madagascan and African species known as Baobabs. The Australian species (Adansonia gregorii) is believed to have washed to our shores from Madagascar. You can find more info here and some great pics here.

Eucalypt and Mountain

Eucalypt and Mountain

The greeny-yellow grasses, above, are prolific at this time of year.

Pandanus Gathering

Pandanus Gathering

I LOVE PANDANUS – always have, always will. Eucalypts are damn fine too. In fact, if I had to choose, it’d be eucys all the way, especially ghost gums that seem to glow in the dark.

Gum and Mountain

Gum and Mountain

Highway and Mountain

Highway and Mountain

It’s great to have this road through the terrain. But there are already enough of these to satisy us ALL for a lifetime. Open Kim up to mining in a grand scale and we’ll dissect her with mining roads and others that stem from the flow-on demands of a new population of mining workers, etc (plus there’ll be more roadhouses, more supermarkets, more department stores, more, more, more…)

Bush Track

Bush Track

Highway Cutting at Dusk

Highway Cutting at Dusk

Red Road

Red Road

Ooooooooh, now this mountain, below, looks like it’s full of something USEFUL.

Mountain at Dusk

Mountain at Dusk

Passing

Passing

Oncoming

Oncoming

Yes, the mining and exploration companies will think all their Christmases have come at once if the JPP (Walmadany) project goes ahead. If it does, the associated port will provide an invaluable export point, offering massive capital cost savings for potentially dozens of other companies which are interested to cut up Kimberley.

All Your Christmases

All Your Christmases

Kimberley Metals Group’s ‘Ridge Mine’, below, is the source point for the ore we saw at the loading yard in Wyndham.

No Entry - KMG's Ridge Mine

No Entry – KMG’s Ridge Mine

Dust covers the area for kilometres around and follows the roadtrains wherever they go.

Blasting Times - KMG's Ridge Mine

Blasting Times – KMG’s Ridge Mine – ‘Mmmm, how peaceful

Rubble - KMG's Ridge Mine

Rubble – KMG’s Ridge Mine

Dead Tree I - KMG's Ridge Mine

Dead Tree I – KMG’s Ridge Mine

And here, at the turn-off from the main highway to the mine a few kilometres away, I came across three conspicuously dead trees close to the above area which appears to have been cleared for some reason.

Dead Tree II - KMG's Ridge Mine

Dead Tree II – KMG’s Ridge Mine

Dead Tree III - KMG's Ridge Mine

Dead Tree III – KMG’s Ridge Mine

Or instead, we could choose to retain the following…

Flora I

Flora I

Hunter G and his Pet Mound

Hunter G and his Pet Mound

TERMITES!!! You Funky Fellas! What a damn fine effort.

Termite Mound

Termite Mound

Termite Mound - Interior

Termite Mound – Interior

And here’s David with a few words to say about termites…

…and now back on the human highway again…

Jailhouse Creek I

Jailhouse Creek I

Jailhouse Creek II

Jailhouse Creek II

And now we arrive at one of the WA Main Roads’ STOCKPILES, left for our enjoyment at random roadside locations.

Stockpile

Stockpile

‘Mmmmm, Rockpile Dreaming…

Rock Pile Dreaming

Rock Pile Dreaming

And Colin Cries, “Oh, Yes…This, all This!”, like a little boy with building blocks. Let’s please take Colin’s building blocks away before he breaks an ecosystem, a songline, a community (too late for the last one – Broome’s already divided).

And Colin Cries, "Oh, Yes...This, all This!"

And Colin Cries, “Oh, Yes…This, all This!”

Bowing at the foot of THE PILE!…

Prayer Time

Prayer Time

Dirt Pile Dreaming

Dirt Pile Dreaming

44 Gallon Dreaming I

44 Gallon Dreaming I

44 Gallon Dreaming II

44 Gallon Dreaming II

Nature Strikes Back

Nature Strikes Back

I'm a '-?-?-?-?' and I'm '-?-?-?-?' (fill in your own words) - sung to the tune of 'I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK'

I’m a ‘-?-?-?-?’ and I’m ‘-?-?-?-?’ (fill in your own words) – sung to the tune of ‘I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK’

Bright Ideas Man

Bright Ideas Man

Colin and his Pet Rock – the 2-tonner

Colin and his Pet Rock – the 2-tonner

An aside, can I just say that I, um, I mean Colin, nearly died for those photo-shoots – it was forty-plus degrees in the shade in the middle of the day and we spent at least an hour shooting. “Good. Good. Good. You look Good, Colin. That’s Great Colin. Oh Colin, Yeah!” He lovvvvvved it!

…Or we could dump Colin and his building blocks A.S.A.P. (NB. WA State election this March 9) and keep more of this instead…

Trunks, Grass and Quartz

Trunks, Grass and Quartz

Flora III

Flora III

Boab Leaf

Boab Leaf

Flora II

Flora II

Wish I knew the names of some of these plants and grasses (the above one had a bit of a sage-style look about it – anyone? anyone?….Buell…)

I think this one below is a Spinifex grass….

Wet Season Grass

Wet Season Grass

Two Trunks I

Two Trunks I

Two Trunks II

Two Trunks II

Two Trunks III

Two Trunks III

Ohhhhhh, Yeeeeaaahhhhhh! Termite Mounds, YOU ABSOLUTELY ROCK!!!!!….

Termite Mounds

Termite Mounds

But see that rock up there? Yeah, the one that looks really cool atop the ridge and which probably has Aboriginal significance. TEAR IT DOWN and BUST IT OPEN would ya?! It’s gotta have something useful inside,… like a ‘kinder surprise’ – maybe there’s another building block for Colin inside!

Eagle Rock

That Rock Up There

That Rock Up There - Tear It Down! Termite Mounds and Mountains

That Rock Up There – Tear It Down! Termite Mounds and Mountains

Or, we could…just leave it be, like…

Hilltop Tree

Hilltop Tree

Hilltop I

Hilltop I

Hilltop II

Hilltop II

Boab Cluster

Boab Cluster

Boabs

Boabs

Boab Bark

Boab Bark

Boabs and Mountains

Boabs and Mountains

The preceding series of Boab shots was taken at the single cluster of four Boabs, above, growing as if one. ….with a littl’un off to the side, also.

Rain and Tree

Rain and Tree

Sunrise - 200 km NE of Halls Creek

Sunrise – 200 km NE of Halls Creek

The night before ‘Sunrise’, above, Santa reigned over the mountains, not wanting to give up his festive robes just yet…

Santa's Farewell II, 200 km NE of Halls Creek

Santa’s Farewell II, 200 km NE of Halls Creek

Santa's Farewell I, 200 km NE of Halls Creek

Santa’s Farewell I, 200 km NE of Halls Creek

Roadtrain V Claude I

Roadtrain v Claude I

Claude, above and below, taking it both ways from Hampton’s iron-ore roadtrains, seconds apart. I’d only left him for a second. Brave Claude.

Roadtrain V Claude II

Roadtrain v Claude II

Mistake Creek

Mistake Creek

I believe there may be some dark, dark history associated with Mistake Creek, which is why I pulled up to shoot it. Let me just go to the record books. Bear with me…

Ah, yes, listed here as occurring in 1915, this dark list of massacres of Aboriginals.

Road Kill – Bird

Road Kill – Bird

Damn it I loved that bird (Rainbow Bee-eater). And it was my fault too. Unless you count the fact that she flew straight into Claude, in his natural habitat (a bitumen road). But God Damn she’s beautiful.

Claude’s and my personal road-kill tally at the 8410 km mark (after arriving at Broome) stands at:

1 x rabbit (cute, but no real loss in my book); 1 x bird, above.

And in the ‘Definitely Not Dead But Definitely Dazed and Confused’ category: 2 x birds (glancing blows); 1 x funky, funky, funky snake (flexible bugger). Both went on to bigger and better things.

Remnants of Commemorative Plaque - Jarlalu Bridge

Remnants of Commemorative Plaque – Jarlalu Bridge

At Jarlalu Bridge, above, someone had souvenired the commemorative ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi’ Australia plaques but left a lovely little conglomerate inlay set in an adhesive, with just a dash of blue, AND A SHITLOAD OF CONCRETE ALL AROUND! Noice! Very Noice!

But even better, check out what we’ve got leftover below…

White Man's Trash at Jarlalu Bridge

White Man’s Trash at Jarlalu Bridge

Stairway to Nowhere – how inspiring and avante-garde. Oh, darling, we MUST have it. We can put it alongside the stuffed saltwater-infused crocodile to show man’s evolution …from damn fine fearsome crocodile creature (that yes, is capable of making top-notch hand-bags) to ‘let’s-make-everything-based-on-a-grid-system-so-that-life-is-oh-that-much-more-predictable’.

And just because I can…let’s tune in to a much much more creative stairway…

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN – the music, the clothes, the hair, the lyrics: CRE-A-TIV-ITY!

Ohhhhhhhhhh, Yeah. Wait, just let me pick myself up off the floor after my air-guitar session. ….. Right, that’s gotta be one of the best song build-ups and guitar pieces in history. But getting back to Kimberley, I’m pretty sure I prefer my stone and layout like this…

Stone formations at Jarlalu Bridge

Stone formations at Jarlalu Bridge

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge III

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge III

River Branches II

River Branches II

River Branches I

River Branches I

Sand, Stone, Water - At Jarlalu Bridge

Sand, Stone, Water – At Jarlalu Bridge

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge II

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge II

River Branches III

River Branches III

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge I

Watercourse at Jarlalu Bridge I

The raptors (Kite’s I think), above, had been feasting on a cow carcass in the riverbed until I disturbed them, whereupon they all went and sat happily together (but waiting fro me to piss off).

I also managed to scare the cows from their relaxed resting place under the tree, below, where they were all sprawled out doin’ nuttin’…

Wandering Cattle

Wandering Cattle

Highway and Storm Clouds

Highway and Storm Clouds

‘Mmmm, beautiful sweeping highway under a stormy sky…leading to this…

Fuck Off, I'm Full! ...Road Kill, Lizard I

Fuck Off, I’m Full! …Road Kill, Lizard I

Road Kill, Lizard II

Oh, Go On, Somebody Help Me Up…Road Kill, Lizard II

Hand to Hand - Road Kill, Lizard III

Hand to Hand – Road Kill, Lizard III

Red Dragonfly

Red Dragonfly

Names for the above/below – Anyone? Anyone?… Buel…

Blue-grey Dragonfly

Blue-grey Dragonfly

Funky Trunk, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Funky Trunk, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Big-arse Moth II, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Big-arse Moth II, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

…about 6 cm long…

Big-arse Moth I, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Big-arse Moth I, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Met a mob here at Caroline Pool. They were here from Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Balgo for some Sorry Business – a young fella had died). But they were in good spirits evening and invited me to join them. They had killed a ‘cleanskin’ (an unbranded cow) and were now in the process of a big cook-up in a fire on the beach.

Burnt Rocks, China Wall, Halls Creek

Burnt Rocks, China Wall, Halls Creek

Rocks, Gums and Storm Clouds I, Halls Creek

Rocks, Gums and Storm Clouds I, Halls Creek

I.Kid.You.Not. – this is how it looked. One incredible combo of sunset, rocks, eucalypts and storm.

Rocks, Gums and Rainbow, Halls Creek

Rocks, Gums and Rainbow, Halls Creek

Rocks, Gums and Storm Clouds II, Halls Creek

Rocks, Gums and Storm Clouds II, Halls Creek

After dining with the mob at one of their houses, I returned to Caroline Pool to shoot the stars and eucalyptus by firelight, and this is what I got…

Gum Tree and Stars by Firelight, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Gum Tree and Stars by Firelight, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Above, 30 seconds. Below, 65 minutes.

Gum Tree and Star Trails by Firelight, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Gum Tree and Star Trails by Firelight, Caroline Pool, Halls Creek

Or, we could, (all together now, I think you’ve picked up on the pattern)……..CHOOSE TO HAVE MORE OF THIS INSTEAD…

Roadtrain I

Roadtrain I – washing the windscreen

The perfect combo: a roadtrain full of tyres for Humungous Mining Trucks.

And they’re great with kids too. Real friendly-like…

Children and Roadtrains II

Children and Roadtrains II

But in defence of the driver, Aaron, he was a damn good bloke, seriously, and generously agreed to let me jump in the  Kenworth Big-Rig to take a ride down the road and outa town (I walked back – he couldn’t even be bothered to chuck a U-ey and drop me back where I demanded!)

No, seriously again (I know, it’s hard for me), he was a lovely guy and damn I would love to drive one of those once in my life (the slippery slope – soon I’ll be like Colin the Croc with his building blocks).

Aaron and The Big Rig

Aaron and The Big Rig

Aaron, Ready to Roll

Aaron, Ready to Roll

In the Cab, checking for traffic (not telling me off)

In the Cab, checking for traffic (not telling me off)

Ok, that’s all folks. Thanks for staying with me. And don’t forget … SAVE THE KIMBERLEY…

…and those links one more time:

Minister Burke Petition re S18

Wilderness Society’s Kimberley Link – background info and simple ideas on how to help

The Goolarabooloo People, Paddy Roe Story and Lurujarri Trail

bye for now,

Hunter G

Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 (except the funky ‘Big Fridge’ one by Coinneach Shanks and ‘Caged Colin’, below) and available for sale (FREE for not-for-profit activities – so spread the word widely – just include a link to this blog). All profits from sales will be re-invested in Save The Kimberley activities.

Caged Colin

Caged Colin (Photo credit: DavidDMuir)

Some Things I Saw – Part 1

Too much to show, too little time. The Kimberley – It’s why I’m here and it’s under threat.

Here are some things I saw.  Hopefully they move you and others enough to send an email/letter, donate, volunteer, spread the word, etc to help save this incredible and rare wilderness from the tentacles of government and corporate giants who are intent on digging it up over the coming decades – starting right now with the Liquefied Natural Gas Processing Plant which is proposed for Walmadan (James Price Point), just north of Broome.

So, if you like these pics, feel a deep sense of connection with landscape and wilderness or believe we need to save these types of places for future generations or simply for the sake of wilderness itself, then please do what you can and spread the word. A final decision is set to be made by Woodside Petroleum in the first half of this year.

Keep in mind that I’m stuck to the main highway due to the wet season and lack of 4WD. If it’s this good along the highway, the innards must be spectacular (you may have seen aerial shots of places in The Kimberley such as Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) and King George’s Falls).

And a warning for those with sensitive hearts: there are some pics below of beautiful, but deceased, animals. Killed on the road by…us. And the more industrialisation and resulting flow-on developments, the more we’ll see dead animals. I’ve been documenting road-kill since the beginning of this trip and by far the greatest number of deaths, not surprisingly, occurs in areas with the greatest development and associated travel/transport routes. Don’t mess with a road-train – there are plenty of those where mining is concerned.

In the meantime,

Some Things I Saw – The Kimberley, Part One: WA/NT Border to Wyndham (The Kimberley’s northern-most town) …

Two Aboriginal Kids

Two Aboriginal Kids

These two kids appeared out of nowhere (there was nothing else around for 40-odd km except the quarantine checkpoint), walking quietly along the highway. They reached the quarantine station, bought some ‘white man’s treats’ from the vending machine, turned around and walked back from where they came. I watched until they veered off the highway, into the bush and out of sight.

Confiscated Contraband

Confiscated Contraband

Despite my losses at quarantine (refer ‘Toughen Up Princess’) I was very happy to have finally reached The Kimberley, The Last Frontier.

Croc Fest

Croc Fest

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier

I read at least three bits of info (on signs and in books) which referred to The Kimberley as ‘The Last Frontier’. It’s true. But unfortunately the Mayor of Wyndham has decided to have this tagline REMOVED from future signage as he’s concerned that it’s ‘holding them back’. Nooooooooooo! Another victim of ‘progress’.

Now Targeting

Now Targeting

Rolling into Kununurra I was pleased to see that the local constabulary were hard at work targeting… nothing in particular. However the local pool had picked up the same terminology and was ‘now targeting running’ so I was on my best poolside behaviour.

Fortunately, I even passed the local dress code requirements despite my attire being more ‘earthen bushwear’.

Minimum Dress

Minimum Dress

Full Moon - Kelly's Knob, Kununurra

A Near-Full Moon at Sunset – Kelly’s Knob, Kununurra

…or would you prefer more of this?…

The New Guard

The New Guard

…because this is what we’ll get heaps more of over the coming decades if we allow big mining and its flow-on demands into The Kimberley. By the way, I like the Target slogan, ‘Target Country – if you’re tall enough to see over our sensitively integrated facade’.

In prior days it’s been religion reigning over nature and keeping the masses under control but with the rise of corporations in the West, now they have well and truly taken the helm. Refer John Ralston Saul‘s ‘Unconscious Civilisation‘ for a good historical explanation and reason why we all MUST voice our opinion if we want to stand any chance of retaining a relatively democratic system.

