April 24, 2021
Jingi Walla everyone !!
First here is an acknowledgment I wrote on behalf of the defenders camp.
I am writing to you from Wadawurrung Country in Anglesea, Victoria. Kowunduh and I are very grateful and excited to be staying with some friends in a house for a little while in this beautiful location, with amazing surf beaches and lots of exploring to be done. After 5 weeks in Lutruwita/Tasmania we came back across on the Spirit of Tasmania just over a week ago, straight into the big City of Melbourne, and whilst we are thrilled to start on the next chapter of our trip (Great Ocean Road and over to South Australia) we are already missing Tasmania and its wild beauty so much. Along with lots of exploring around the whole island's coast, we spent some time with our close friend Ukiah in the ancient Tarkine/takayna rainforests. Providing a unique window into our planet's ancient past, the cool temperate rainforests in takayna were once widespread across the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland. None of us had heard of the forest or the awful things occuring within them before our arrival on the island, but we soon learned of the mining and logging and the important work that the Bob Brown Foundation were doing in an attempt to protect these ancient phenomenons. During our stay in the rainforest I wrote about my experiences and corners which I want to share with you on this platform in an attempt to raise further awareness and inspire more people to use their power and voice to help protect this special place.
Below is a diary entry I wrote during our time in takayna:
Today marks just under two months since leaving the comfortable confines of home in Northern New South Wales. Now, sitting in our humble camp among around 30 others at the Forest Defenders Camp in the ancient takayna rainforest in North West Lutruwita (Tasmania) known by the western name of the Tarkine, I feel comfortable and at peace despite the danger of being in an active Frontline Action camp. This ancient place is deeply sacred- you can feel it, a place that has sustained thousands of life forms and unique species for millions of years. It can be hard to fathom the reality of a place so old and abundant being cut down, sold to foreign countries and made into toilet paper and packaging that Australia then buys back (and for a larger price resulting in a loss to the Australian economy). Wiping your ass with an ancient Sacred tree- how ridiculous and disturbing!
The takayna is an expansive 447,000 hectares of spectacular wilderness in Tasmania’s North West with recognised but unregistered World Heritage Values. The takayna/Tarkine was found by the Australian Heritage Council to be of outstanding heritage value and recommended to be entered on the Nation's Heritage List. In 2013 the Australian Government failed to list the full recommended area. The Tarkine remains a stronghold for Earth's largest living marsupial carnivore, The Tasmanian Devil. This region is also prime habitat for Giant Wedge-tailed eagles, white goshawks, quolls, wombats and platypuses. The world’s biggest freshwater invertebrate species is found in small numbers of rivers in Tasmania’s north, including rivers of the Tarkine: Astacopsis gold, the Giant Tasmanian Freshwater crayfish, grows up to a metre in length and six kilograms in weight.
Takayna is one of Australia's richest Aboriginal cultural landscapes. Along the takayna coast is the national Heritage listed Western Tasmanian Aboriginal Cultural landscapes, with globally significant Aboriginal cultural values, including the greatest number, diversity and density of Aboriginal hut sites in Australia. Extensive scatters of stone artefacts, huge middens containing shells and bones of marsupials and seals, rock shelters, human burial grounds and petroglyphs of geometric forms all add to the rich Aboriginal Cultural Heritage of takayna/Tarkine. In order for this special place to be protected, it is absolutely necessary for the land to be returned to the Traditional and rightful Custodians of the land so that it can be nurtured and protected in an authentic way. This is the goal of the Bob Brown Foundation who are supporting activists and environmentalists and First Nations People to be able to protect the places they love.
One of my favourite quotes from Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk embodies my reality right now perfectly; he says:
“There is a pattern to the universe and everything in it, and there are knowledge systems and traditions that follow this pattern to maintain balance, to keep the temptations of narcism in check. But recent traditions have emerged that break down creation systems like a virus, infecting complex patterns with artificial simplicity, exercising civilised control over what some see as chaos. The war between good and evil is in reality an imposed system of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity.”
This virus of capital desire is apparent to me in much of our modern western world, but it is especially apparent to me in places like this, the incredible takayna rainforest.
Standing in the middle of a clear fell coupe with the call of the rich and comforting wild rainforest only 100 metres away is a very strange feeling. A stark juxtaposition between Earth’s miraculous creations and the modern greed of corrupt governments; a visual display of the crimes committed against Mother Earth, an embodiment of Yunkaporta’s description of imposition of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity. It is deeply, deeply saddening to witness this awful destruction, an experience I’m sure many can relate to.
Modern Australia began with the original agenda to take over the land, to mine it and to tame. This colonial mindset of greed and power remains ever prevalent today in these mining and logging industries. Today in 2021, more than half of Australia is licensed to mine and log. As well as these industries ruining Sacred cultural land, they are also seriously unhealthy and risky working environments for men and women to work in. The mining and logging industries generally hold mighty lobbying power in parliament, giving reason to their continued destruction of land despite committing environmental crimes company’s budgets often account for having to pay fines for environmental breaches). The fact that the modern world functions upon a capitalist system of perpetual growth means that the Earth’s natural resources are continually being stripped and destroyed, how long can she last? What will it take for us to wake up and return to our true home? What has blinded our individual and collective vision of happiness and caring for each other and the Earth? Why did we stop caring about what happens to our unborn grandchildren?
For me, the answers to our modern day catastrophes lie in First Nations systems. Ancient systems of land management, of agriculture, of kinship, of knowledge and of connectedness. The answers lie in First Nations voices being heard and in their leadership being cherished for what it is.
Our time at the Forest Defenders Camp luckily aligned with the Art For Takayna weekend, where artists from all over Tasmania and beyond came to the ancient rainforest, creating artworks to raise awareness about the importance of protecting these places. These images showcase just a few of the incredible stories and artworks shared over the Art weekend.
The Bob Brown Foundation initiates and facilitates action for Earth through promotions and direct actions such as the Forest Defenders Camp in takayna currently preventing the loggers and miners access to multiple coup sites. They aim to protect ecosystems, species and wild and scenic heritage through legislative change, social awareness and direct action among other methods. Their ultimate goal is to return the takayna rainforests to the traditional Custodianship. The Foundation is a non-profit fund that promotes the protection and enhancement of, and the provision of information and education about:
Sign the Bob Brown Foundation petition and add your name to the Australian Native Forest Declaration to end native forest logging at:
You can also support the foundation by donating at:
For those who want to learn more please follow the Bob Brown Foundation on social media to keep up to date. I can also recommend the episode of James Perrin’s podcast The Overview Effect called ‘Bob Brown and Scott Jordan see a protected takayna rainforest’ which delves into more detail the destruction occurring in Tasmania’s old-growth forests.
Takayna is one of the last truly wild places left on Earth, let us join together to protect such a powerful and significant place!
I am deeply grateful for those of you who read to this point and I hope you will engage with this issue and share as much as you can with your friends and family.
April 27, 2021
Pearl, I am deeply moved by your writing and your spirit. I am very proud of your work and who you have become. Go well my dear.
Well said Pearl. I’m happy and proud that you are bringing these issues to our collective attention. Those wild places are truly moving to behold. Let’s hold on to them forever.
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