Al fresco loo

The sun on your knees, a view of birds and bush… who’d want an indoor loo? This sketch and extract is from The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 14, ‘The Simple Life’.

‘Contrary to popular mythology, the simple life is not found in the country but in the city, where you simply pay your bills and press a button for everything you need, and you don’t have to know how any of it works or be able to fix it yourself.

‘My next self-sufficient system is sanitation. I have what is called a ‘long drop’, a big hole in the ground with my old jail’s lidded seat over it and a shelter shed over that. It was originally a metre-cubed hole, dug into bedrock with pick and crowbar in 1978. I’d assumed it would last a few years, but it’s still going. Beside the seat is a lidded enamel canister which officially says SUGAR, but as nobody takes tea there I think it’s safe from confusion with my Texta-scrawled LIME. A sprinkle of the latter now and then is enough to keep the material breaking down, while an evaporation pipe dries it out and reduces the volume.

I always thought I’d build a dry composting toilet one day, but the only real difference from my current one would be that I’d get to use the resulting compost.

A few overly civilised visitors have had difficulty using my sanitation arrangements. I’ve never asked whether this was from the dark pit yawning beneath them or the idea of communal storage, but the ensuing psychosomatic constipation was real. They couldn’t wait — or rather, they could — to get back to a proper flushing loo. I feel sorry for them, so unable to accept that they’re part of the animal world, with the same basic processes necessary for survival. They were possibly also uncomfortable without a door to shut, but the toilet faces away from the house, and they wouldn’t see the birds and trees otherwise.

Having grown up with a pan toilet — a far-too-short drop — I consider mine quite manageably distant and salubrious. That toilet, complete with harsh and unabsorbent newspaper squares impaled on a large nail, was dark and spider-scary because it wasn’t done to leave the door open; and smelly, often maggoty, because it was never emptied soon enough. When Dad worked away from home for a month once, Mum and I had to do it, and I understood why he’d kept putting it off. But that first row of orange trees, in the burial range, had the glossiest, greenest leaves, and the biggest, juiciest fruit, of all the trees in the orchard.

The disadvantage of my toilet is that it’s a fair hike up the hill when you’re in a hurry or it’s raining. If the pit ever does fill up, I’ll build the new toilet on the flat, still outdoors, perhaps reached by a covered walkway. And I’ll plant an orange tree on the old site.

I have copies of The Woman on the Mountain which you can buy at a special price here.

Woman at work

This drawing was meant for Chapter 12 of The Woman the Mountain, ‘While the woman’s away…’ which is mainly about the wildlife moving in and taking over when I wasn’t there.

Here’s the relevant extract about one of the ultimately futile attempts to keep them out…

When the rain finally stopped, I began fortifying the fence against the wallabies, slowly and erratically, depending on when I could afford another roll of chickenwire. As I clipped it on to the old hingelock netting, I was forced to get up close and personal to the past.

I’d erected this house fence ten years ago, when I came back to live here. My dream had included a large garden in the midst of the regenerating bush and its abundant — and voracious — wildlife. That required a netting fence. As my partner was already engrossed in his creative and income-earning pursuits — absolutely single-mindedly, as many men can be — I did most of it myself. I dug the holes and tamped around the wooden posts with the head of the crowbar, which isn’t easy to do on your own and still have the heavy posts end up roughly vertical. A fair bit of boomps-a-daisy balancing was needed.

In between the wooden posts I banged in the steel star posts with my wonderful ‘putter-inner’, a heavy iron cylinder, closed at one end, that a friend had welded up for me. The shop ones, called post-drivers, have handles, and I suppose they are all bought by weak women — Real Men use iron mallets that I can barely lift off the ground, let alone above my head.

And I’m no weakling, despite being small. But some jobs don’t only depend on strength. They’re just bloody impossible without the right tool — like my ‘puller-outer’, a shop-bought manual post-lifter, which makes removing star posts and tomato stakes amazingly easy, and which, I suspect, even Real Men might use.

