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May 27, 2024

Commemorating ten years since V Day at Bentley

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It’s ten years today since a wave of relief spread through Camp Liberty at Bentley, when those gathered discovered that the riot police would not be coming, and gas company Metgasco was being referred to ICAC by the NSW government.

This was the culmination of years of organising and protest across the Northern Rivers against CSG and other forms of unconventional gas development, and led to a complete victory a few months later, when the threat of gas – in this corner of Australia at least – was removed.

Blockaders and friends are today gathering at the Bentley rail trail parking area, within sight of where the drama unfolded, to remember the significance of the anti-gasfields struggle, both for the Bentley valley and the wider region.

Speakers will include democracy campaigner and protest veteran Aidan Ricketts.

Exhibition

This afternoon at 4pm there will be an exhibition opening at the Richmond River Historical Society’s temporary pop-up gallery in Lismore, at 106 Molesworth Street.

‘Showing up and making history: Bentley Blockade’ has been curated by Adele Wessell and Aidan Ricketts from SCU, along with Heather Wood from the Historical Society.

There will be contributions from the Knitting Nannas Against Gas, Elly Bird, Marny Bonner, Judi Emmett, Chris Fisher, Felicity Holmes, Cloudcatcher Media, Glenys Ritchie, Brendan Shoebridge and Marcelle Townsend-Cross.

Celebration

Following the exhibition launch, tonight at 6pm there will be a celebration event at the Hotel Metropole in Lismore, with an open mic, music and poetry, connecting what happened ten years ago with the latest environmental struggles in the Northern Rivers.

Later this year, in October (when the Lismore Workers Club auditorium reopens after major flood repairs), there will be a screening of the cinematic version of Cloudcatcher Media’s epic project Confusing Them With Our Joy, which tells the story of the Northern Rivers gasfield blockades.

Cloudcatcher Media has released a new bonus short film today to commemorate V Day at Bentley, featuring Luke Vassella’s wonderful song ‘How Long?’:


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