Rainbow Dreaming  

Mt. Nardi forest blockade

Mt. Nardi forest blockade, 1982
Image: © Don Sharpe


In the Wattle Creek kitchen it was an enchanted evening. No one wanted to formalise the process or get down to the business at hand. Some people had come across from Terania Creek and the conversation flowed, a thousand rivulets flowing into the stream. The overall sound was like the roar of a river, but no one was aware of it.

I had noticed this little gnome of a fellow with a deadly serious face, except when something amused him and then his face lit up with a beautiful smile, which showed the gap between his two front teeth. His shoulders were bowed, and he had a scruffy beard and long curly hair. In the middle of all the commotion he started to dress himself in theatrical garb. First he donned a pair of black leotards, followed by a tight-fitting black body-costume over which he hung a black apron, which reached, to his knees. Written on the apron in bold white lettering were the words:

Next he put on a gas mask, and that almost completed the costume. He had transformed himself into a sinister figure. He then picked up his wand. It had a large square end with a gold dollar sign on it. Here was Death the Reaper in his modern-day apparel. He stood up in the middle of the room holding his scythe aloft. As though this were a pre-arranged signal, everybody fell silent. The Reaper plucked off his mask and smiled at everybody. ‘I was on my way down south, but I heard that you people were up to something,’ he announced with a merry twinkle in his eye.

Gummy stepped up, ‘Welcome, Benny Zable!’ The latter performed a cute little bow and proceeded to take off his garb. This accomplished, he sat demurely on the floor. Gummy continued, ‘Well, we all know why we are here. We’re here for the forests.’

Everybody cheered. Then we heard the delicate plunking of a mandolin, and Brenda began to sing in a strong, sweet voice. ‘A new song,’ was all the preamble she gave.

We are here for the forests,
We are here for the children,
We are here for the future,
And the land of our birth.
We are here for the forests,
We are not an illusion.
We’ll never allow them
To kill Mother Earth.

By the end of the song, all voices were in unison, singing this refrain.
After the song there was complete silence until Gummy asked, a soft, still voice in the silence, ‘What are we going to do people? You all see the logging trucks every day like an insult to everything we stand for. What are we going to do, people?’

The silence continued. Then a clear simple voice spoke up, ‘Tomorrow will be full moon. We can go down to Greers Gate over the other side of the forest and spend the night. When the trucks come in the morning, we will block them. We can take it from there. If we don’t physically stop them…

We know the politicians will never do anything. The Forestry Commission can say anything they want in this environmental impact statement. While they are not logging Terania, they are taking everything else. When that’s gone they will put out their Impact Statement, they will say it is all right, and then take Terania. A ton of papers to rubber stamp the lies. You all know what you are dealing with here. The only choice we have is to put our bodies on the line.’

Doug Ferguson, environmental activist, from Wild Place Within

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