…and away we go again. Some more things I saw.
Above – the section from Wyndham to Halls Creek. Below – the overall Kimberley Region.
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.
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 near Broome. And we could all come and take souvenir pics of ourselves, dwarfed by…..THIS… PROCESSING PLANT
…the proposed gas hub overlaid on a map of 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
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.”
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 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 , 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.
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’.
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.
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.
The greeny-yellow grasses, above, are prolific at this time of year.
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.
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…)
Ooooooooh, now this mountain, below, looks like it’s full of something USEFUL.
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.
Kimberley Metals Group’s ‘Ridge Mine’, below, is the source point for the ore we saw at the loading yard in Wyndham.
Dust covers the area for kilometres around and follows the roadtrains wherever they go.
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.
Or instead, we could choose to retain the following…
TERMITES!!! You Funky Fellas! What a damn fine effort.
And here’s David with a few words to say about termites…
…and now back on the human highway again…
And now we arrive at one of the WA Main Roads’ STOCKPILES, left for our enjoyment at random roadside locations.
‘Mmmmm, Rockpile 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).
Bowing at the foot of THE PILE!…
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…
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….
Ohhhhhh, Yeeeeaaahhhhhh! Termite Mounds, YOU ABSOLUTELY ROCK!!!!!….
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!
Or, we could…just leave it be, like…
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.
The night before ‘Sunrise’, above, Santa reigned over the mountains, not wanting to give up his festive robes just yet…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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’…
‘Mmmm, beautiful sweeping highway under a stormy sky…leading to this…
Names for the above/below – Anyone? Anyone?… Buel…
…about 6 cm long…
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.
I.Kid.You.Not. – this is how it looked. One incredible combo of sunset, rocks, eucalypts and storm.
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…
Above, 30 seconds. Below, 65 minutes.
Or, we could, (all together now, I think you’ve picked up on the pattern)……..CHOOSE TO HAVE MORE OF THIS INSTEAD…
The perfect combo: a roadtrain full of tyres for Humungous Mining Trucks.
And they’re great with kids too. Real friendly-like…
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).
Ok, that’s all folks. Thanks for staying with me. And don’t forget … SAVE THE KIMBERLEY…
…and those links one more time:
Wilderness Society’s Kimberley Link – background info and simple ideas on how to help
bye for now,
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.