The Old Guard

The Old Guard

White Man's Trash

White Man’s Trash

White Man – civilised and sophisticated? I love this term, ‘White Man’s Trash’ – a great phrase to sum up the unnecessary and unhealthy elements that colonial powers have directly and indirectly forced on the indigenous peoples of the world.

I ‘camped’ in Claude for a few nights half-way up Kelly’s Knob where I experienced a couple of great storms, including the biggest one for 2012 – winds reached up to 100 kph, we received about an inch of rain in an hour or so and lightning strikes touched down all around. I retreated within Claude, careful not to touch his metal skin, and documented a bit of the action.

Before a strike, the purple haze envelops…

Lightning Storm I, Kununurra

Purple Haze – Storm, Kununurra

Lightning Storm V, Kununurra

Before a Strike I – Storm, Kununurra

…and then, daylight restored with one brilliant flash…

Lightning Storm VI, Kununurra

During a Strike – Storm, Kununurra

Lightning Storm II, Kununurra

Before a Strike II – Storm, Kununurra

….and then, maybe 100 metres away, a great bolt tore the air apart and ripped into the hillside…

Lightning Storm III, Kununurra

During a Strike II –  Storm, Kununurra

At one moment, this strike, below, splinters and touches down…

Lightning Storm IV, Kununurra

During a Strike III – Storm, Kununurra

… and at another moment, a bolt of fork lightning races across the sky over the radio transmitter tower while sheet lightning lights up the world again, revealing beautiful rich hues…

Lightning Storm V, Kununurra

Lightning Storm V, Kununurra

A more peaceful scene another evening…

Approaching Sunset, Kununurra

Approaching Sunset, Kununurra

…same section a few minutes later…

Sunset, Kununurra

Sunset, Kununurra

A family portrait of a lovely Boab clan…

Boab Family

Boab Family

…or would we prefer more of these industrial families?…

White Man's Trash III

Industrial Family

Perhaps we could combine the two worlds…

White Man's Trash VII

Tropical Industrial Matrix

Yes, we need fuel to power our lives…

White Man's Trash VIII

Sodium Vapour

…but there are many renewable alternatives (especially in a sun-blasted country like ours) which are more sensitive to the health of the environment and ourselves as well as providing a much better long-term strategy.

Imagine if we could work out a way to predict the strike location and capture the energy contained in a lightning strike, this would be incredible…

Lightning Storm VII, Kununurra

Houston, We Have Transmission

Germany currently produces more than 25 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources. Read an article here. And apparently Iceland runs their entire country from renewable hydro and geo-thermal sources. Read article.

………….

But for now we hit the road again…and one unlucky toad (at least i hope it’s a Cane Toad and not a native). And I promise it wasn’t my or Claude’s fault. He had clearly crossed the double lines.

Double Lines and Toad

Don’t Cross The Double Lines

On the way to Wyndham I stopped off for a bit of hunting and came across the following…

Birds I

Birds I

Brolgas? Is that right? Anyone? …Anyone? ……Bueller?

Birds II

Birds II

Birds III

Birds III

At this point, after running through the bush with camera and tripod in forty degree heat, bird got sick of staying ahead of me with a few lanky strides and decided to take to the air…

Bird in Flight I

On the Runway

Yes, yes, i know tech-heads, it’s not in focus. But do you get the sense of feeling?!

Bird in Flight II

Airborne

Bird in Flight III

Gliding

Boab Pattern

Boab Hands

How cool are these boab hands!?

Birds IV

Jabiru I

Bird in Flight IV

Jabiru II

Many funky creek names in The Kimberley, such as this one and Jailhouse Creek, etc.

Dead Horse Creek

Dead Horse Creek

Oh look, and here’s a dead horse. How timely. Incredible bones and textures.

Dead Horse I

Dead Horse I

Dead Horse III

Dead Horse II

Dead Horse II

Dead Horse III

Full Moon, The Grotto

Full Moon, The Grotto

…reminds me of the howling dingos I heard south of Alice Springs.

Electrical Storm I, The Grotto

Electrical Storm, Drifting Clouds and Star-Trails, The Grotto

Electrical Storm II, The Grotto

Electrical Storm I, The Grotto

Check out this sequence from the following cloud structure…

Electrical Storm III, The Grotto

Latent, The Grotto

Electrical Storm IV, The Grotto

Internal Fire, The Grotto

The internal strikes are so incredibly beautiful the way they light up the cloud structure, bringing out unseen shapes and forms and with such a soft glow that spreads via the moisture particles.

Electrical Storm V, The Grotto

External Fire, The Grotto

And here are two shots of multiple internal strikes within the same cloud structure – one is an 8 second exposure, the other 7 minutes and includes some visible star-trails.

Electrical Storm VI, The Grotto

The Road Ends Here I, The Grotto

Electrical Storm VII, The Grotto

The Road Ends Here II, The Grotto

And then came dawn at The Grotto…

Dawn, The Grotto

Dawn, The Grotto

Morning, The Grotto

Early Morning, The Grotto

The Grotto

The Grotto I

You can glimpse the greenish waterhole at the bottom RHS of the above picture. And check out the steps leading down the gorge wall on the LHS foreground.

The Grotto II

The Grotto II

The water was tepid and the waterhole quite lengthy – about 30 metres to the actual waterfall. Crocs were in my mind as I breast-stroked my way to the falls despite numerous assurances that they didn’t inhabit this one.

The Grotto I

The Grotto III

Native Fig I

Native Fig I

I love Native Figs – the way they determinedly find a foothold, and moisture, within the cracks and crevices of otherwise solid stone.

