Friday 10/03/06 The forest is angry and I don't blame her, the spirits are walking and they don't like what they see. In one of the most magical places that you can imagine - it shook me the first time I came here - there is terrible destruction going on. Some of the last old growth mixed-species rainforest is seriously under threat. Rodwells and Jamieson Bros. are two of the largest logging contractors in East Gippsland at the moment and they are doubling, even tripling crews to get in and log Centre Rd, and Survey Rd which are situated approx. 800 metres above sea level, and it is the top of our local water catchment here in Goongerah. There are prescription changes coming in June, which will most-likely protect the areas that they are logging at the moment, which is why they're rushing to clearfell them now.
The community of Goongerah is an informal scattering of mostly hand-built abodes, around a primary school, community hall and a CFA depo (& us here at Goongerah Environment Centre), of about 100 ppl in population. As well as logging, we're also facing exploratory mining leases right in our backyard, which one of the indigenous elders down here picked a long time ago. Rip out the forests, churn up the land - its all greed-mongering. Well, back to the forest report: right now (10/3/06) we have stopped work in Centre Rd (again), near Victoria's Biggest Tree, which is surrounded by rainforest. The trees they are taking out are a few hundred years old, up to 3 logs to a load. As I see it, From the Forest Frontline, Jindi
11/03/06 Latest news, cycled in last nite from the forest, as the activists were walking in, the workers took a smoko break, all good for our side. It meant they were waiting at the machines when they came back to say "nah. we're in here, can't keep working". DSE was called and one activist was asked to leave, however they could not continue work reguardless as the others could not be reached to read their rights or be arrested, but they still occupied the coupe. (I hear that a few falls happened by enthused arresters anxious to throw someone in the dog-box. Notablly big CRUNCH-DOOF-DOOF.. lol) However the workers being very enthused to do their work, continued loading and even pegged logs at activists, two first-hand reports to just miss.(Where's their Non-Violent Direct Action?!?) Another days work is halted, although loading continued, for a while... ..One of the famous DSE officers in residence who was around activists in the coupe(the forest thats still standing, on the cards to be logged) while the workers continued in the log-landing, was inciting that they shouldn't go up to to where they were loading. Being it so there was no intention of that, and it showed that within half hour of work up there nothing more could be done. Tactic's of the Not Very Smart against the Wiley Activist. Also reporting from HQ, a police vechicle was noted stationed near the driveway of GECO this evening for quite a while, I hope they had supplies or a good magazine as there was nothing to report of any returning activists! *Jindi
27/3/2006 We know the routine and we can't resist. All revved up we go out again, in the dead of night to Centre Rd coupe, which has been named "Dracula" by VicForests. The morning greats the workers with a treesit attached to a pod over a gate, blocking work from the coupe again. The boys from Search and Rescue got flown out today again, the pilot loving the scenery he's landed in yet again.(it's not his first flight to a blockade site). Activists once again held the coupe for the day, with a victorious no arrests, making our presence known.Bak at HQ, Jindi
7/4/2006 The controversial Centre Rd "Dracula" coupe was again the stage for a walk-in by 20 conservationists, being water catchment area we are outraged that it should be allowed to be logged in such manner. Work was again stopped for the day. Activists have noted numerous breaches within coupes, namely no reguard for buffer zones or creeks. As hard as we've been hitting them, the contractors have been going hard to clear these coupes before we're able to protect them. Jindi.
8/4/2006 Another walk-in held with 30 conservationists re-entering the Dracula coupe. The workers, persistent to work continued loading logs, even while people were sitting on them. 5 people were assulted from being forcably removed from the front of a gingka by an irate truck driver. Dirt, picked up by the log-loader, was dumped over the top of activists heads while sitting on a log at the edge of a log-pile. Machines were charging at protestors to scare them, swinging them and the arms around with no reguard. The workers started felling trees in the afternoon, claiming that they weren't aware that activists were there(yeah, right). Again, logs were used to intimidate, by the workers swizzling them around on the ground while gripping them in the middle by the loader arm aiming them at the kids on the ground. For most of the conservationists at this gig, it was their first time in a coupe let alone on the frontline and the boys sure gave them a good show. Complaints are in the process of being formed. The kids came back a bit taken aback, but firing. They have been blockaded hard, and the same crew has been hit many times, but they are the ones in the extremely rare pockets of old growth rainforest that is such a contentious issue for environmentalists. Upset by the lack of OH&S, Jindi
10/4/2006 Another late nite mission held, with 18 kids scurryin around in the dark, sliding down into Freds coupe literally. The morning arose to greet the contractor with a pod-sit over the road, two people locked onto one loader and a tree-sit polyed to two machines. (poly from the sit, then V'd out to each machine.) The contractor left pretty quickly and let some of us get a bit extra kip, before the first DSE began to arrive, and arrive, until there was fluro vests everywhere on the slippery road. They went in force and intimidated the pod-sitter first after having a look around. After 5 hours the Search and Rescue crew arrived and the pod-sitter came down, with no arrest. A blue tarp was confiscated at the fall of the pod, and when raised that there was no arrest, so the tarp should not be taken as it was in evidence of what crime? It was promised back, and the pod-sitter was able to go and collect his blankets from the crux of the fallen pod. At this time an exclusion-zone (i.e. approx 100mts or however far they want to at the time) had been drawn away from the pod and the 'action'. Anyone able to be apprehended after being asked to leave the exclusion zone is arrested. On departure the issue of the blue tarp return was raised but the last cop on duty was not having any of that, because he was told not to, and he sent the crew on out of the coupe. The sit was cut down after the Search&Rescue climbers made their slow assent, but the tree-sitter was not to be caught and even dropped his line in his efforts. The lock-on's were cut off last, charged on summons. They try and get you, talk you out of it, bluff you off such as telling you all your friends have deserted you, or these days they threaten with the whole costs of the day, down to the lunches of everyone that had to be called in. Although this has not been proven in court. After a day of being on-guard its good to be home and relax, especially to walk in to a pot of food on the stove. Tired bak at HQ, Jindi
p.s Here's the start of a glossary, of terms and nicknames of Forest Protesting:
log-landing: an area that is leveled somewhat where the logs are piled for loading onto the log trucks; dog-box: extremely small space in the bak of a police landcruiser vechicle. Equipped with one seatbelt, for one person only!; ginka : log-truck; D.S.E:Department of (un)Sustainable Environment; OH&S : Occupational Health & Safety
Go To GECO ; for media reports of actions this summer, as well as an archive of past actions and pics.