These are the sort of tools I love: dead simple and very effective, requiring neither mechanical knowledge nor great strength, needing no manual, using no fuel, hiding no spark plugs, able to be forgotten and left out in the rain without damage, enabling little me to do heavy work. In fact they’re the sort of old-fashioned items that are usually discontinued nowadays — too simple, too enduring, a one-off purchase that brings no economic and ongoing joy to anyone but the buyer. What a useless thing to keep manufacturing!

Posts all in, my partner strained up several strands of plain wire for me to attach the hingelock to, as I can’t seem to get into my head how to set the chains and teeth of my fence strainer so it works. Or perhaps I’m just scared of the way it bites and snaps and strains almost to breaking point.

Then I unrolled the old hingelock netting, relic of my first dream of a bush life seventeen years previously. My then husband and I had fenced in several large areas for vegetable gardens, since we thought we’d grow fancy foods like globe artichokes and asparagus — and back in the 1970s these were fancy, rarely seen in shops. After the marriage broke up, so did the fences, only more slowly.

I have copies of The Woman on the Mountain which you can buy at a special price here.

Wet school days

Few modern parents would allow their children to take the risks that I frequently did to get to school in weather; well, perhaps they still would in the country…

From The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 13: Wet and Wild

By the time I was thirteen I was used to our farm creek flooding, when I had to wade barefoot through knee- to thigh-deep water that covered the lower parts of our track and the road to the bus stop, half a mile away. My school shoes and stockings and a little towel were in my Globite school case, balanced on my head with one hand, the other keeping my tunic tucked up into my navy bloomers.

There was first the hurdle of our rickety wooden bridge, which lost at least one of its round logs each flood, the gap hidden beneath milky brown rushing water. It was a matter of inching forward, feeling with my toes for the gap that might drop me through to certain drowning, as the creek was full of bobbing and whirling branches and logs — more than a match for my feeble dogpaddle.

The farmer’s wife at the house next to the bus stop always let me get dressed on her verandah. I’d dry my cold legs and red feet, still tingling from walking on the sharp gravel of the road, and put on my black cotton stockings. Later in this particular flood school morning, I was commanded to the blackboard by the formidable Sister Augustine. I had passed up the aisle between the desks and was halfway across the open space of lino before the blackboard, when Sister’s sharp Irish voice rang out in the slow-rising-then-fast-falling rhythm she used for my name when I was about to get into trouble: ‘Sha-a-a…ryn Munro! What on earth is that?’ pointing at the floor near my feet.

Everybody stared at a trail of dark red spots that led from my desk to where I stood and where the spots were forming a small pool of what appeared to be blood. This blood was coming from somewhere up under my tunic, and given that menstruation was in the offing for all of us, she could have been more tactful. I was so ignorant it didn’t occur to me, or I’d have been even more embarrassed.

I was publicly commanded to go and find out what the trouble was. As I slunk out the door, she called, ‘Well at least there’s nothing the matter with your blood; it’s a lovely rich red!’ (She also taught biology — and geography, as it was a very small school.) In the toilets I rushed to unclip my suspenders and pull down my stockings. Out rolled a fat, gorged leech, its puncture mark on my thigh, just above where the stockings ended, still steadily oozing blood. It must have been there for hours, as it was now nearly eleven o’clock.

On my return I explained what the cause was, which drew not much more than a general ‘Ugh!’ from the class and a ‘Really!’ from my teacher, who gave me a bandaid and sent me to fetch a mop and bucket to clean up the blood. I had the distinct feeling that I had displayed something too basic, peasant-like, for my superior town classmates.

And I still shudder at leeches!

I have copies of The Woman on the Mountain which you can buy at a special price here.

Jail baby

This sketch was intended for Chapter two: ‘Getting out of jail’, of The Woman on the Mountain. We lived here, in a village of 200 people, for 10 years before we went bush; both my children were born while here.

