Camp Platypus Blog
This page consists of website updates from those who were in the Obi Obi campaign Camp Platypus located inside the construction site at 2-4 Bunya Street Maleny. They were posted daily during the stand-off in mid 2005. Campers braved the cold winter nights for a cause they believed in.
13 July 2005 - Late Evening - The final update
Hello all you caring fellow human beings.
Yes, yesterday was quite a blow and today was the aftermath.
Whilst spirits were somewhat low and great sadness prevailed, we the town, the people from all over maintained a continous presence from 5am until 6pm outside the fence and from across the creek, reporting everything unkosher to whatever authority, undoubtely making some some poor public servants mighty sick of yet another bloody complaint/service request/inquiry from Maleny, and also making the massive police presence at least earning some of the thousands of dollars of wasted wages....
Don't feel too sorry for the government, if the designated authorities had done their jobs properly in the first place we wouldn't have any reason to keep harping on about it all, so go for it folks, let it rip, give it to them, this is a truly outrageous situation, that could so easily still grind to a complete hold, if Beattie would instruct Boyle to exercise her "Call - in" powers".
Desley Boyle also holds the Planning Portfolio, what we are dealing with here in reality is a Bad Planning decision and Boyle, Mackenroth,Welford and Beattie can still choose to end this dilemma any day.Always remember that fact and never forget, that in interstate places governed by Labour, projects of this type in key catchment areas would never ever get the approvals as Woolies/Cornerstone did up here! No way you could do this sort of thing in key watersheds of Warragamba Dam near Sydney or in the Dandenongs near Melbourne, no go, it is simply not negotiable, it's been outlawed long ago!
This State Government let Maleny down, big time, because their single state agency with a major input into this planning application for this project, the Dept Of Main Roads (DMR) stuffed up repeatedly and this is an irresponsible case of "gross negligence". And since the QLD Water Act and The Integrated Planning Act are shaped in such an insidious way to favour this type of development instead of scrutinising it, communities like us loose out. That is unacceptable and we don't have to wear it. Don't worry to much more about the Nature Conservation Act, it is one of the lowest ranking ACTS of all acts in the QLD law system, and so is the Environment Department (EPA) sorry to say.
Beattie and his mob are on a major growth drive and they ignore anything that could stand in the way of their defintion of progress in the Smart State, what we got here is a dumb decision and a serious defect in their grand plan, they are in denial about it, so we have no choice but to keep hassling them about the solid fact that healthy watersheds are crucial to their other plans because they are a vital part of the overall infrastructure. A commercial project in the location as the Maleny case highlights, will be permanent proof of their stupidity and their negligence in fulfilling their " Duty of Care". It is only a matter of time until the relevant laws would have been streamlined to this level of modern-day Catchment Management and then Cornerstone/ Woolies / Unitons application would have never been successful in the first place nor in the courts either.
So today down by the Obi, we were always there with an information table, comforting people, encouraging, advising, liaising.....and of course some more singing... you wont believe it but we had police officers inquiring when she would be back for more, so there you go.... The day started with Caloundra Council fixing the water leak in the centre of the main road, then Energex rocked up to fix the power connection to the building site and various officers from QLD Parks& Wildlife Service checked up on various aspects of the overall preliminary construction works. The symbolic Twin Bunya is still standing after suffering the demolition of the famous treehouse and some serious trimming, all performed courtesy of the QLD police force, until we did too much whinging about it.
All sorts of unexpected folk stopped by today, and plenty of hardy supporters arrived throughout the day so that managing director Mr Quinn (yes he was on site all day) never was in any doubt that every aspect of their operations was being monitored and recorded. Thanks to those who came to the site today, at one stage it looked like more heavy machinery deliveries were imminent, but perhaps because of Energex's work, they couldn't enter.
Now for those of you who do not live far from the site, if you hear noises at night and you assume it could actually be work on the site taking place after the officially approved hours of 6am to 6pm Mon - Sat we need photographic evidence of it or you ring people that are prepared to be a witness at that time to testify what you are reporting. Then we can follow it up legally all the way.