Native Fig II

Native Fig II

Check out the beautiful fracturing and colours of the stone wall, below…

Stones I

Stones I

Stones II

Stones II

Stones II

Stones II

And on the roof of an overhang we find…

Cocoons and Hives, The Grotto

Cocoons and Hives, The Grotto

Hive I

Hive I

These little native bee beauties I found in several places but this one I particularly loved due to the choice of location – at the end of Native Fig’s root! Hard to see in these small pics but many of these little ‘cells’ were at least partially filled with what I assume was honey.

Hive II

Hive II

And everyone’s favourite creepy crawly – spiders. Or in this case dozens of spiderlings just waiting to freak you out as you walk through the web unaware…

Spiderlings, The Grotto

Spiderlings, The Grotto

Spider, The Grotto

Funky Spider, The Grotto

Unfortunately this cute little fella didn’t make it. Not sure if he was road-kill but he was as cute as a button and fitted in the palm of my hand.

Bat

Bat

And then it was back down to the main highway after my side trip to The Grotto.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley – view from road to Grotto

Ah, but what’s this then, ey?! Look very very very closely and you might see it.

Not-so-happy Valley

Not-so-happy Valley

Or just go to this next pic, below.

Road-Train Country

Road-Train Country

Yes, it’s the nation’s great friend…THE ROAD-TRAIN!! Please be upstanding for the national anthem.

Aussies all let us rejoice

for some of us are young and free

bah bup ba bah bah bah be bah

and I forget the rest….

Hampton's Road-train - carting for KMG

A Hampton’s (i’m-good-in-head-on-collisions) Road-train – carting for KMG (Kimberley Metals Group)

Four trailers long and over 50 metres in length. Able to stop wildlife and humans with a single strike. And great for noise and dust pollution, highway wear and tear, etc

These ones ran every 20 minutes, every day, and nearly 24 hours a day except for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. They were the only thing I could hear from The Grotto bar nature – a regular rumbling up the valley and gorge from several kilometres away.

And this is where they’re off to…

Delivery Man

KMG’s Delivery Yard

Wyndham. Just here, near the famous Croc Farm, was a handmade sign asking that road-train drivers please slow down as the resulting dust is killing the trees. And I met a couple whose house in Wyndham is located right where the driver’s did their shift change – just near the caravan park where many of them live. The changeovers occurred at very non-community-minded hours and this resident eventually took up his camera to document proceedings, sending the pics in to the authorities. Fortunately the changeover place has since been relocated. However these are just a couple of the very very minor effects that result from mining activities.

I  met a driver and his family at The Grotto and mentioned that the trucks seemed to pass every 30 minutes or so. He corrected me – every 20 minutes. They come from Ridges Iron Ore Project, 165 kilometres by road south of Wyndham, just off the Great Northern Highway which traverse The Kimberley.

He told me that part of the requirements for operating the mine included that the environment must not be visibly altered from the point of view of anyone driving along the highway. Oh, well that’s nice…BUT in fact all it means is that the destruction is effectively removed from sight…in the hope that it be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It reminds me of the logging operations I saw in Oregon and Washington states in the USA, where a screen of trees would be left along the highway to hide the clear-felling going on behind, where whole forests were being wiped off the face of the earth.

Just today, where I am writing this up in Fitzroy Crossing, a staff member told me that Cockatoo Island in the Buchaneer Archipelago, NW Kimberley region, has been reduced to a wasteland after a mining company razed the mountain that was once there. It is now being mined BELOW SEA LEVEL!!! The current operator, Leighton said mining would continue “until August 2012 and then rehabilitation of the mine lease would commence.” How does one rebuild a mountain? Aside from the mountain, there were apparently many Aboriginal people who used to visit the island. Not any more.

But back to the iron ore mine’s shipping port in Wyndham, below…

Dirt Pile Dreaming

Iron Ore Dreaming

A mountain of iron ore, bound for China. Quite visually striking and lovely from one perspective. But quite disturbing from several others – the most obvious being where the port is located: without exaggeration, right at the bottom of one of the best lookouts I have ever been to in my whole extensive traveling life; one which has even made it into an official list of the World’s top ten lookouts.

Dirt Pile Weeping

Iron Ore Weeping

The Bastion headland, mighty even from below, is the site of one of the World’s best lookouts, Five Rivers.

The Bastion Headland

The Bastion Headland – side view

The Bastion

The Bastion Headland – front view

The Bastion

The Bastion Headland – summit detail

And this is the mine’s delivery yard as seen from the lookout…

Storm II, Wyndham

KMG’s Delivery Yard and Port at Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

Notice the three barges stationed in the gulf constantly, to cart the ore to cargo ships in deeper waters. Although, I admit, the colours are quite beautiful, imagine this scene in its natural state. And contrast that against the negative impacts on the surrounding environment (and people).

The mine is situated on top of mud flats which are fringed by mangroves. Now I imagine mudflats are quite fragile and most likely contain a lot of inter-tidal wildlife. And I have seen signs asking that people NOT drive on the mudflats. Yet here we have an industrial loading yard which is apparently OK. Just did a quick google and came up with this…”The maintenance of mudflats is important in preventing coastal erosion. However, mudflats worldwide are under threat from predicted sea level rises, land claims for development, dredging due to shipping purposes, and chemical pollution.” Click here to go to that page.

Kimberley Metals Group (KMG) loading yard

Kimberley Metals Group (KMG) loading yard

And here are two guys at work, hour after hour, day after day, constantly reshaping the stockpile as the road-trains keep rolling in. Again, beautiful industrial colours, but here? I love industrial photography due to the strong colours, lines and shapes, and I realise that we need some industry of this nature…BUT we don’t need it here at the base of one of THE WORLD’S TOP TEN LOOKOUTS and IN A FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT. And we certainly shouldn’t want more of it in one of the world’s last remaining savannah-style wilderness regions which, by the way, has largely been ignored by the public and doesn’t have World Heritage Area status simply because, like The Franklin River in Tasmania 30 years ago, it is ‘out of sight, out of mind’, just like screened-off mining and logging activities.

