Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Treehugger arrives in Tas.

2012 - on the edge of the Tarkine
Would you like to support my endeavour? The money raised by the Bob Brown Foundation for the Tarkine in Motion project will feed us, transport us to our destinations, provide facilities. I am going to the Frankland River!

I was musing over the contents of my luggage last night. In it were so many gifts: mittens, a jacket, a top, a toiletries bag, my haiku bumbag, one of the wheelie bags - Ruby has lent me her good sleeping mat which I must not puncture. What else? A book, a set of eye exercises printed off specially for me, a woolly hat, a pair of lounge pants... given freely, just like the trees. Undies, my mobile phone, a scarf...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Encounter with a quoll

Tarkine in Motion

Arthur River TAS

Over Easter I'll be a resident haiku poet at the Tarkine in Motion camp, in Northwest Tasmania, which the Bob Brown Foundation is putting together. Ill show you what I know so far, of this vast wild area.

 I drove around it last December, starting at Waratah which is on the edge of the Tarkine. It once boasted the richest tin mine in the world. I drove from there to Corinna, past the iron ore mine at Savage river where a friend of mine once worked.
tailings dam, Savage River mine
 Recently there was a fatality at this mine. A contract worker fell to his death and then Grange Resources halted trading on the stock exchange.

Donaldson River, Western Explorer
Corinna is on the Pieman river, and is the start of the Western Explorer road. In January 2016, in hot and dry conditions, a series of lightning strikes started massive fires which burnt unchecked across the button grass plains.
Western Explorer

The highlight of my drive came in the evening. As I was approaching Arthur River, I saw a little creature on a bridge over a creek. It was a spotted quoll!!! I have never seen one of these creatures. They feature in the best known Gundungurra songline, in which Mirragan the quoll chases Gurangatch the giant eel across country, and this chase forms the Coxs and Wollondilly rivers (roughly speaking). Eastern quolls disappeared from the mainland with the advent of whitefella, but there are still remnants of spotted-tail quoll ( Dasyurus maculatus) in my neck of the woods. They sometimes annoy people by eating their chickens. This fella was engrossed and did not run away when I stopped my car. Then I saw why. A calling card!

Arthur River was a cold and windy place in December. I stayed overnight there.

cold wind
the cabin door slams open
inviting me out

 The next day I drove past 'Parliament House'( a fisherman's hut in blue corro) on my way to the Edge of the World lookout. Then I attempted to walk up the coast. Here's what I wrote in my journal:
"Very very windy. Rugged right up, clutching a little plastic bag of provisions: an egg, 2 peanut corn thins and some fantales. But at the point where moving forward was not achievable without a great deal of effort - I gave up. Also I was being rained on. Great drifts of wood - the river brown and foaming - the storm approacheth then raineth."

Nice try! But the locals compensated for the Roaring Forties - roadhouse lady gave me a polystyrene cup and some hot water for my peppermint tea, which I drank as it hailed.
looking upstream, Arthur River

I drove from Arthur river up the coast to Bluff Hill Lighthouse, and on to Stanley, where there is a volcanic remnant called The Nut. Climbed that. And the trip was rounded off with the "satanic mill" (thanks William Blake) at Port Latta, which processes the iron ore dug out at Savage river.

It was a small taste, and my advice would be: do it, but don't drive too fast. You might hit a wallaby and that would be bad.