Also if any of you are interested in Workplace, Health & Safety aspects, feel free to inquire if police based on the actual building site do / or not require a " Blue Card" and Hard Hats etc...the usual pre-requisites when being on an official construction site. Most of them were happily getting a tan today and taking it easy since there wasn't much to do except for hassling and booking cyclists without helmets or fining motorists for all sorts of misdemenors, poor buggers, they were just so bored.... couldn't help themselves but book a few......
Press Coverage was dominating Sunshine Coast Daily paper and best Courier Mail ever, be sure to check out the cartoon and editorial and Ian's Letter, all on the same page and page 3. Check out this website's links page for details.
Meanwhile Folks hang in there because this story is far from over...
For a greener Planet... The Obi Protest Team.
13 July 2005
All was quiet at around 5am until police in cars, paddywagons, on motorbikes and minibusses arrived in big numbers. Once dawn broke it was obvious that police again outnumbered the 20 something protesters in overwhelming numbers.
Hutchison's workers and Director Quinn were treated to the usual welcome, a line of blue protecting them from pesky, placard waving objectors and then everyone returned to their postings, quite pathetic really.
CH7 and ABC radio and the Courier Mail Photographer are present hoping for a bit of....conflict, dear oh dear, they gonna be so bored, since we are so passive and polite, not very newsworthy.
May I repeat the main sugestion to anyone who wishes to do something constructive right now, call - back radio and letters to the editor, or the Sunshine Coast Daily's feedback line on 1800 244 654 or email them on email@example.com with your views on anything, especially the 100 plus police presence.
Hutchinsons was observed doing some watersampling this morning with a dirty old bucket, wonder what this will do to the test results....
Another suggestion to follow up is to continue ringing Caloundra Council to report the waterleak in the centre of the mainroad outside 4 Bunya St alleging it is a traffic hazard and should be fixed prior to any more heavy vehicle traffic being allowed on site, we don't have much water to waste in Maleny.
And it could be time for a phone call or letter to Police Minister Judy Spence inquiring why so many police are being misused this way instead of assisting real traffic problems and chasing crime elsewhere.
Be ready for an early start on Thursday to welcome another day in "paradise"......
Cheers, The Campaign Team.
12 July 2005
Late evening. Congratulations Everyone ---what a major team effort.
I won't say much now because I am tired and overwhelmed like most of you, but I felt proud to notice today's supporters in all their astounding diversity, thanks to each one of you for making today a bit more bearable, simply by "bearing witness", a very important old Quakers custom.
Wednesday could be a continuation of more of the same, so if you are up to it and got spare time then consider yourself welcome to bear witness any time and wherever you feel safe down near the site, and if you got a camera, please take some shots from your perspective.
If we play it right and remain persistent, this could be one of the most expensive construction sites in QLD.
If you consider that the amount of police was being misused today, please consider lodging a formal complaint with the local MP and with Police Minister Judy Spence.
Don't panic about the missing signs and banners, they are safe elsewhere tonight and will return in the morning. We just didn't wanna risk loosing any more goodies than what we have already.
Have a good rest everyone, Cheers.
12 July 2005
A sad day for our platypus colony, the rights of animals everywhere, the obvious might of large corporations and the sickening level of collusion between politicians and big business in Queensland against the wishes of the ordinary people.
Police remove protesters one by one
First, we want to congratulate every single person involved in this morning's removal from Camp Platypus - WE WERE FANTASTIC! The singing, the toning, the passive resistance and the ENORMOUS BANNER on the other side of the creek almost brings me to tears. In fact it has.
This is only Day One. We can return every single day - can 150 police?
We have some great video footage of Quinn looking like - well - Quinn! Flanked by police, smirking and giving the thumbs up - poor excuse for a human being. I am a little too emotional to say much more - the site of that huge excavator starting its work has left me feeling hollow.
Resolute protesters awaiting for the police to arrive at dawn
11 July 2005
At dawn on Monday morning, all is quiet and at ease at Camp Platypus, NO Eviction!
As at 8AM members of the public (mostly local ratepayers) were gathered outside the front fence prepared for whatever and enjoyed watching a sunrise instead. Everyone is relieved that the gusty winds have died down and at Camp not much damage was suffered because of it.
As I was leaving another supporter who is also a small business operator was attepting to revive the former embassy by setting up a new tent out the front, so once this effort is completed we welcome anyone with spare time and energy to assist in staffing this information post out the front.
