Monthly Archives: July 2013

A worthy Australian Conservation Foundation Awardee!

One of Glenn's beautiful photographs- this one of an Acland koala whose trees are under threat from Stage 3 mining.

One of Glenn’s beautiful photographs- this one of an Acland koala whose trees are under threat from Stage 3 mining.

We are so thrilled that our own Glenn Beutel was a recipient of the Australian Conservation Foundation 2013 Peter Rawlinson Award, along with NT Indigenous anti-uranium activist Jeffrey Lee as the winner of the ACF Special Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award..

The ACF website states the following :

“Because of his extraordinary courage and persistence, Acland has been  transformed from an historical footnote into an epic story, drawn on by  many others struggling to protect the places they love from overwhelming  industrial development

While the LNP election promises to protect Acland have since been watered down, there is no doubt that Glenn’s actions are having a political impact at a local, state and federal level. The town site of Acland and its heritage features will be saved, Lagoon Creek will not be diverted and a majority of cropping land will be left unmined. Tens of millions of coal will be left in the ground.

Glenn’s impact reaches far beyond the boundaries of Acland. Strong environmental community networks such as the Lock the Gate movement draw on Glenn for advice and inspiration.

Artists, writers and musicians use Acland as their muse. Glenn has the admiration of photographers and film-makers for both the quality of his photography and his character.

Glenn began documenting the social and environmental upheaval occurring around him via photography — his collection is vast and impressive. His photos have appeared in joint exhibitions and publications, including the Senate inquiry paper on the status of koalas, The koala — saving our national icon.

He has compiled an astonishing social history documenting the struggle of farming versus mining in contemporary Queensland and written hundreds of letters and submissions in long hand arguing for Acland’s protection.

“Glenn has created an amazing archive of an entire ecosystem under threat, from the smallest endangered insects and flowers to the koalas and large bottle trees that Acland is known for,” says photographer and film-maker David Julian Lowe.

“It takes a certain person to have the courage to do what Glenn Beutel has done,” says environmentalist and former leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown.

“He has tolerated loneliness, media attention and despair while watching his beloved community being dismantled. The pressure on him must be immense, yet he has stood fast for his belief that what this coal company is doing is fundamentally wrong in a region rich in agriculture and biodiversity.””

We are proud to know Glenn and to be able to stand by him at Acland. Good on you, Glenn!

World Environment Day June 2nd 2013

OCAA were in attendance at the very wet Lake Annand Park in Toowoomba. Thanks to Kylie for all her efforts on the day. Brochures were handed out, wildlife photographs of Acland were on display and many conversations were had.

Thanks to those who attended and came along and asked questions. We are always appreciative when people stop and engage with us. Even if your opinions differ from ours, it is healthy to debate, discuss the pros and cons and hear all sides of the argument, after all.

We think that people in the city are no different to us, but the problems of mining and CSG are just not in their faces on a day to day basis like they are for those living with mining leases over their farms or land of their families or friends. All Australians want good clean food, with a known provenance. We want our rich agricultural heritage to remain and its biodiversity to be there for our kids or grandkids.

See you at WED in 2014!


Save Cecil Plains Rally against CSG

A number of our group attended this rally held on the 27th April 2013, amidst the cotton paddocks of the iconic black soil plains of Cecil Plains. We were happy to lend support to our friends from SODD including Ruth Armstrong, Graham Clapham and Stuart Armitage and families.

These farms are breath taking in the scope of their fertility and productivity. This is precision agriculture at its absolute best and it was beyond understanding of every one of the 450 attendees at the rally why it was even necessary to be there to defend it. What does this State Government not get? These are serious, profitable and sustainable businesses. These farmers are doing the job they do almost better than anyone else in the world, because their climate, soil and underground water allow it. Why should our elected governments kowtow to foreign businesses like Arrow Energy anyway? They seem to fail to understand the depth of concern for our precious aquifers and for the long term future of communities like Cecil Plains.

It’s the same movie as Acland, just with different actors. Acland is an open cut horror show, while permitting CSG on fertile farmland like Cecil is likely to be a drawn out death by a thousand cuts. The Government is abrogating responsibility for their citizens and future generations for short term gain. Dumb and Dumber…




Acland Anzac Day 2013

The annual Anzac Day ceremony is the biggest day of this community’s calendar. It is all about the spirit of the Anzacs and in particular a recognition of the 88 men and women listed on the Acland War memorial in the Tom Doherty Park. The service has been organised by the same hardworking team for many years, and is a credit to them. The sun shone brightly and the Park looked a picture, thanks to Glenn Beutel’s ongoing maintenance, mowing and gardening efforts.

For those who haven’t been, Acland Anzac day is a gathering of residents, past residents, relatives of Acland servicemen and women, local farmers and school children, miners, Oakey Army Base representatives, church representatives  and visitors from the Darling Downs, South East Queensland and interstate. This year there was a fly-over of helicopters from the Oakey base, who paid tribute to a number of Anzac Ceremonies across the Toowoomba Council Region in this special way. Politicians from all three levels of Government were also in attendance and Alan Jones was in the audience to pay his respect. OCAA and Lock the Gate affiliates attended to show respect and support to what is left of this little place. It is an unique day, as much for the formal ceremony as well as the opportunity to catch with friends over a cuppa next to the pepperina afterwards.

The war memorial and other local heritage attributes were under threat for many years, and New Hope Coal had grand plans to shift the memorial to Kulpi! Thank goodness this will not eventuate in the short term following their revised Stage 3 proposal. We cannot remain complacent however, as applications can be resubmitted, new leases can be applied for and Government and company promises can be broken…

We hope the friendship, conviviality, care and concern for Acland so well exemplified on Anzac day 2013 continues long into the future. We hope to see you there next year.

Heartland and Heroes High Tea

Thank you to all who attended this great event, which was AO was our guest of honour and he spoke of his early years growing up on an Acland district farm and attending Acland State School before completing his secondary education in Toowoomba. What a lot he has achieved in his lifetime; as a teacher, Australian Wallabies Coach and now one of Australia’s most listened to radio broadcasters. He has a phenomenal recall of growing up in the Oakey district with its busy farming life and strong community spirit, perhaps best exemplified by the huge effort required to rebuild Acland following its near total demolition after a 1952 tornado, said to be one of Australia’s worst inland storms. Alan described the boiling green sky and the loss of precious water tanks on his family dairy farm.

Acland still has the same strong community spirit. It has survived the wrecking ball of New Hope Coal so far and the company’s  intent to undermine the entire township, shifting its War Memorial and demolishing its heritage listed colliery. A new virtual community exists at Acland -minus the houses and gardens, the shouts and laughter of children in the school yard perhaps- but with the same determination to face adversity and rebuild in the face of almost impossible odds!

Thank you to Ray Hopper, MP and Mayor and Mrs Antonio who  attended the High Tea with Councillors Sommerfield and Glasheen. A special thanks to Bronwyn and volunteers of the lovely Rosalie Gallery, the press and filmmakers who attended and the colourful Knitting Nanas from Northern NSW. It was nice to see all the older Acland residents enjoying the amazingly delicious cakes, sandwiches, pies and petit fours provided by OCAA. The verdict:  our country towns are worth protecting and there is no match for country cooks!IMGP1221