Léandra Martiniello, Whian Whian
It is the night of the full moon, I have just watched it rise. On the other side of my hilled horizon the Rocky Creek carves its path toward the places where the three creeks meet – Rocky, Tuntable and Terania. I wonder how many moon cycles Rocky Creek has been witness to? There is a special place along its path – a hidden gorge where the creek has cut its way through time and sandstone. I am imagining the thriving rainforest community in the hidden gorge and how alive it must be tonight. This place so special, especially because there is so little left.
A continuous stretch of rainforest once covered an area here of 75,000 ha. Now, less than one per cent is left, the hills bare and soils eroding into rivers across an ancient landscape is a common sight. The campaign to build a dam in Dunoon would destroy this place forever. The role of rainforests in the water cycle – rain pours down from the sky and makes its way to the ground, where trees inhale water from Earth and exhale it into a river of water in the sky, and so the cycle continues. Looking to a future that is going to be drier for longer than we can remember, it seems insanity to replace this vital rainforest component of the water cycle with dead storage that has a high surface evaporation. These small fragmented patches of biodiverse forest are our last buffers against climate change. If constructed, the Dunoon Dam would be three times the size of the existing Rocky Creek Dam, relying on a catchment area half the size, and overflow from the existing dam to fill it. Not only is the infrastructure extremely destructive, the logic that drives it is flawed. Destroying this pristine rainforest patch will only perpetuate the problem.
The Widjabul Wia-bal have been caring for this country since time immemorial, and in turn it has cared for them. Their message is clear – ‘NO!’ to the irreversible destruction of their remaining cultural heritage, the flooding of the graves of the Ancestors. This Country here cares for us all – it nourishes us with soil to grow food, and water to sustain us and she gives us shelter, safety, joy, support – home. We have a responsibility to care for this place as it cares for us. Will you pay your respects and step up and protect it?
Respect for Country, respect for each other.