Recently I made my first visit to the Woko National Park near Gloucester, New South Wales. I was tagging along with the Upper Hunter branch of the National Parks Association, which I’ve joined. The camp site was perfect, flat and grassy and right beside the clear and fast flowing headwaters of the Manning River. You […]

This piece was probably one of my first non-fiction articles. Sadly, it remains as true now as when I wrote it, despite our knowledge of the pollutants in those coal power station emissions. Seeing is believing, right? As old-fashioned sceptics used to point out, however neat a theory might be, it was still debatable, whereas […]

The weathered sandstone cliffs by the Goulburn River offer shelter to a variety of creatures. Those who aren’t winged must like easy access; I fancied these caves had steps — foot and hand holds — cut into the face below. Closer to ground level, smaller winged creatures — like native bees? or? — had chosen […]

As the gas leaks and bubbles, and the contaminants creep into the falling water sources and the salt accumulates, as people itch at strange rashes, hold their heads with strange aches, or their stomachs with strange nausea attacks, and worry if they are drinking cancer-causing chemicals from the fracturing process or breathing them in from the gas flares — […]

A storm-bent early morning, when pewter clouds fill the western horizon and no scrap of blue to be seen. The sun climbs over my eastern treeline and switches on the spotlight, and the contrast between the suddenly vivid green moptops of the gum trees and that heavy background sky sends me running for the camera. […]

Up near Capella, north of Emerald in Queensland, cattle farmers Mick and Margaret Shaw took on the Kestrel mine, objecting to Pacific Coal (Rio Tinto) wanting surface rights to mine under part of their mining lease, which extends over a fifth of the Shaws’ cattle property.  They had seen the results of longwall mining under a […]

The once-rural Hunter Valley baked in the early February heatwave, but not under blue skies. The many and expanding open cut coal mines in Singleton and Muswellbrook Shires made sure of that. This was what the air quality looked like on Friday 4th February. On the Tuesday before, the 1st February, the averaged PM 10 […]

As central Queensland floods, I am hearing much in the media about the economic damage to the coal mines there, but not what those mines are contaminating as the floods surge through them. Or as the exposed coal stockpiles at every mine, rail loader and port loader wash into the floods.  When the town of Theodore […]

I always hate leaving my mountain, but I especially hate it when my destination forces me to drive through the Hunter Valley between Singleton and Muswellbrook. Each time I carefully consider which route will be the least distressing, with the least overwhelming views of the open cut coal mines that are almost continuous in this […]

After 120 years as a town, Acland, only 35 km north of the city of Toowoomba in Queensland, has lost its community and services, almost all its houses and almost all its people. It’s down to one landowner, Glenn Beutel, and the tenants to whom he has leased the old bakery building for the last […]

If you became homeless because your house was being demolished, obviously you’d have to find a new home to live in. It’s no different for other animals; we all need shelter, a home, habitat. However, I suppose we wouldn’t be allowed to choose the amenities block or the bandstand in a public park, let alone […]

If the Galilee Basin in central-west Queensland sounds biblical, the scale of the threat facing it is certainly of epic proportions. The coal underneath it has always been there, but cattle and drovers, not coal mines and drillers, have dominated the land. If you’re listening to the Queensland Government or the mining industry they’d use words like […]

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