KMG (Kimberley Metals Group) loading yard

KMG (Kimberley Metals Group) loading yard

And what happened with The Franklin River campaign to stop it being dammed in the early 80’s? What happened with The Franklin campaign is what will hopefully happen in this case – people who knew better, people who really gave a shit about the environment, carried out one of the most successful examples of community protest, putting the ‘out of sight, out of mind’, leech-ridden river directly in the public’s and politicians’ minds so that this magnificent piece of wilderness was ultimately saved in the eleventh hour. Read a more extensive account here.

But why bother saving these places that are out of sight and unlikely to ever be visited by the majority, and which could make us more money by being mined? Because what really matters is that: certain areas of nature MUST be allowed to exist simply for the sake of its existence, even if no-one ever visits them; dishonest, corrupt and exploitative politicians and corporations should be held to account; and alternatives, including utilising existing infrastructure (such as exists in The Pilbara for LNG processing), or sourcing renewable energy, should be seriously considered instead.

An aside: it’s interesting to compare the tactics of the then Tasmanian Premier, Robin Gray (who by the way, later went on to become director of Gunns Ltd which, in recent times, made a failed attempt to establish a massive pulp mill in northern Tassie) and the current WA Premier, Colin Barnett. In cynical attempts to exploit the fact that these places are relatively unknown and out of sight, in the hope of misleading the general public, Gray described The Franklin River as a “leech ridden ditch” while Barnett has described the area proposed for the LNG Processing Plant (Walmadan/James Price Point) as “an unremarkable piece of coast.”

On a coincidental personal note, the two areas of Australia that have moved me most in my life are The Kimberley and the wilderness regions of Tasmania. They have profoundly moved me in a way that is impossible to do justice to in words. They have to be experienced. And it is perhaps not surprising that one of my earliest photographic idols was Tasmanian, Peter Dombrovskis, who, like his own mentor, Olegas Truchanas, FELT a profound connection to that wilderness. Both died in it – Olegas drowned in The Gordon River and Peter died while photographing in the Western Arthur Range in southwest Tasmania.

Apologies for the overly serious nature of this post but its taken hold of me while writing and I’m covered in goosebumps and close to tears at the thought/memory of/connection with these places. So I will continue a little while longer before returning to some long overdue absurdity…

I first visited Tasmania in 1989 as a then graduating high school student. While 95% of students headed to the Gold Coast for schoolies week, a group of ten of us headed south from Melbourne to spend ten days hiking The Overland Track in Tasmania. I fell in love with it almost immediately – a place of such grandeur and wildness, with virtually no sign of the heavy hand of man. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, with not a drop of alcohol or other illicit substances consumed – just nature, friends and our ability to carry our homes and food on our backs for ten days in one of the most wondrous and enchanted regions on the planet.

As for The Kimberley, I first visited that on a school excursion in 1987. A mad two week dash from Melbourne via Adelaide, up the guts to Uluru, on up to Katherine, through this incredibly Kimberley wilderness (and just like now, restricted to the main highways), and down the west coast to Perth where we boarded a plane to cross the Nullabor back to Melbourne. A mad mad rush, but absolutely wonderful. And the part that has always stuck most in my mind is The Kimberley. As with parts of Tasmania, it is extremely varied in terms of landscape and climate and there is a ‘space’ which allows one to breathe, to really relax, to give in and to experience a profound connection…to something far far far greater than any of us. These types of places MUST, MUST be saved.

Currently there is tourism in The Kimberley. And tourism, when done badly, can destroy wilderness and cultures (Kuta Beach, Bali; The Gold Coast, etc). But relative to mining, tourism is death by one million fine cuts; mining destroys with only a few jagged blows.

………

And let’s not forget the waste by-products. Check out the Wyndham tip, below. This, I’m guessing, is predominantly residential and small business, for a population of around 800.

White Man's Trash VI

Wyndham Tip I

White Man's Trash V

Wyndham Tip II

White Man's Trash IV

Wyndham Tip III

……………..

And now, back to funner times. Let’s return to The Bastion and Five Rivers Lookout, where I spent New Year’s Eve 2012. Five Rivers denotes, not surprisingly, the five rivers that flow into Cambridge Gulf: The Durack; The Pentecost; The King; The Ord; and The Forrest.

A view at dusk looking north over the mudflats, mangroves and mouth of The Ord river.

Overlooking Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

Overlooking Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

And another looking just slightly more north-easterly…

Dusk over Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

Dusk over Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

Looking south-west…

Storm I, Wyndham

Rain over The Gut, Cambridge Gulf, NYE 2012

…and west…

Dusk over Cambridge Gulf

Dusk over Cambridge Gulf, NYE 2012

…west again…

Storm III, Wyndham

Storm over Cambridge Gulf, NYE 2012

Storm IV, Wyndham

Lightning Strikes over Cambridge Gulf, 7.52 p.m. NYE 2012

A spectacular way to bring in the new year.

And now, for some other Wyndham bits…

Wyndham shop

Lee Tong Shop

Wyndham shop

Wyndham shop

Wyndham Pub

Wyndham Pub

Clouds,  Wyndham

Afternoon Clouds, Wyndham

Cloud formation over mudflats

Cloud formation over mudflats

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf I

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf, Wyndham

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf II

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf

Sunset over Cambridge Gulf III

And later that night, more beautiful storm clouds that look like brain matter…

Electrical Storm II, Wyndham

Internal Fire

Electrical Storm I, Wyndham

Neural Connectivity

But now, the bit I promised earlier that you’ve all been waiting for………drum roll, please…………………

Absurdity!!!!……..

