Friday, December 19, 2008


It's a few days before Christmas and you've got nothing better to do than look through some Flinders Ranges pics - right? Well here's you chance - a motley selection of 147 shots of rocky lumps in the north. A little hard to see the point of a 'scenic survey', but at least you can try guessing which peak is what. The only catch is today is the last day!
Also, DEH is looking at rejigging the walks around Wilpena - see the draft plan here. So, if you have ever wondered how to write 96 pages of mumbo jumbo about changing a few walking tracks, this is for you. There's no panic on this one - you've got till the end of Feb to have your say.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Two bits of good news - both long overdue - for Arkaroola in the far northern Flinders Ranges:

Firstly from their website: Great news! Since 14 November, a total of 100.8mm (about 4 inches or 400 points) of rain has fallen over Arkaroola. As at today (12 December), the Arkaroola Creek is still running 0.5 metre deep and young seedlings are coming up everywhere - Marg reports that if you concentrate, you can even see a slight tinge of green!

Secondly, it's reported the mining exploration waste dumped in Arkaroola by Marathon Roesources is now 'cleaned up' - see story. Now all that's required is for the government to put the kybosh on any further exploration or mining in the sanctuary.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Spending a day looking at the Coorong always gives food for thought. It was a year or so since I'd been there and in that time the news media has been running hot with stories about the 'fate of the Murray' and the 'plight of the Coorong and Lower Lakes.' And it's true, a lack of water coming down the river has put the screws on this place. But this problem has been brewing for decades. Just ask Dr David Paton at Adelaide Uni.
Anyway, if all you ever knew about the Coorong came from the media, you might imagine the place had gone to the dogs and the only thing left was toxic mud and rotting fish. But as I sat there looking across the lagoon to the peninsula, staring into the breeze coming straight off the Southern Ocean, I must say the sly - and sometimes odd - fascination of the place seemed as strong as ever.
One of the things I like about the Coorong is its unapproachable quality. Lots of people drive past and see it but you can't really get into it that easily - unless you go to the trouble of tackling the ocean beach in a 4WD or poking about the lagoon in a boat. Even then, the heart of the peninsula lies there pretty much untouched.
So what you’re left with is this horizon of scrub and dunes, the distant boom of the surf beach and a strip of dark, rippling lagoon that's empty of people most of the time. I like the fact that it gets to me, that it has this stillness and air of mystery that can't be dispelled simply by going to a lookout or taking a' scenic drive'.
It gets to other people too. A few weeks back ABC radio's David Bevan sounded bewildered when he asked Allan Holmes of the Department of Environment & Heritage why the place seemed so deserted. Nor did Allan have a terribly convincing explanation.
Now, suddenly, the region is part of an 'environmental crisis.' I think it’s a pity it took the lakes to start shrinking dramatically and for farmer’s livelihoods to be threatened before people started taking notice. It would be great if, as well as via the calculus of science and economic worth, we could value these places for their intrinsic quality, their mystery and the kind of beauty and poetry Colin Thiele gave us in Storm Boy. I guess my point is that, crisis notwithstanding, a lot of that poetry is still there and should be remembered. Then again, I run into the perennial problem for us self-confessed, tree-hugging wilderness aesthetes everywhere: what happens if too many of people start running around ‘valuing’ the place? Will not some of the mystery vanish, and those wordless questions the long, lonely Coorong seems to ask of us slip though our fingers like dry sand?