‘It would be hard to imagine a more extreme downsizing to a 3 x 4-metre tent than from the grand complex that locals simply called ‘the old jail’. Built in the late nineteenth century, it encompassed courthouse, police station, three-cell jail and exercise courtyard, plus the residence, with accommodation for a special constable tacked on later. Not to forget the back-to-back outdoor double toilet — the most imposing proverbial ‘brick shithouse’ imaginable.

‘Grand.

‘There was a separate kitchen/dining room building, as was the safety custom in the days of wood-fuelled cooking, linked to the main house by a breezeway. The latter also led to the heavy iron door, complete with spy hatch and massive iron bolt, accessing the jail courtyard, open to the sky except for iron bars, and thence to the cells. These had similar iron doors — creak of rust, clang of finality — no getting out of there.

‘Atmospheric.

‘… A few pot plants and hanging baskets turned the exercise yard into a pleasantly sunny, protected courtyard, accessible also from the lounge room via an iron-barred door.

‘I’d had to promise not to get pregnant until we’d repaid the loan for the total purchase amount of $6000 (truly!) and even that loan was only possible through personal string-pulling by my in-laws. In the 1960s a wife’s income was not taken into account and women could not borrow. The Pill had arrived, but if bank managers knew about it, they weren’t letting on.’

That antique cane pram in which my babies basked in the exercise yard was a family heirloom that I desecrated by painting bright orange. 

‘Here I feel obliged also to confess that I painted a beautiful, borrowed, antique cane bassinet and stand with gloss enamel ‘Aquarius Green’, a rather acidic lime. It was the era of the musical Hair, ‘the dawning of the age of Aquarius’, plus that’s my star sign — but neither seems a worthy excuse in retrospect.’

I have copies of The Woman on the Mountain which you can buy at a special price here.

Mountain moments

When I wrote my first book, The Woman on the Mountain, I originally intended to illustrate it. After all, if Gerald Durrell could have illustrations in books for adults, why couldn’t I? In the end, the book having grown longer, we decided not to use the pen and ink drawings.

I still have scans of them, and as I hate waste, I’ve decided to share some of them with my blog readers, accompanied by relevant extracts from their chapters.

This one was meant for Chapter 3 – ‘Close to the elements’, as we certainly were, living as we did for fifteen months in a small secondhand tent. Except for wet weather, we really only slept there; all the real living space was outside. 

‘Yet despite the extremes dealt by the elements, that first year here, living mainly outdoors, remains the happiest of my life.’

My three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son loved it… and so did I.

‘For dining, under the spreading arms of a white mahogany tree we had set up a card table and canvas director’s chairs, with holes dug in the ground for the uphill chair legs so diners didn’t roll down the slope when eating, as several unwary visitors had done. As they were a little tipsy at the time, they rolled easily and didn’t hurt themselves, although the sight was so funny that the sides of the callous and equally tipsy spectators ached for some time.

‘Our chosen clearing had appeared to be a gentle slope but actually was relentlessly unflat, as each small area that needed to be level soon proved. Everywhere involved walking uphill, to or from, and we got very fit, especially carrying buckets of water up the steep incline from the spring. That was excellent for deportment too; only my straightest back would keep the buckets from bumping into the slope ahead and spilling.

‘My cooktop was an old fridge rack balanced on four rocks, my cooking equipment was disposal store cast iron — camp oven, frying pan and saucepan — and one heavy soup pot. From our Merriwa camping weekends I’d developed quite a collection of recipes for one-pot or one-pan dishes. For those weekends I used to cheat a little to compensate for the absence of bench space, like making the dough and rolling the balls for chapatis at home, in which form they’d happily sit until I was ready to flatten them and cook over the fire to accompany the Saturday night curry. Now I had the luxury of the card table as a bench.

‘The camp oven, buried in hot ashes and coals, worked well, but I could only bake one thing at a time in it. We bought a rusty fuel stove for $10 and set it up close to the big tree above the ‘kitchen’.

‘The first time I used it I wrote (in my diary): 

Took a long time for oven to heat up but finally cooked pitta, pumpkin pie and two veg. strudels in it. Flue melted its joins and blew off.

‘Here’s another baking morning.

Lit fuel stove — baked cookies first, then two loaves bread, then prune loaf, then Rieska [quick rye bread for lunch]. Used top to warm yoghurt, de-candy honey, cook chickpeas, etc. All done by 12.30. We got sand and rocks for last trench. Finished that by evening.

‘Was that me, that so-organised, energetic young woman? Where did she go?’

I have copies of The Woman on the Mountain which you can buy at a special price here.

Tasmanians awake

I’m not a ‘good flyer’, but once the panic at takeoff subsides, I am always agog at the fantastic cloud landscapes we pass, like these escarpments and plains and scudding ‘sheep’.

I’m glad to be home but the Tassie tour was well worthwhile. My ‘Rich Land, Wasteland’ talks to audiences in Cygnet, Hobart, Burnie and Launceston, combined with screenings of the eye-opening ‘Bimblebox’ documentary, left me both concerned and encouraged. 

Concerned at the lack of awareness in the community, even amongst what were mainly environmentally aware people, that the resources rush was not confined to the mainland— or to the Tarkine here. 

For example, it was a shock for folk to learn that New Hope Coal, who calculatedly emptied and ‘erased’ the Queensland town of Acland in advance of their open cut coalmine expansion, plan a coal-to-liquids (CTL) process for the low quality coal at their Rosevale and York Plains exploration leases.  

Acland’s tragic demise is vividly shown in the film and depicted in my book, as is the Felton community’s fight against a similar dirty CTL petrochemical plant in their valley. They won, by the way.

Other larger companies, like the BG Group, (British Gas) have CSG interests here, and audiences were shocked at the map we displayed of Tasmania’s substantial CSG resources.

But I was encouraged that people took the information on board and could see that Tasmanians are well placed to use their people power to safeguard their regions before the juggernaut starts getting up momentum here. 

The Lockthegate Alliance and the planned CSG-Free (or whatever-free) Communities process are achieving great results in NSW against inappropriate mining and drilling. The Lockthegate site is full of very useful factsheets and links.

  
Victorians have woken up to the threats to their agriculture and tourism, their water sources and their lifestyles, and are rapidly forming groups.

I hope to see lots of yellow Lock the Gate triangles when I return to Tassie.

tasmania-tour-2I was based in Hobart, a stunningly located and perfectly-sized city, in my opinion, and spoke once more at the terrific Hobart Bookshop in Salamanca Place, where Chris Pearce continues the best traditions of small bookshops. Long may such treasures for booklovers remain.

Photo at Hobart Book Shop talk by Ralph Wessman of Walleah Press.

I did get to briefly see parts of Tasmania that I hadn’t on my quick 2010 trip. One was the beautiful Huon Valley, full of laden apple trees and proflifc waterways, when I went to the charming village of Cygnet.

And the north, past Devonport for the first time, when I drove up to Burnie to speak at the very modern University of Tasmania campus there. The Tasmanian Greens organised the talk (as they did several others), and Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson introduced me. Then and in our question time he spoke very well, realistic, level-headed and informed.

People here and in Launceston relate to much in my book and the film, having spent years fighting the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill. The battles against corporations and inappropriate and inadequately researched projects are sadly similar, with community divisions and personal health impacts. But they won that battle!

tasmania-tour-3

The joke used to be that Burnie was ‘Where the forests meet the sea – as woodchips’.  It was strange to see woodchip stockpiles and loaders on the docks rather than coal stockpiles.

Burnie reminded me of Wollongong and Port Kembla, with industry on a narrow strip between the sea and the high backing range.

From Burnie I took the old Penguin Road to head to Launceston for the Sawtooth Gallery’s Document://Bimblebox exhibition.

tasmania-tour-4

This road hugs the coast, closely shadowed by the rail line, and passes through the quaint town of Penguin. It’s gone a bit over the top with the fake penguins and penguin-linked shop names — even the rubbish bins are supported by ring-a-rosy penguins — but it did have a very cute church. Mind you, I wouldn’t have been suprised to see a penguin atop the steeple.

