Paradise under threat

Recently I attended a Rivers SOS conference at Booral near Gloucester. Rivers SOS is an alliance of 40 groups from all over NSW committed to protecting the integrity of river systems and water sources against the impacts of mining.

The weekend was held at Country River Camp, an informal and natural grassy camping area right by the Karuah River. Keith and Margaret Wynne, who own Country River Camp, love their river and are strong supporters of those who fight to protect it.

On Sunday we were taken on a tour of this beautiful, well-watered area, under grave threat from the expansion of the two coalmines in the district. It’s hard to get a peek at the so-called ’boutique minery’ of Duralie mine, tucked away from the main roads as it is. But they’re expanding way beyond boutique, and if they get their way it will be all too visible.
rivers-1 Many farms, like the one below, have already been bought up for hard-to-resist prices; across other paddocks we could see dozens of test drill pipes under their white caps.
rivers-2 This region is watered by pristine rivers and creeks that rise in the nearby World Heritage sub-alpine Gloucester and Barrington Tops. And yet the mine wants to discharge its toxic waste water into these streams.

They call it ‘irrigating’, which means indirect discharge, as the waste will just take a bit more time to reach the rivers as it enters the many gullies and watercourses of the river flats and slopes they want to use for this (below).
rivers-3These gullies run into Mammy Johnsons River (below), which flows to the Karuah River and thence to the tourist and marine environment mecca of Port Stephens.

If beauty like this doesn’t matter, with water becoming such a precious commodity, it has to be an obscenity to consider mining this area which is also blessed with fertile soils.

We can’t drink or eat coal.

rivers-4But the mine’s plans to wreck their area are being fought all the way by the very tenacious and passionate locals of the Johnsons Creek Conservation Committee (JCCC), supported by the Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Alliance — and by the umbrella group of Rivers SOS.
rivers-5The founder and mainstay of JCCC for over a decade was the late, much loved Mavis Tersteeg, who lived right beside Mammy Johnsons River and now rests there. But her baton is being firmly carried forward by others.

The paradise of the Gloucester region is not going to turn into the dusty, polluted, uninhabitable devastation of the Hunter if these battlers have their way!
rivers-6 For the wider horror picture, do take a look at this blog entry at Real Dirt.

As well as Rivers SOS own website, which will now be a permanent link from my site.

(Country River Camp, 582 Washpool Rd, Booral, 02 4994 6254)

7 thoughts on “Paradise under threat”

  1. Never watch TV Sharyn, but there was abit of a debunk in the business section of the Sydney Morning Harold on Monday. Don’t you go feeling low now…Crikey, I’m on anti-depressive medication myself! Regards, Trev.

  2. Love the idea Trevor! Keep up the humour; hard to keep from feeling low with such blind ( and black-hearted) leaders as ours. Good to see the total debunk of Clean Coal on Four Corners last night.

  3. Sharyn, I’m fairly convinced that those rows and rows of items are indigenous to supermarkets, but they have been known to go walk-about in plastic bags. The miners HAVE found organisms that do eat coal and they are doing their best to keep the ravenous creatures calm. You can see them any day on Google earth . I mean the 40 to 50 bulkers floating around the mouth of the Hunter. I mean….imagine if they died of starvation and floated ashore on Stockton Beach! Keep up the good work huh? WE’VE got a gas pipeline to object to

  4. keith 7/9/2009
    hi sharyn our thanks to you in supporting all who have been fighting this mine i have been trying to send emails to the mine on differant sites but do not go my challenge is to have the mine install a water monitor here @ country river camp and i can then get the samples tested jenny suggested to send a letter to the consultive committee so i will try that thanks to all who attended and to all those who worked on the weekend setting up and preparing the meals and food we will fight on and though we may not win the battle we will win the war with people power.

  5. Yes, I’ve seen them Trevor; there’s aisles and aisles of stuff that I assume is food that I don’t buy. So they’re indigenous to supermarkets?

  6. Really Sharyn! I think you ought to realize by now that food and drink grows on supermarket shelves? I mean EVERYBODY knows that! Regards, Trev.

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