This time around thanks to the police and security guards it should be far easier than last year to remain safe in this front position. A shift in the info tent will especially suit those supporters who are reluctant to "trespass" in order to enter the actual Camp, out the front you are on Council - owned land and anyone is entitled to spent whatever much time they wish without repercussions.
Maintaining a continous presence at the info tent is most important because it is ideal for sharing information and updates as well as encouraging sympathetic visitors from elsewhere to do a letter to Premier Beattie or to a newspaper etc. Supporters who are elderly or with disabilities will find it easier to visit without the access difficulties of the current camp trail.
As for Maleny / Woolies related news coverage there are 2 excellent letters in our favour in the Sunshine Coast Daily paper, I don't know of anything else.
Although there have been false alarms over the last few weeks, a very sound source has suggested that the police will move in early tomorrow morning or Wednesday morning, but more likely tomorrow. The Police Minister's statement today lends weight to this.
Be early, we're talking 6am - so get an early night and we'll see you there tomorrow.
Enjoy your day and see ya around.
Regards, The Camp Platty Team.
10 July 2005
Sunday afternoon. Some folk claim four members of a Tactical Response Team have been spotted around Maleny, no confirmation yet from police Liaison person.
Had a good day on site with Aboriginal people and had live sightings of a Platypus below camp half an hour ago and also from the viewing platform at Coral St. Wind is still bad.
Two of us went to a National Party function at Peachester to meet new Senator Barnaby Joyce and he agreed to be available for a public meeting at Maleny some time in the near future to present his take on the Woolies/ Coles dilemma.
Be ready for stand by early tomorrow morning for possible alert. Cheers, the team.
10 July 2005
Everything is peaceful down at Camp Platypus, main challenge today is to brave the howling winds.
A big Thank You to a local restaurant and to another local small business person for their donations on Saturday night and Sunday morning, much appreciated.
A more balanced article in Saturday's Sunshine Coast Daily and a great cartoon too! We are looking forward to the indigenous ceremony here today.
Have a pleasant day, Camp Platty team
09 July 2005
Good Morning Everyone and a glorious one it is indeed.......if you care to look outside.......
Another night passed uninterrupted back at Camp Platypus with the bubbling Obi Obi and someone softly snoring in the background, all calm on the Twin Bunya frontline as of 6.30am today. After a pleasant evening listening to the amazing performance by Barry Charles we wandered back to base to a cosy huddle around the fire with 2 newcomers who hadn't visited us down there before.
Thanks to some empowering re-enforcements from the various gullies and dells of the vast Conondale Valley, we are able to maintain our 24 hour / 7 day a week vigil down here, all true-blue locals and ratepayers too, in case anyone rambles on again about 'rent-a crowd', haven't seen any of paid outsiders of any kind, can one find them in the yellow pages???
A big Thank You to the fire wood donators and the wonderful dinner deliveries, it was so delicious and warmly appreciated. And yes, our very big Thank You's also to the hardworking IT specialists behind the scenes like legendary Gary, Steve, Sammy and others, may you be richly rewarded for all your efforts and contributions once the green heavens descend upon us......
The Boys and Girls in blue out the front are still sticking to their part of the agreement and aren't interfering in any intimidating or other ways, so everyone appreciates the 'live and let live' type of respect and tolerance for one another.
We had some newspaper coverage in yesterday's Courier Mail and even in the Australian, surprise, surprise....but as for TV I wouldn't know since I don't get near one.
The Camp Platty team
08 July 2005
Another fairly chilly night is over and we rose to a new dawn in good spirits down at Camp Platypus.
As of 6.30am this morning all was quiet and peaceful down there with the first early birds crawling out of their cosy "burrows" to gather by the fire place. Everone still seems very relieved about yesterdays' grand show of support. It certainly got Maleny and the cause excellent coverage on all TV networks, culminating in Veteran fighter Norm doing a marvellous interview on the ABC TV news at 7pm.
