Salvation Sunday at Anvil Hill

Several hundred people from all over NSW had made their way to the property near Anvil Hill by Saturday’s nightfall. Faces by firelight, beanie-topped, scarf-swathed, hard to recognise. Wood smoke and cooking smells – the Hare Krishnas’ curry competing with the steak sandwiches.

Music and talk with passionate folk from Canberra to Byron Bay: the mood is optimistic. We CAN save Anvil Hill!

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Next morning is foggy, the hundreds of small dome tents like brightly coloured fungi emerging from the grey ground cover of sticks and bark, where the vicious tiger pear leaves await the unwary. Some try to migrate, hitch a ride on my tyres.

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As the fog lifts and the sun warms our bodies, hundreds more people arrive, in vans and cars and buses big and small. Their blue-clad numbers warm our hearts.

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They range from the very old to the very young, lots of families. I am impressed that 13-year-old Sam came off his own bat, getting his grandma to bring him out.
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For a moment I think even David Suzuki has come – but it’s only his Caucasian double.

As we listen to the speakers, hear of the damage done elsewhere by coalmines, of what it will mean to locals here – let alone to the planet – I feel like crying.

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Then we traipse out to the open paddock where we are to form the message “Save Anvil Hill’. Greenpeace helpers have marked out the letters to scale with blue corflutes reading ‘I love clean energy and I vote’. Sam and I are lucky to get on ‘S’!

I put away the camera and sit on the corflute while I can– this ground is hard and dry – and tiger-dangerous.

The helicopter approaches; the little kids go wild. We crouch, holding our corflutes above our heads; then we wave them; then we just wave. The helicopter makes many passes.

I am getting stiff, but feel great. There is a strange passive intensity in us all. It’s a different way of protesting — silent but for the helicopter.

Afterwards we feel as if we have done something worthwhile together, strangers linked by bits of blue clothing and a common concern for our earth.

Whether the Minister for Planning gets the message is another matter, but we have done our best, on a grand scale, to beg for the salvation of Anvil Hill.

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