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Byron Shire
October 18, 2021

Person of interest: Knitting Nanna and protector Jally

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Nanna Jally delivers a letter to a pollie. Photo Tree Faerie.

Leading up to the April 21 Stop Adani convoy rally to be held at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds, The Echo profiles another activist who has made a stand against Adani.  

Meet Knitting Nanna Jally, aka Jill Hawthorn.

She’s part of the Nanna movement that is giving fossil-fuel corporations public-relations complications via their Nannafestos and sit-ins, which have been regular at MPs’ offices as well as Parliament House.

Jally is one of the activists joining the Stop Adani convoy on April 21 as it stops briefly en route to where the Adani proposal is located in central QLD. The convoy is expected to arrive for 2pm and depart at 3pm at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds. 

Jally says her mantra on her way on the Adani Convoy will be ‘Knit one, Purl one, Cast Off Fossil Fuels – specifically Adani’. 


‘I’ve been involved in environmental activism through Knitting Nannas Against Gas since it started nearly seven years ago,’ she says.

‘Our Nannafesto begins: “We peacefully and productively protest against the destruction of our land, air and water by corporations and/or individuals who seek to profit and personally gain from the short-sighted and greedy plunder of our natural resources”.

‘That’s why I’m going on the Adani Convoy. 

‘As a Nanna, I was active in the Bentley Blockade and the anti-gas protests at Gloucester and The Pilliga.

‘More recently, Nannas from all over NSW gathered in Sydney to draw attention to our water crisis by having a “soft lock-on” by fastening our sashes to the fence of Parliament House while knitting, singing, and talking with politicians. 

‘During the nineties, I was involved in forest actions mainly in Whian Whian State Forest, but my basic training for activism came from the women’s movement of the seventies and eighties.

Think strategically

‘My sisters and I learned to work collectively, to think strategically and to care for my comrades and myself at all times.

‘Last week, when the federal Environment minister Melissa Price gave the go-ahead to Adani’s water-guzzling mine, I was shocked. We are enduring a terrible drought and our government just gave permission to use water to wash coal to send overseas that will create a climate with more droughts. It doesn’t make sense to me – it feels like this type of politics is not rational thought.

‘As for the bigger picture of transitioning from fossil fuels: we can all take small steps in our daily life. Use fewer petrochemical plastics, think of alternatives to how and why we travel.

‘Being more conscious of how and where we spend our money and who benefits from our decisions is also important. For me, nurturing a garden of veges and flowers helps me to remember that all things are connected in this big ecosystem. By getting my hands dirty, I become a protector, not a protester’.

Mullum Rally, 2pm – 3pm, April 21

Rally organisers are asking the public to carpool/ride/walk where possible to the event.

‘Please enter the carpark from Chinbible Street entrance and arrive as early as possible, from 12.30pm onwards, so there is time to park all convoy participants before the rally. 

‘Hussy Hicks and Moreton will be performing and Bob Brown will speak, along with Murray Dreschler and a Youth Climate Strike representative.

‘There will be no food or drink vans, so please BYO. It’s also a zero-waste event, so rubbish brought to the event needs to be taken away with you. Please refrain from bringing rubbish. All climate action banners etc are welcome’. 

Mullumbimby rally organiser Ella Rose Goninan says, ‘With so many dedicated environmental activists and passionate community members residing in the Northern Rivers, we are expecting the rally to be huge! We are preparing for thousands to show up. Let’s bring on the full breadth of campaigning know-how and success in this region, to support and power up the Stop Adani Convoy, its message and mission’.

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