While we were engaged holding the front in Maleny, one of our people was down in Brisbane's CBD attending the first of several hearings at the Industrial Magistrate's Court where Hutchinson's have to answer to alleged breaches to the Workplace Health & Safety Act over a slab collapse at one of their shopping centre construction sites last year in southern Brisbane. The hearing was adjourned to the 6th of October but our Maleny representative managed to intercept Hutchinson's legal eagles to inform them face to face that Maleny will be watching this intriguing case very closely as well. They appeared most astonished at this news and rushed away with scornful grins on their faces, but hopefully they'll report this incident back to Hutchinson's board of directors and to Quinn which is what our rep requested them to do.
Legal warnings have gone out to some of our protest's key leading figures. Some people may be intimidated by these tactics. It is vital that we remain outspoken at every opportunity, but think about what you say. If you engage in interviews or public speaking, stick to the more neutral but legitimate facts on the overall issues. You will be on safe ground re-quoting government-issued press statements or any general facts on bad planning / traffic/ watershed management etc. By this tactic, Hutchinson's will be hard pressed to engage in any underhanded legal behaviour. We need to uphold our right of freedom of speech!
Camp Platypus welcomes donations of firewood and hot food whenever anyone got any to spare. Thank you and please help pass the word on the public meeting tomorrow 1pm at Maleny's Community Hall to whoever you happen to be talking to. People from outside the area are most welcome to attend, this issue is bigger than just Maleny, it affects many other towns across Australia.
Cheers, The Camp Platty Team
07 July 2005
Thanks to everyone who went to the site today. Media estimates range from "more than 200" to nearly 400 people actually on the site, in defiance of yesterday's eviction notice. Our photos show about 250 on site and another 120 on both sides of Bunya Street and on the bridge. Most wore "I Won't Shop There" stickers, and, as usual, visitors enthusiastically agreed with our fight and took stickers. Woolworths' "noisy minority" lie has been blown to bits.
Whatever ... there were too many to arrest, the midday camp eviction did not happen and the Public Order and Safety police stayed around for our mass singing (but did not join in). They left about 3.30pm.
However, the eviction can still happen at any moment and we should be ready to attend in large numbers again at short notice. For those in town, listen for Robbie's old fire engine siren, which will mean "get down there quick!" Don't forget Saturday's public meeting at the Maleny Community Centre at 1pm.
06 July 2005
The 'prospecting' action this morning was hilarious, and I think brilliantly run by Matthew and Laurie and ..a team of actors.. some wonderful dressing.... Wonder what the media will do with it. There were just enough people on the site.
I arrived about 7AM and the Security guys were sure they weren't going to let us on site. Said we would have to go back to our lawyers... Somehow Matthew organised it with them that we virtually 'took over the site'. The roll was called, and we marched on and proceeded to scratch in the dirt, find seeds, black opal, gold, uncover archeological objects, clean up the burnt platypus remains... burnt by drunken vandals from the Hotel. (This was not the Prospector's job, but we felt the time was right.)
Then the drummers and chanters arrived. I'm not sure that was appropriate accompaniment for a prospecting event... but as someone said, it's all madness and mayhem. The security guys stood around and watched. I left at Smoko...mainly tea and bickies...thanks, Platypus People, for a great morning!
This is the Permit we each had:
Permission to undertake work subject to a prospecting permit
I, Matthew Smith, being the holder of parcel Prospecting Permit No. 50691, issued in the State of Qld hereby authorize (insert name) in the capacity of my employee/contractor'agent (delete those not relevant) to enter the land described as Lot 1 on SP 166473 Freehold Parish of Maleny County march, located adjacent to the Obi Obi, Bunya Street, Maleny, for the purpose of conducting works related to pegging and prospecting for all minerals other than coal.
This permission operates forthwith until I direct otherwise or until 22/9/2005, whichever comes first. The permission is subject to you complying with the attached directions and conditions.
05 July 2005
All is well but tense at Camp Platypus this morning, however the Camp still exists and still encourages anyone to drop by. DO NOT BE intimidated by the security guards out the front near the access traill, they will not stop anyone, they are just there to be seen and keep vandals and whatever at bay, we still have access, especially to the Bunya site camp.
There could be a public meeting this coming Saturday at the Hall, once the booking gets confirmed. If successful, check the next Range News for further details.
