Editorial January 27th 2023
Welcome to this week’s editorial, Another Australia Day comes around. And once again, as I have done for many years, I reflect on what it must feel like being a first Australian and reflecting on the wave after wave of invasion that have landed these shores. I wonder at that first day where a local was sitting by the shores and watched the first human arrive ashore, alighting from a canoe and kissing the ground, happy to have survived the paddle—or the long walk if that was the case. I can imagine the conversation between two wallabies watching on “Oi, Bruce, what do you make of that?” Bruce, being the older reflected on the sight and responded “Yeah, heard about this mob. They have been on the move since they left Africa. They are pretty basic so it shouldn’t hurt having a few of them. Bit worried about their luggage though. Seems like they want to ignore our quarantine rules and bring in dogs and rats”. So the First Mob arrived, with their barely domesticated dogs and the rats that came in the luggage. And with them came manmade fire. And they burnt far and wide. Fortunately their impact was minimal. It was going to take a lot more than a handful of humans to change the face of a continent. For nearly 60,000 years it seemed like everyone got along but the locals remained distant. After all it was their country first and the First Mob of invaders weren’t invited. The next wave of invaders was by ships. A different mob all together. This mob wore shoes and clothing, had weapons and a very nasty disposition towards trees, rivers, animals, the First Mob of humans and any animal they encountered. They even bickered and fought amongst themselves carrying on like a bunch of criminals. To an outsider these newcomers were a blight with the singular intention of ruining what was a pretty nice place before they came. They bought cows, goats, horses, more rats. They bought their weapons and a self entitlement that declared they now had mandate to do whatever they wanted. The strangest thing of all was that they said that they could do so because of “laws” handed down by the “king”. The wildlife and the First Mob recognised that things were about to change for the worse. And they were right. More invaders came, wave after wave, and rather than considering how they might live with the environment these invaders put tools to use and changed the environment to suit them. Hundreds and thousands of trees were felled, the ground was mined, the rivers polluted and the wildlife and First Mob driven to cover. Over the last 250 years those most recent invaders bred like the rabbits that they introduced, even outnumbering the foxes, cane toads, pigs, cats and hundreds of other species they have brought to those shores. But that wasn’t enough. They needed more, so the call went out and more and more came. By ship and by air. And every newcomer spelt the demise of yet another small corner of this vast land. But it turns out the land isn’t vast enough to cope. There wouldn’t be all that many places left in this vast continent where a human hasn’t had a dump or left behind plastic, glass or metal. There wouldn’t be a beach or river that could be called pristine and you would be hard pressed to find evidence of the Australia that was before humans arrived. The fact is that each and every mob, from the First Mob to the most recent arrivals, have played their role in changing this vast land from coast to coast including its rivers and seas. And instead of all coming together on Australia Day to consider what we have done to our land we instead resort to celebrating what it is to be an Australian, we argue about who was First, who was Second, Third and Fourth as if it is important whilst we ignore the fact that we humans are all the invaders, and indifferent and ignorant to the legacy of what we, collectively, have done, and continue to do, to a land that was once pristine. But nothing will change. The Great BBQs will continue and the flags will fly. So too will the arguments and the discord. And tomorrow we will continue to burn, to clear, to mine, to pollute, to consume, to destroy, because that is our nature. Human Nature. Invader’s nature. If there is to be One Voice then let’s use it to heal the damage we have done, and continue to do, to the very environment where we live. Every Australia Day I try to imagine Australia, the continent before the arrival of the human invaders from across the seas ……………... What a remarkable place Gondwana must have been. And then, like many others, I go down to the shore and pick up the bottles, the cans, the empty prawn bags, cigarette packs and discharged firework wrappers left behind by so many indifferent Australians …. on Australia Day. Until next—lei
Above: Welcome to the Nature Coast - sadly this is playing out on every beach, in every park and by every creek and river. And NO, they aren't just visitors. Posted on the Tuross Head Community Notice Board "If any one who knows a group of grubs that drink Mountain Dew, Carlton Dry and wear cheap designer rip off sunnies let them know they left their possessions on the Ocean side of Coila Lake! If they leave their address on this page I will gladly return them!"