Don’t let Colin do this to The Kimberley…

Colin's Five Rivers Estate

Colin’s Five Rivers Estate

Smug and smarmy Colin hard at work even on holidays – he’s just crunched some rubbery numbers and is now happy to present to you his Five Rivers Estate proposal. Don’t let him do it. Don’t buy into his pitch. He’s as sleazy and greasy as he looks!

And don’t let him do this either…

Grotto Estate I

Grotto Estate I

Construction already underway on The Grotto Estate – here, above, we see Colin (sensibly dressed  in his high visibility construction shirt and steel-capped construction workers’ boots – he’s clearly able to identify with the common man) offering us a piece of the wild pie. Note well, Colin is wearing his ‘Bright Ideas Man’ hardhat, highlighting his inspirational leadership.

And below, overlooking his, um, I mean ‘our’ Estate.

Grotto Estate II

Grotto Estate II

And well, he just couldn’t stop himself once he got going. This one says it all really – singing his, oh, again, what I really meant to say was ‘our’ praises.

Grotto Estate III

Grotto Estate III

That’s all folks. Thanks for listening. Do what you can. Bye for now,

Hunter G

p.s. Mining banned at Horizontal Falls, described by famed naturalist David Attenborough as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. These are located 110km north northeast of Derby in The Kimberley. Read an article about it here.

p.p.s  Worrorra Mob reject Mining! “Worrorra elders, who have native title over an area stretching from King Sound, near Derby, to Kuri Bay, 370 km north of Broome, voted last month to keep their country “clean, free and open”. They want to close the land to future mining projects and focus instead on tourism.” – excerpt from recent article ‘Battle to keep Kimberley wild, remote’ by Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor at The Australian newspaper.

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

Save Kimberley – Day of Solidarity – Pics Across the Globe

Hi guys and gals. Greetings from Coober Pedy, which I love more and more as each unplanned day passes.

But more importantly, check out these funny and moving pics from across the globe in support of last Sat’s Day of Solidarity in support of the brave Broome community who have been fighting Goliath for YEARS!! C/- the Broome Community No Gas Campaign

Save The Kimberley pls people. It really is one of the most profoundly moving areas I’ve EVER EVER visited in ALL my travels.

See you soon. Hittin’ the road North today for who knows where.

Happy Days,

Hunter G

The Truth – Hunter Found It!

Woo Hoo! I finally found The Truth. Forget The Big G (the other one, not me). Forget Science. Check out the Barrier Daily Truth. That’s where it’s at. And I found it. Woooooo Hoooooo!

Anyway, if ya want it, here it is – this went out to over 6000 individual folks who are on the union list! But more importantly, check out the Hungry Jacks deal! OMG am I glad that I got that article – otherwise wld never have seen that awesome HJ deal……But WTF!, I’ve just read the bloody fine-print abt the sausage and egg deal – ended on Oct 31. God I hate that – it’s like a false peak when u’r hiking. Bastards. Guess I’ll have to go the 2 whopper deal.

Ps btw,I’ve got this slight feelin’ that there are more peeps than just me fightin’ this campaign…but you can call me David from now on if ya like.

Hunter finds the TRUTH!

Hunter finds the TRUTH!

Save The Kimberley. Kimberley Campaigner.

Images and Text Copyright Hunter G, 2013 (except for he Barrier Daily Truth article) and available for sale (FREE for not-for-profit activities – so spread the word widely – just include a link to this blog). All profits from sales will be re-invested in Save The Kimberley activities.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION – ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT. Please ACT NOW

It’s seriously a disgrace what Woodside has just tried to do secretively. Please read on and do what you can. Thanks.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION – ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT…

OR ELSE THE WOODSIDE PROPOSAL COULD BE APPROVED BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT WITHIN WEEKS, before the Federal Environment Minister has even had a chance to consider whether or not to to approve the contentious Browse LNG Strategic Assessment.

C/- WILDERNESS SOCIETY…

We have just four days left to appeal Woodside’s sneaky plans to avoid
environmental assessment of the gas hub at James Price Point. Please make a
submission to tell the government “No assessment? No way!”

We were shocked to discover on Wednesday that the West Australian
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has secretively released a request
from Woodside for its gas plant at James Price Point to be exempt from
environmental assessment!

What’s worse, the EPA allowed just seven days for public feedback on this
request, so we must act quickly.

Make a submission to the government insisting that Woodside play by the
rules.

If Woodside’s application is granted, the project will receive ‘derived
proposal’ status and be allowed to bypass any environmental assessment –
meaning the gas hub could be approved by the state government within weeks, before the Federal Environment Minister has even had a chance to consider whether or not to to approve the contentious Browse LNG Strategic
Assessment.

This latest attempt to circumvent due process is typical of the collusion
and cynicism that has plagued the Kimberley gas hub proposal from the very
beginning. It’s crucial that we show Woodside and the West Australian
government that the Australian people won’t stand for it.

ACT TODAY:

1. Read this simple two-page summary as a guide to your submission.

2. Use this online form to make a submission to the EPA.

3. Share this message via email, on Facebook, or using Twitter.

Thanks so much for your support at this critical time,

The Kimberley Team.

A New World Beckons – Save The Kimberley

Hi folks,

This blog came to life due to an extremely ugly proposal by an extremely greedy and ugly-spirited man, WA Premier, Colin Barnett, and his main partner in crime, Woodside Petroleum. They plan to build Australia’s (and possibly The World’s) biggest LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) processing plant in one of the world’s last great remaining wilderness regions, The Kimberley, in far NW Australia.

