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!


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

11 thoughts on “Salvation Sunday at Anvil Hill”

  1. Hi Val, it is hugely dispiriting to see a government so uncaring about us and our futures that they can approve something as toxic as Anvil Hill, but every time I hear from people like you it gives me impetus to keep bothering to berate them! So thank you all.

  2. Thank you Madison, and ‘Amen!’ When I was growing up, my economically poor but enthusiasm -rich Catholic nun teachers taught me that ‘God helps those who help themselves’ and although I haven’t needed such a ‘god’ in my life for many a long year, the ethics remain.

  3. Good on you all of you for your protests! The only way is a huge swelling of people power … never wait for politicians to ‘do the right thing’

  4. Pingback: Madison
  5. Thanks very much for the compliment, Sam.
    And yes, there is a lot we can do. It was people power pressure that made them change their bad decisions on flooding the Franklin River in Tassie and on selling the Snowy Hydro Scheme.
    So we all need to make a lot of ‘noise’.
    I have written short sharp letters to Ministers and to the papers. Check out the Anvil Hill web site (see my links list) for a sample letter and postal addresses (a letter in the hand is harder to ignore than one via email) and email your thoughts to newspaper editors (200 words max.).
    (Newcastle:; Sydney:; local:
    Go Sam!

  6. Hi Sharyn,

    I just saw your blog. Your recounts are like a work of art. They’re so poetic! Anyway, thanks, for putting me on your website. Is there anything we can do to try to change the fate of Anvil Hill.

  7. Wendy, I have emailed Sam and I suspect he’s very web savvy. I hope to have a piece in the Muswellbrook Chronicle this week re the weekend and Sam.
    And Claire, they can’t hear us because their ears are stuffed with coal money.

  8. Thanks Sharyn for a beautiful report. Unfortunately we couldn’t be there. Sorry to hear Gov has not listened Again!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  9. Thanks Dael, I have also just heard that. How dare they, and still talk of any concern for climate change?!! And the fight certainly will continue.

  10. Hi Sharyn,
    beautiful work! Do you have Sams contact details? If not, I will look out for him to let him know about this blog (?) I havent actually used the term before!

  11. Great story, fabulous misty tent image and aerial shot. But have just heard the government has approved Anvil Hill. The fight continues …

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