The prospectors turned up this morning, kitted out appropriately. Security refused them entry to the site but after a warning of 'all reasonable force' actually stood around while the twenty or so prospecters entered the site and started prospecting. When I left, the prospecters, geotech folk, plant identifiers and platypus burrow watcher were all on site, working away.
4 July 2005
Well, we've done it, passed another milestone with another crucial night out of the way, no raid, no eviction but 2 false alarms.
As of 9.30am this morning all was alive and well with the local Whip bird greeting us close by, not often one hears him/her so close to camp. Temperatures were bearable (although quite cold) and spirits are up.
The choir practise on Sunday was enjoyed by many and it was great to see some of our Mairwarr folk back in town for the occasion. Most people hung around for the BBQ and other goodies, thank you Peter and others for all those yummy donations of sausages, cakes, dips etc. A large number came to mark this special occasion and did so with a stunningly colourful sunset as a fitting backdrop.
Meanwhile, have a good day.
Cheers. The Camp Platty team.
2 July 2005
Isn't it gorgeous feeling some hot sun on ones body again, at long last before we too turn mouldy from all the rain. Everyone at camp is certainly taking advantage of this dry spell and airing and drying whatever needs to be done.
The campers would like to express their gratitude for the scrumtious donations of hearty tucker and other goodies, it makes life much easier in wet conditions.
Today's Courier Mail and Sunshine Coast Daily have extensive coverage on us but rather one-sided, some hints that some of our devoted campers are "rent a crowd" etc, may I state for the record as someone who is often day & night at camp and who happens to know a wide cross section of people from Maleny and from elsewhere on the Range and Hinterland, 99% of all campers and most drop-ins and other visitors are definately locals - regardless of what certain journos and other critics are claiming. Yesterday's local CH7 news were extensive and colourful.
It would be good for any of those who feel inclined to do a little letter to the papers via their letters pages, is to emphasise that this action unlike many other protests is driven by more issues than just the Platypus, and our action is supported by an unusually high proportion of senior citizen and by local ratepayers.
Friday's Australian had an excellent article on page 7 titled "Vegie Growers' Rough Patch" which contains some very relevant info, suitable fodder for a letter to the papers, otherwise the good old traffic issue should be highlighted at every opportunity as well. And thanks to those who did get letters in, well done!
This Sunday 3rd of July everyone is hereby cordially invited to 'choir practise' at 4pm outside the front fence, followed by a BYO BBQ to celebrate 2 weeks of Camp Platypus survival. Please pass the word around to others who may not be on e-mail.
For those who haven't had the opportunity yet, bring your gear and join us for a night of camping under the stars, as Sunday night/ Monday morning could be another crucial phase in this whole challenge. Whatever happens on Monday, always remember this battle will not finish there, compliance is the name of the game once an eviction does take place, and that alone can be a very lengthy and tedious process for the developers and the supervising authorities.
Righto Folks, have a great weekend and see ya at the barbie...... Cheers, the Platty team.
1 July 2005
Please don't get too carried away with the Monday morning 3am thing. Are they really going to tell us the truth about strategy to remove us without media fuss. The only security is the media presence. If only we could have our own video people on the spot. Is there anyway of having some kind of plan for people who have video equipment?? I haven't run this past any people to check on putting out this question. I only have a short time on the computer per day.
Sorry to any people who are travelling long distances for 'false 'alarms', I hope your efforts have been rewarded in other ways. Really we do need some more people to come down and visit whenever you can. There are times when numbers get a bit low, please don't feel that its all got cliquey and you aren't part of it. If you're there then you are part of our team! You only need sensible shoes for the mud track in by the fence or else come in the other side next to the pub and traverse the non muddy path.
For people who are worried about being caught on spy cameras and having their number plates taken and identity checks etc. Well, I think that its really sad if all our good efforts over 3 years drop off because people are intimidated by such tactics. My position (as a person with 'assets to loose' ) is that I will not be cowered by threats of legal retribution. Here is where I stand firm, whatever it takes, as my response to the physical nature of the site, and to Globo-Corporatisation.
