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save the Blue Tier

no logging

Image of Sylvia Gray

Sylvia Gray photographed at the Mothers day picnic at Lottah.

She has been charged with blockading trucks removing logs from the Anchor Road coupe on 19 April 2004.

Defendant was arraigned on 3rd June at St. Helens and on the advice of J. Avery, Q.C., acting pro bono publico, entered a plea of not guilty. Case was set over for further proceedings on July 7, 2004.

UPDATE 2004/07/07: committal hearings has been set for 16 September, 2004

UPDATE 2004/09/16: charges dismissed on technicality

sylvia's view

Everything in the forest is finite, or will be if we do not halt the frenzy of logging that has been increasingly self evident in Tasmania since woodchipping began in 1972. Blue Tier is an example of what can occur when, over time, small logging companies become giant corporations listed on the stock exchange. Places where 'economicationalism' is the basic premise. A policy where everything, but everything, is based on economics and profit. Tasmania's forests have not been immune. Once publicly owned forests, these have been handed over by government, under the auspices of the so called Regional Forest Agreement, to now powerful timber corporations.

To these organizations, Tasmania's old growth forests, with trees over four to five hundred years old, are ripe for the felling. After driving their plantation banner in other areas of this island for many years, the companies have now arrived at Blue Tier. Some of its forests already destroyed and plantations already in place.

Yet, not everyone agrees the companies should continue this process. Small communities like St. Helens, have developed deep personal feelings for Blue Tier, for it has always been a significant part of their lives.

Blue Tier is far more than a forest. It has a history all its own, long before the Europeans came to work it for tin mining. To the Aboriginal peoples who understood the process of life cycles of the natural world, it must have been a place of wonder. Their rockshelters hidden within the forests speak of a long occupation.

Then the discovery and ultimate extraction of tin. The humpies, then houses at Poimena. A school. A playground. A pub. More and more people arriving to mine the rich nodes, driving along tracks where thousands of their horses either died of exhaustion or choked to death in the mud. It has been said that the roads of Blue Tier are macadamized with the bones of these horses.

We need to remember that future generations will want to see the place where the remnant evidence of the Poimena township is still visible, and not find it has been lost under a series of plantations.

There are the Chinese communities that contributed so much to the economy. Travelling all the way from China to Australia, then to Tasmania to mine the tin on Blue Tier. Eventually creating their amazing Joss House at Weldborough. Some of their artifacts are still being discovered on Blue Tier.

The great wheel that drove stampers at the old anchor Mine. Built by men who lived at the mine or at St. Helens. The hauling of the timber to build the wheel. Hauled by bullocks from St. Helens. There are the ponies, weighed down with heavy bags slung across their backs, carrying the rich metal down to the coast to be loaded on the ships waiting at the wharf at St. Helens.

It is for all these things and so much more, I decided to be arrested at Blue Tier. It is for the children. Our grandchildren and their children. It is for future generations that may have to wait another five hundred years before anyone can witness such trees again. The logging of old growth forest on Blue Tier must be stopped to protect what is left of the forest and the so important evidence of the past.

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