The route took me via Ulverstone and the rich farming lands beyond, where I was interested to see rolling paddocks of pyrethrum and learn of the poppy industry. There was a touch of Kiama and the NSW south coast here. It’s rich and productive and popular.

tasmania-tour-5Launceston was an unexpected treat, full of gracious old buildings and good restaurants. I met up with Queensland friend Liz Mahood, who was showing in the ‘Documentary://Bimblebox’ exhibition at the Sawtooth ARI Gallery here. Liz also wrote and recorded a moving song, titled (I think) ‘Waiting for the air to clear’, from her Bimblebox artists’ camp time, and it was being played in the Gallery when I was there.

Photo courtesy of Jill Sampson, one of the artists in the Document:// Bimblebox exhibition, at the Sawtooth Gallery in Launceston until 27th April.

Woman off the Mountain

Just before I left my mountain, this beautifully fat and glossy Red-bellied Black snake  came to say goodbye and bon voyage. By the time I get back from these Tassie talks, he could well be asleep in one of his many hidey holes.

When I first got here it was warmer than my wardrobe planning had anticipated, but it soon regained that freshness and call for cardigans that I’d expected. The grassy hills around Hobart are brown, a visual surprise after the eye-aching greens of Bellingen, where I’d just been.

The first Bimblebox documentary screening was held the very night I flew in (Wednesday 27th) at the State Cinema in Hobart, hosted by the Tasmanian Greens. About 60 people came to this most civilised theatre complex (you can take your drinks in!) to see the film and hear from Greens Candidate Helen Burnet, myself and Scott Jordan from the Tarkine National Coalition.

These locals could both see the relevance to Tasmania’s issues of the coal and gas avalanche in Queensland and NSW covered by Bimblebox. I was very impressed with the articulate and well-informed Scott, and I am now hoping to get to the Tarkine when I go up to speak at Burnie (April 5th). I need to have an overview of the area in my mind, not just the rainforest images, as I am well aware it is not homogenous.

Meredith-Range-480

Meredith Range, the Tarkine. Photo by Rob Blakers

We have now seen the effectiveness of the direct action campaigns in NSW, of people power, with four gas companies suspending operations and share prices dropping; the industry is saying that only companies also with gas projects in Queensland, where CSG is more advanced and Lock the Gate less so, are likely to survive.

Tasmania is not yet overwhelmed by these extractive industries. Every battle tactic needs to be used, from legal challenges to corporate embarrassment, but I think that the Tarkine, before the first major projects start revving up, is the perfect time and place to mount similar delaying campaigns. If it’s worth conserving, as the Heritage Commission recommended, it’s worth fighting for. Echoes of the Franklin?

Speaking to folk afterwards, they also see the correlation between what they saw in the film and clearfelling. I had sensed this solastalgia potential in my Tassie research visit in 2010: ‘the equivalent large-scale corporate threat to people’s lives and lifestyles was not the coal rush coming over the hill but the tree-clearing rush’. (Rich Land, Wasteland, Chapter 14)

Even to the point of suicide, one doctor told me.

But coal and gas have not forgotten Tasmania. For example, near quaint FIngal, adjacent to historic miners of the Duncan seam, Cornwall Coal, there are newcomers, Hardrock Coal Mining proposing new underground mines with new techniques, and it is also where the BG Group holds CSG exploration leases, bought from Pure Energy, pioneers of this here.

Meanwhile I have more talks and Bimblebox events ahead, so the issues are getting a good airing down here:

bimblebox-show-flyer

Wednesday 3rd April: 7pm
The Supper Room, Cygnet Town Hall
?Bimblebox screening and talk by me.