But don’t worry, the blog won’t be full of hard-core political pieces – only an occasional rant. Mostly it will be a light-hearted and informative documentation of my crossing of this vast and ridiculously beautiful and varied country, Australia, from Melbourne in the SE to Broome, at the opposite corner in the NW. And here’s  a mud-map for the geographically-challenged amongst you….

Once in Broome I intend to do whatever I can to help out the courageous locals who have been fighting a very draining fight against their State Government and a huge Mutli-National Corporation for the last seven years.

So please join me on the trip and do whatever you can (however small) to help stop this disastrous proposal. Visit http://www.kimberleycampaigner.com for some simple ideas on how you can help stop this madness.

And in the meantime I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about….anything at all, really: Perhaps a response to something I post or maybe one of your random, long-lost epiphanies that suddenly reappear from the recesses of your vast and complicated mind. I’d love to hear them all as it can get a tad isolating out in the middle of a the second driest continent on Earth.

For those that would like a little more serious background before we set off on the adventure, read on below. And for those who start feeling sick in the stomach at the slightest thought of reading anything remotely serious or political, I suggest you skip to the next entry.

But before any of you go, I’d love your help naming my mighty van that is also my  mobile home for the coming months. Here he/she is

It’s a Toyota Town Ace, and boy will it be getting some out-of-town ace action, especially if I take the legendary Oodnadatta and Tanami Tracks as hoped. So far I’ve thought of Tony or Tina as in ‘Tony Town Ace’ or ‘Tina Town Ace’, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. And it’d be great to name my new mobile home soon as I’m actually already 10 days into the trip (won’t tell you where yet, you’ll have to come back) and wouldn’t want it to suffer an identity crisis like me (I went nameless for 6 months post birth….and some of you have seen how I’ve turned out).

So now, farewell to you sensitive folk. Hope to see you at my next post. Bye for now, Hunter G.

Ok, those of you still here for the heavier details, the following is an altered version of a short piece I recently wrote for the Abbotsford Convent newsletter.

‘All Roads Lead to Broome’

“Can you tell me how you would feel if the church you went to all your life, the church that you sang at with your parents, your grandparents, the church that your grandparents and your great-grandparents are buried at, how would you feel if that church was bulldozed and had a gas plant built on it? How would you feel about that because that’s exactly what’s happening to my friend Joseph.” … A question to Colin Barnett from Jon Butler Trio, a well-known music band. Joseph Roe is the Law Boss and custodian for the Northern Tradition and the Goolarabooloo people. Colin Barnett is the Premier of Western Australia.

Shortly, Hunter G will be rolling across our country searching for forgotten things from lost worlds. Cutting a diagonal path across this vast continent, Hunter is ultimately bound for Broome, in Western Australia.

Why Broome? Because it’s just north of there that Woodside Petroleum is planning to build Australia’s biggest ever Gas Processing Plant, equivalent in size to 21 Melbourne CBDs. The exact site, Walmadan (a.k.a. James Price Point), is in the SW of the incredible Kimberley region, a vast wilderness rich in many things, but to the financially powerful with an insatiable appetite, rich in the most prized possessions of all – fossil fuels and minerals.

There are hundreds of sites dotted around The Kimberley that have been earmarked as potentially lucrative in this manner. Woodside’s proposed development at Walmadan is only one of them, but it is a big one, a very big one. It is expected to bring in 6000 – 8000 workers to process LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and will play a very significant and, in a growing number of peoples’ minds, devastating role in the continued industrialisation of the relatively untouched Kimberley.

For anyone who has not been to The Kimberley, it is impossible to accurately describe its beauty and significance. If this project goes ahead it will destroy Broome as we know it within a very, very short time and in perhaps three decades will devastate the entire Kimberley region due to various flow-on effects. Simply on an environmental level, it is extremely important to protect this region from industrialisation. It is one of the last great remaining wilderness regions in the world and there are many alternative options with respect to building a gas processing plant.

A protest movement has been building over the last 7 years to try to stop this development. In recent months the protests have grown more rapidly as the deadline draws near (Woodside is expected to make a final decision in the first six months of 2013). The protest is about so much more than the already significant environmental concerns. It is about the devastating long-term impacts on the social, cultural and spiritual fabric of the region. If this plant goes ahead it WILL lead to the opening up of more and more areas of The Kimberley to the destructive impact of industrialisation, particularly due to the seaport which is part of this current proposal and which would create huge incentive for other developments due to the export opportunities and cost savings resulting from a pre-existing port.

Saving The Kimberley is bigger even than the Tasmanian Franklin river campaign 30 years ago. Both areas are relatively out of sight and out of mind to mainstream Australia due to their remote locations. And as a direct result, both were opportunistically described by their respective State Premiers in very unflattering and misleading terms: Colin Barnett described the relevant Kimberley coastline as “an unremarkable piece of coastline.”; and the former Tasmanian Premier, Robin Gray (if my memory serves me correctly), described the incredibly beautiful and dramatic Franklin River as nothing but “a leech-ridden ditch.”

But we can all take great hope from the Franklin protest campaign (people of my vintage and older may remember the triangular green ‘No Dams’ stickers. I was 12 at the time.) and the more recent great examples of community protest over many years such as the one that lasted about nine years but saved the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne and created a public arts precinct instead of a private apartment development.

Please do anything and everything you can to stop this current bout of madness from leading to the destruction of one of the most significant areas of wilderness in the world. Visit http://www.savethekimberley.com/ or The Wilderness Society’s dedicated site, http://www.kimberleycampaigner.com/about/history/ for some background info and simple ideas on how you can help. Please help save this priceless gem.

Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy the journey. Thanks and bye for now, Hunter G. xo