Tag Archives: wilderness society

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)

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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.