Thursday 4th April: 5:30pm 
Hobart Bookshop, 
22 Salamanca Square, Hobart
?Book talk by me
?Phone (03) 6223 1804

Friday 5th April: 6pm
University of Tasmania, Burnie?.
Introduction by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, talk by me, Bimblebox screening?
Admission $5 (donations welcome)?Phone (03) 6331 0033

5th—27th April: 
Sawtooth Gallery,
160 Cimitiere Street, Launceston.
?Exhibition ‘Document://Bimblebox’ of artwork influenced by the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.?
Gallery hours 12-5pm Wednesday—Friday, 12—4pm Saturday.

Sunday 7th April 11am:
Sawtooth Gallery, Launceston
?Introduction by Kim Booth MP, talk by me, Bimblebox screening?
Admission $5 (donations welcome)?Phone (03) 6336 2294

Tassie tour

Mount Lindsay in the Tarkine — threatened by mining. Photo: Rob Blakers. Mount Lindsay in the Tarkine — threatened by mining. Photo: Rob Blakers.

On 27th March I’m flying to Hobart to begin a series of talks on the runaway resources boom, whatever that moneymaker might be: coal, gas, iron ore or…?

Let’s dig it all up and see what we can get for it.

Damage? What damage? Most unlikely! Anyway, we’ll fix it all up afterwards, good as new.

I’m taking the Bimblebox documentary to Tassie on behalf of Paola and the Bimblebox team, since neither they nor I believe these industries can ‘fix’ it and we don’t think they ought to be allowed to begin the damage, to the regions or the planet.

I’ll be talking about the film and the whole issue, especially as is beginning to be played out in Tasmania. The Tarkine isn’t all they have to be worrried about.

The Huskisson River in a current mining lease. Photo: Rob Blakers. The Huskisson River in a current mining lease. Photo: Rob Blakers.

Where and when:

Wednesday 27th March 8:30pm: State Cinema, Hobart
Introduction by Senate Greens Candidate Helen Burnet, Bimblebox screening, talk by Sharyn, and by Scott Jordan of the Tarkine National Coalition
Tickets $10.
Book online
Phone (03) 6238 2936

Wednesday 3rd April: 7pm the Supper Room, Cygnet Town Hall
Bimblebox screening and talk.

Thursday 4th April: 5:30pm Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square, Hobart
Talk by Sharyn
Phone (03) 6223 1804

Friday 5th April: 6pm University of Tasmania, Burnie
Introduction by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, talk by Sharyn, Bimblebox screening
Admission $5 (donations welcome)
Book online
Phone (03) 6331 0033

5th—27th April: Sawtooth Gallery, 160 Cimitiere Stree, Launceston.
Exhibition ‘Document://Bimblebox’ of artwork influenced by the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.
Gallery hours 12-5pm Wednesday—Friday, 12—4pm Saturday.

Sunday 7th April 11am: Sawtooth Gallery, Launceston
Introduction by Kim Booth MP, talk by Sharyn, Bimblebox screening
Admission $5 (donations welcome)
Phone (03) 6336 2294

Women warriors at Woodford

Over 2012, Paola Cassoni and I have worked together to use her Bimblebox film and my Rich Land, Wasteland book as our tools to raise awareness, to shock Australians into action.

Wherever I speak, if I am allowed, I have the Bimblebox DVDs for sale.

For background. see my recent Bimblebox posts:

Beyond Coal and Gas

Bimblebox and beyond

Short way to speak up for Nature

Our next gig is at the Woodford Folk Festival (27th December—1st January). Bimblebox will be showing there at 9pm in the Greenhouse on the very first night. The festival website is here.

cowpat

This is my emblematic Bimblebox photo: a bimblebox tree leaf plunk in the middle of a cowpat, taken when I visited there in August.

The property is an ongoing research centre into ways of managing cattle and conservation without clearing precious and poorly represented bushland. They can coexist.

Opencut coalmining and conservation can’t — Clive and Campbell take note!

Paola and I will both be helping out on the LocktheGate stall (near the Greenhouse) and also available to chat at RocktheGate each evening: Paola from 4—5 and me from 6—7.

I’m told it can be really hot and/or really wet, or unseasonably cold, so I’m packing gumboots, sunscreen and a beanie. 

