Lots of Quilts and Questions at Acland.
Tom Doherty Park, Acland has undergone a rejuvenation recently and had its play equipment, signage and seats restored and returned.
Now this may not seem much, but the signs were taken away in 2005 on the eve of the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh opening the Stage 2 New Acland open cut pit. New Hope Coal had bought up the town with the intention of mining the lot. Glenn Beutel, the last resident and the community fought back, and although a revised Stage 3 EIS is still being prepared, the town site and park, war memorial and Heritage listed old colliery is safe for now. At least 2.5 million tonnes of coal per annum will be kept in the ground because of this town site and park, and much more beyond this if the local community have their way.
On Saturday 23 rd Nov 2013 Acland was looking a picture with a crowd of locals, interstate visitors and a bus from Bridging the Divide, Brisbane enjoying many lovely quilts strung between the trees, stalls, children’s art activities and a informative and probing Q and A session we reckon outdid Tony Jones!
Our very special guests at the ‘Historic Acland Day. Alive and Active into the Future’ included ABC Gardening Australia presenter Jerry Coleby- Williams and Glenys Andersen OAM, founder of the Tidy Towns competition and former Director of Keep Australia Beautiful Committee.
Before the official unveiling by the Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor of the imposing ‘Queensland’s First Tidiest Town’ and historic ‘Acland’ railway signage Glenys talked of her fond memories of the park in its hey day’s of the eighties and nineties when it was judged the Tidiest Town over 330 others. She said this return visit was very emotional for her, firstly to see the town as it is today flattened of houses, but also to witness the enduring spirit of those fighting to save what is left of the district. Her Tidiest Town efforts have been credited with instigating the planting of 15 million trees across Australia, including thousands at Acland. What a legacy that is!
Jerry spoke of the power of small actions by many people bringing about massive positive change, and the vital need to look after Australia’s precious soil and water. During the Q and A he also explained simply but beautifully for the audience the importance of soil biomass (mycorrhizal fungi, organic matter and bacteria), which is abundant in normal soils but lacking in reclaimed soils.
The expert panel for the ’Question and Acland’ session including Doctors, Church leaders, environmentalists, farmers, horticulturists and the Mayor.
The day was declared a great success by members of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance who organised the event and our many friends and supporters. A massive scarf over 100 metres long knitted by Nanas from all over Australia now adorns the trees of Tom Doherty Park! Perhaps a woollen scarf is overkill in this sweltering Queensland summer, but it is a wonderful symbol that the small united efforts of many hands and hearts will eventually prevail.
Thanks to 360°org, Bridging the Divide, Knitting Nanas, High Country News and Oakey Champion for their publicity and the many people who made this event a great success.
Please follow this link for some great pictures of the day: