** before you read this article, have a quick look here – Story : Koalas in SE Queensland, Australia. Dec 2008**, HERE , and last of all HERE : Draft South East Queensland Koala State Planning Regulatory Provisions .
Faerie tales are stories of imagination, folklore and historical heresay. Many faerie stories can have deeper meanings behind their outer words. Now perhaps you do not believe in faeries . You may think that faeries are merely symbolic adornments in childhood books, movies and from cultures of a bygone age.
Now that you are grown up, you may be quite sure that faeries, santa clause and the easter bunny are not real. Or, you may have your own ideas about faeries, that no one else seems to have at all.
Well, all that aside, if you have some time to spare, have a read of my story below. It is a true story, and it has no faeries in it at all. Well… there is just one reference to faeries – right near the end.
My story takes place on the Marburg Range, some 35 kms west of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia. The year is 1989…..
Part One: The Afternoon
The afternoon was peaceful, broken only by the sounds of cicadas , and scrub birds , as they settled into their nesting trees for the evening ahead. A bulldozer came slowly up the dusty road. Grinding noisily, its metal tracks, and steel chains broke the quiet of the afternoon. The bulldozer stopped outside my little farmhouse, high up on the ridge.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The first large tree to go creaked mournfully, its roots loosening eerily from the soil, in passive opposition to the bulldozer’s strength.
The second large tree gave even less opposition, and the native bushes, herbs and grasses beneath were pushed into a tangled pile, flattening the unseen creatures that inhabited the narrow road verge. Birds’ nests fell. The koalas‘ food and roadside refuge was gone. Lizards, marsupials and baby birds of the understorey had little hope of survival.
The living wonder of the road verge was to be destroyed in 30 minutes, by over a million years honed into the diesal powered steel of the bulldozer.
My heart ached for the bush creatures and their homes.
Their lives, so cruelly flattened and trashed.
At first, my screaming thoughts wanted me to yell at the bulldozer driver “STOP!!! STOP!!- you are killing so many defenseless beautiful creatures and plants!!”
Instead, I stood transfixed in disbelief, watching the dozer fell the third tree then the fourth, fifth, sixth – on and on, up the road verge, heading to the top of the ridge.
Those brief moments of hearing that bulldozer do its work, they would change my life forever.
Spirit reeling, I tried to conceive how such a thing could be happening! No one else was watching – just me and the bulldozer driver. So much destruction of so much life taking place.
No one cared. No one cared at all. And if they did, well, what could they do?
This was not a large forest, protected by vigilant activists, prepared to chain themselves to trees. My heart began to ache, beyond this mindless act, to all the other places on earth that were silently witnessing the same destruction.
As a powerless observer, my anger and helplessness grew, and I did not know where to channel it.
The bulldozer driver did not realise. It was his job, and he had a family to feed. I could not be angry at him. But still my anger grew, threatening to consume me.
I needed a quick respite, a quick solution, to temper this anger – turning it into love.
Then a thought came suddenly to me. I could store this anger, transforming it with love, to hold deep in the base of my body, deep below my stomach. I could store this energy and use it, lovingly, thoughtfully, creatively, in future days, months, years and decades, as a power source. A power source dedicated to generating compassion and love, for nature’s bounties, gifted to humanity. What a big ask of myself! But then again, I could not deny this event.
I would remember this day for eternity. The day the grey boxes fell before the bulldozer.
As the bulldozer driver stopped to reconnect some chains, I went over to him, and asked of him ” Why do you clear this stretch of land? Do you realise that this soil is highly dispersive – it washes away so easily with rain that the land here is riddled with deep sub terranean holes? The aspect is so harsh, that without adjoining vegetation ( I pointed to the adjacent overgrazed paddock ) this road verge will not recover for many decades”.
He replied ” The owner of the property up the road wishes to put in electricity. Power lines are coming through. He is connecting power to that little quarter acre block, at the top of the ridge, so that he may sell it more easily”. And that was that. Legally ok!! Socially sanctioned.
After years of living on this range, I had grown to deeply respect the earth, and the natural balances that permeated through it. The harshness of the climate, at times, sent alternating flash flooding, and merciless drought. Fire could spring up quickly, within the badly managed vegetation and the lower valleys had became choked with salted soils and slow running creek water that resemble the sea in it’s saltiness.
The Eucalypts, with their long roots sunk deep into the earth, drew the water that lay in the rocky aquifers beneath. This was third generation regenerated bushland (from the clearing of the past 150 years) giving homes to many native animals. Beneath the box and red gums, grew all manner of remnant dry vine scrub plants, interspersed with the wildy spreading, naturalised weeds, that had arrived with agrarian settlement.
Silvereyes and double-barred finches nested in the hoop pines, blue wrens frequented the scrubby understoreys, koalas clamboured lazily tree to tree, goannas and snakes made frequent appearances, and after the rains, the frogs sounded in the dams and gullies along the side of the ridge.
Part Two: The evening
That evening, I suffered a disquiet that I had never known before. Falling asleep, my tears for the defenceless roadside homes turned into a dream. This dream eventually woke me. Such forces in a dream I had never experienced before.
I dreamt that I was in my little farm house, with my family. Suddenly a great wind tore through the house, ripping doors from hinges, hurling furniture to the walls. Our lives were in peril. The house was being destroyed by something so great, and invisible, that in the dream, my husband called to me, “Get the children, we must escape – we shall be killed!!”.
Now, in our dreams, we can be a hero, that in waking life, seems absurd.
Holding my husband back with one arm, I cried “NO! I can see what is happening – it is all coming from the bookcase” . I ran to our bookcase, which spanned the length of the living room wall, high to the ceiling, crammed with books, all tightly packed together, against the entire wall.
The wind was now of tornadic proportions, as I fought desperately to get near the bookshelf. I searched frantically for the source of the wind. There it was! Funneling through a small gap, on the bottom shelf. This was the only gap in the bookshelf that lined the wall and the wind was howling out of it, tearing past me and ripping my home apart.
“I know what to do” I cried, and kneeling down, desperately searched the floor for the missing book, that had fallen from the bookshelf, to stop this gap , and block the fierce wind.
The gap was so small, and the wind coming through it seemed to have no end. My hands felt about, on the floor. THERE it was, the book!!
I held it in my right hand, and pushed it back into the hole in the bookshelf. The strain was enormous, the wind so strong. I summoned all my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength to push that book back in, and suddenly there it was, back in place.
The wind stopped. But I was utterly spent – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The effort woke me from the nightmare, worn and exhausted. As I awoke, I knew that the name of this book must be remembered, this little book that held so much force at bay. In my waking, lucid moments, I frantically tried to decipher the tiny print on the cover. Oh, it was so hard to read, and I was waking fast. But YES, there it was! I could see it written on the cover – “A Balance of Faeries”.
I woke up, exhausted.
Part Three: The morning
There is not much more to say now. The dream has been recorded.
This dream has had a profound influence on how I view the world and share my view with others.
My place, within the natural processes that the world has gifted me, seems very small, insignificant. But, like that tiny book, in that great big bookshelf of my dream, small, seemingly insignificant parts of a much greater collective can have far reaching consequences.
The tiny, “non- significant” parcels within our delicately balanced environment can have an critical part to play in survival of all living things on earth.
The collective knowledge of mankind (the bookshelf) holds such power behind it, that should the knowledge not be complete, the power that is held can escape, creating havoc and untold destruction.
Part four: The return
I have since returned to visit the Marburg Range, some months back, before the 2008 summer rains drenched it once again, and after many years of drought, harsh winds and relentless sun. The road verge leading to the top of the ridge is bare, no trees have grown back yet, and no koalas, birds or marsupials could be seen on the narrow strip that was cleared so suddenly, 20 years ago.
With biodiversity comes the ability for our ecological systems to withstand the greater forces of nature – wind, sun, rain, fire, cold, heat. With knowledge and understanding of the smaller, delicate portions of nature, comes an ability to hold back the greater forces that great knowledge exposes us to.
It is time to wake up.
- 22nd MAY 2008 – International Day for Biological Diversity – The Theme this year: Biodiversity & Agriculture find out more at Convention for Biological Diversity website – I couldn’t find Australia amongst the signatures in the protocol – why is that?
