Whispers from the past

Last June Roz and I spent a week exploring the rural hinterlands near Noosa and further up the coast at Rainbow Sands. It was our last trip together before our little one came along and transformed our lives (which Elsa since has done so, of course).

I was reminded of our trip after hearing a docmentary about proposals to dam the Mary River which flows through the Sunshine Coast area. Everywhere we travelled home-made signs were propped up demanding the river be saved. In the Pomona general store window, the closest town to our accommodation, there were posters about benefit concerts and other awareness raising events. It was pretty obvious there was a lot of opposition to the dam proposals locally.

The main focus of the radio documentary was on the Queensland lungfish (neoceratodus forsteri) which is thriving in the part of the river under threat. The habitat is one of the last breeding grounds of the fish species whose lineage dates back 380 million years.

A representative of the local indigenous people, the Gubbi Gubbi, put it really beautifully when she said the fish is a whisper from the past. Eve Fesl says she hopes that everyone will help us try to save the fish.

I didn’t pick up on this, or the many other negative side affects last year, so it was good to find out more. The proposed dam is a classic think-big type, engineering response to resource scarcity, in this case water shortages in urban areas South East Queensland. Much better to have better regulation about water collection and efficiency in the new sub-divisions and better support for water conservation measures, me thinks.

Thanks to Radio Netherlands the Save the Mary River campaign has an international audience. I’d love to go back sometime soon and go to one of those benefit concerts.