I stayed at the Gloucester Protectors Camp for three days last week. Set in farmer Ed Robinson’s mown paddock, with cows grazing beyond the fence and the mountains framing the valley views, it’s a scenic spot.
The camp is evolving daily; it has portaloos and fresh water and an embryonic kitchen. They need lots of people to help build it … and to help use it for its purpose of stopping AGL from turning this beautiful valley into a CSG industrial pincushion.
After a wild wet evening arrival, the weather stayed fine but variable, offering hot days, cold nights, damply dewy mornings and some beautiful sunrises as they competed with the fog rising from the valley floor.
Starts were early, to get to the AGL gate in time to welcome the convoy of the Halliburton fracking crew to start their ‘work’ and to have ‘breakfast with the police’ who were making that start possible. Being legal doesn’t make it right, but the police have no choice here; it’s up to us to get the laws changed.
We bicycled in our own convoy — ’Tour de Gloucester’ — from the Fairbairns Road corner to the site on two mornings, reminding me how insufficiently padded were both my derriere and the bike seat.
But on the second morning our biking distraction was more than worthwhile when we heard that Ned Haughton had quietly locked on to an unguarded rig further away. He remained there for almost 5 hours before being freed.
Quite a few of us rode down the narrow dirt road to where he was; I’d have to say I wobbled precariously along the edges as police car after police car passed.
(I cadged a lift back for me and the bike.)
Bill Ryan came too and joked about him being in all the photos, like a ‘Where’s Wally?’ series.
Saturday morning dawned in dense fog. A short ‘breakfast with the police’ this day before heading into town for the Gloucester community walk through the main street. Absolutely inspiring, as it was the biggest turnout yet — almost 200. Lots of locals, young and old.
There were some terrific signs; our PM copped it on some. I had to laugh at the one held by gentle Linda, who greets the frackers each morning by meditating across the road from the gate.
So please come out to the camp and see what’s on. Gloucester folk are getting very tired from the battle and the daily stretch to fill the rosters; they desperately need — and deserve — our help.