Hope lots of you come by and say hello, in between listening and dancing and doing at the fabulous events lined up for the Festival this year.  I’m looking forward to ‘dancing that coal right outta my hair’!! 

If not, have a safe and happy holiday season.

Beyond Coal and Gas

In a few weeks I’m heading back up to Queensland, to revisit some of the places in my Rich Land, Wasteland book, as in the chapter ‘Dark times in the sunshine state’ and others.

The catalyst was that I’ve been invited to speak at the Beyond Coal and Gas Forum, which will be held in the almost ex-village of Louisa Creek, just south of Mackay. It’s right beside the Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal stockpiles and loaders, and is threatened by a proposed stockpile in the village itself.

The idea behind the get-together is ‘Uniting communities affected by the boom’. And boy, do they need to help each other under an even more pro-dig and drill-it-all-up government than Anna’s, if that’s possible.

“We have brought together a range of voices to help communities and landholders overcome the steep learning curve that is necessary when coal and gas companies decide to set up shop in their region”, said event organiser, Ms Ellie Smith.

The other speakers include three people, Jo-anne, Maria and Patricia, who are in the book…

  • Jo-Anne Bragg, Principal Solicitor of the Environmental Defenders Office in Queensland (who’ve just had their funding cut!);
  • Dr Gavin Mudd — Monash University: Coal and gas mining impacts on ground and surface water;
  • Mark Ogge — The Australia Institute: The economic impacts of the coal and gas boom and renewable energy alternatives for Central Queensland;
  • Sarah Moles — Lock the Gate Alliance: Key lessons from the Lock the Gate movement in Queensland;
  • Maria MacDonald — Bowen resident and health professional: Health impacts of coal including dust and noise pollution;
  • Jaquie Sheils — GBR Marine Biologist: Threats to the Great Barrier Reef from the coal and gas boom; and
  • Patricia Julien — Mackay Conservation Group: Overview of the extent and impacts of coal expansion in Central Queensland.

“We’re inviting people from all over regional Queensland to come together to learn and share strategies for protecting our land, our water, our reef and all their associated industries. We will look beyond coal and gas to strategies that will build a more secure future”, said Ellie.

WHEN: 9am Saturday 28th July until 4pm Sunday 29 July 2012

WHERE: Louisa Creek Community Centre, Hay Point, South of Mackay

TO REGISTER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the forum website or contact forum coordinator Ellie Smith at the Mackay Conservation Group on (07) 4953 0808

Personally, I’m looking for inspiration and possible solutions as well as to catch up with many of the people who shared their stories in the book, like Louisa Creek local Betty Hobbs, Paul Murphy, Paola Cassoni, and Avriel and LIndsay Tyson.

Afterwards I’m visiting Bimblebox and giving talks around the regions en route to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast — details later!

Visit the forum Facebook page

Book boom

Things are snowballing with the Rich Land, Wasteland coal book. One amazing lady has just bought 100 books to send to politicians whom she feels simply must read it to know what they are doing to us.

Bacchus Marsh and Inverloch here in Victoria are yet more unthinkable regions for mining/gas to be proposed.

When I get back from Victoria, I’m heading over to the mid-north coast for several talks before nipping down to Parramatta. Maybe some of you can make one, so just in case here are the details:

?Wednesday 27 June
Gloucester? 7pm Senior Citizens Centre
?30 Hume Street
Contact: Email Di Montague

??Thursday 28 June
Kendall—Laurieton?
5.30pm Laurieton Library
Contact: Kate Forrest, Librarian (02) 6581 8177 or email?

Friday 29 June
Kempsey
?4.30pm Kempsey Library
Contact: Alison Pope (02) 6566 3210 or email

??Tuesday 3 July
Taree
?1-2pm Taree Library
Contact: Margie Wallis (02) 6592 5291 or email

and ??6-7pm Taree Library

??Wednesday 4 July
Parramatta?
5-7pm Parramatta Library
Contact: Yan Zhang (02) 9806 5157 or email?

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