- Australian Government Biodiversity: Toolbox – since I wrote this story, this link has now become no existent, hence I shall give you this link, insteads:- National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biodiversity
- Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ) – Link to Dr Len Webb’s involvement in the WPSQ Judith Wright‘s involvement with WPSQ
Queensland State of the Environment 2007 download at the Qld Government Environmental Protection Agency website
New South Wales State of the Environment Report 2006 download at the NSW Department of Environment & Climate Change website
- National Land & Water Resources Audit – Australian Government: Collating data & information on Australia’s Natural Resources for future sustainable development and management
- Salinity Indicator trials – National Summary Report : Final report 30th April 2007. This report can be downloaded as a PDF. Go to The Australian Government’s National Land & Water Resources Audit
- Download the Soil Conservation Act 1986 – This Queensland Act for Soil Conservation has been in place since 1986 – yet the SE Queensland Region is still undergoing landclearing, ecological degradation and water pollution at unsustainable levels for the future population’s well being.
Roadsides, Powerlines & Stock Routes:
- Queensland Government Department of Main Roads -Environmental Accountability : Looking after Queensland’s Environment
- NSW Roads & Traffic Authority – Environment
- Queensland Department of Employment & Industrial Relations – Vegetation Management Guidelines-for under powerlines
- Greening Australia & Energex – vegetation species choices & management around overhead powerlines
- The Queensland Stock Route Network – 2.6 million hectares : Qld Government Natural Resources & Water –
- The Environmental Case for converting Stock Routes into “Protected Corridors for Travelling Stock & Biodiversity” under Climate Change -by Birds Australia Southern Queensland –
a few more interesting links:
- Native Vegetation Management in NSW : how the Native Vegetation Management Act 2003 interacts with other Legislation .
- Lismore City Council , NE NSW may get rid of Tree Preservation Order – this may threaten Koala populations in region according to Friends of the Koala (Northern Rivers, NSW): 20th May 2008
- Acts & Subordinate Legislation (as in force) A-Z listings : at the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Council , Queensland Government .
- Synopsis of the Queensland Environmental Legal System – at Environmental Law Publishing. Case Studies in Environmental Litigation ( Federal Court of Australia & Queensland Courts)
- Acts & Regulations (in force) A-Z listings (including Environmental Planning Instruments in force): at the NSW Parliamentary Counsel’s Office , New South Wales Government
- Environmental Defender’s Office New South Wales Ltd : Compliance PORTAL – a tool to assist citizens in enforcing environmental law
- EDO Queensland Inc – the Law Reform activities include a paper & submission on the Qld Government Koala Plan Draft (March 2005)
- The Change Agency Education & Training Institute Inc : Supporting Effective Community Action
- Non violent Direct Action Workshop (25th May 2008, Brisbane, SE Queensland) – information via Queensland Conservation Council Website –
- North East Rainforest Alliance NEFA – homepage –
- Men of the Trees – Australia
- Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992) –
- “Life at findhorn” by Jonathon Dawson (9th Feb. 2008) – article in the New Statesman – British current affairs magazine
Some historical reading about Forests in NE NSW:
- Chain Reaction published by Friends of the Earth : “The Story of the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA)” by Carmel Flint Summer 2005/6
- old NEFA site ? try the NEFA homepage
and finally, some more Blue Crayfish Links from bluecray.org :-
Bluecrays, Crayfish, Blue Crayfish Links
- Australian Freshwater Crayfish Project
- Freshwater Ecoregions of the World – 807 Eastern Coastal Australia
- Crayfish – Australian Museum on line Factsheet
- Crayfish of Australia
- Crayfish of Queensland
- Crayfish Taxon Browser – Browse by Continent or Species
- photography-on-the-net.com – Lamington Spiny Crayfish by Greg Carlill(2008)
- Flickr : Mountain Cray by Mark Jekabsons, taken at Terania Creek, NE NSW, Australia
- Flickr : Blue Crayfish by Sandy Carroll, taken at Lamington National Park, SE QLD, Australia
- Flickr : Lamington Spiny Crayfish by Williscreek, taken at Lamington National Park
Logan and Albert Conservation Association : KOALAS
Follow candobetter.org for information about KOALAS – they have compiled great info, links, articles, and brief recent history concerning KOALAS and the QUEENSLAND Government and DEVELOPMENT trends