Woolworths as a retailer to the public is a vastly different kettle of mischief than is Gunns in Tasmania, The buyers of wood chips in Japan are not going to be put off by such legal action, whereas a certain proportion of the Australian public would find such legal action against us quite below the belt - a town trying to defend its wildlife and create a space for a park!!! Any such action would in my opinion end the way that Mc Libel did for Mc Donalds, in terms of public opinion. I have also heard that when such threats have been bought in the USA they have fizzled. (I'll ask around for back-up confirmation of that information).
See you at Camp Platypus.
1 July 2005
A nervous night for about 20 who stayed at the camp. Two false alarms...
11pm ( 2 shadowy men in black seen near back of pub) and 2am (WIN TV reporter arrived in what looked like an unmarked police car). After producing ID, the reporter took vision on site and his bright light awoke a lot of people in fright. Made us feel like 'roos in a spotlight. Took turns to sleep and check various possible police assembly sites around town.
4am the local police car arrived, driven by an officer in TRG gear. This officer took over surveillance for 10 minutes while the regular officer went to the public toilet in Tesch Park. Workplace Health and Safety would be impressed. Means that TRG guys are lurking in the background.
Just how much taxpayers money is being devoted to this over the top police para-military presence in our small, quiet country town? Woolworths whistles and the Qld Police come running. A local small business would be hard pressed getting a single police car to turn up after a break-in, let alone bus loads of well equipped storm troopers!! One rule for the rich and one for the rest of us?
Dawn brought clearer skies but light rain followed at 7am. Obi is running swiftly after heavy rain mid-evening. Thirty-plus supporters gathered outside the site from 5am. More media turn up. Still no action by 11am. Some went home to clean up, dry out and return later.
We remain vigilant. The Camp Platty team.
1 July 2005
Camp Platypus as of this morning was alive and well despite a few false alarms during the night.
Most folks were somewhat nervous after an unexpected hour long visit by two police officers during lunchtime. Since we didn't know how to interpret this visit, it was decided at camp to have everyone available on stand-by because there was a real possibilty of an eviction either late in the afternoon or during the early morning hours. So apologies to anyone who felt annoyed about being activated again, but in these times of great uncertainty it is impossible to predict when the next strike might occur. Signs yesterday did strongly indicate a chance of an imminent eviction, but perhaps we are just "being played with" by bored law enforcement officials who want to be here even less than we do.
Jan and Ella at Camp Platypus
Whatever happens, be assured, the decision to call everyone is never taken lightly but when there are grounds for strong suspicion, it is better to be cautious than sorry. If we survive tonight without another threat, there might be no activity until early Monday morning, and by early I mean as early as 3am, because this is one of the times one of the police officers mentioned repeatedly! So we are being very very wary and alert in the small hours - particularly on Sunday night / Monday morning!!
Thanks and bye for now.
30 June 2005
Rain and more rain, though the forecast says it will clear. The Obi Obi is rushing past in flood. Love it to come right up over the whole site, as it has in the past. Maybe Nature herself can convince Woolworths.
Last night one of us made a boxful of fake spy cameras. They look so real that we are thinking of offering them to Queensland Police or maybe Woolworths. When the rain eases we'll attach them all round the site. Helps to keep everyone smiling at something that's really rather sinister. Word back from Greg Quinn that he would like to postpone the public meeting. That's a pity.
About 70 came to the site late Thursday when an alert was activated. This followed a visit by two PORT (public order response team) or is is PORG (group?) police officers about midday who told us eviction was imminent. Asked when this would occur one said "3am" several times. He said that when it happened, campers would be asked to leave and those who had not left after five minutes would be arrested.
Light relief, one camper erected some of our 50 fake spy cameras. Two are only a couple of metres from the surveillance car, aimed at the driver who seemed unamused. About 6pm this resulted in police calling Channel 10 to ask if they had left surveillance cameras on site. Our fakes must be more convincing than we thought!
30 June 2005
We all survived another wet and windy night down there and are deeply grateful for every break in the rain. At least we are not getting near as much a deluge as what they've been copping on the Gold Coast and in Northern NSW, or we would have had to evacuate by now.
No incidents occured last night nor this morning, an electrician was seen checking out the vandalised (another recent casualty of the rampaging teenies and not us) powerpole, but I left camp then, so I don't know if he'd do much during the rain.
A carload from Maleny went for an outing yesterday to visit one of our "favourite" supermarkets for a bit......you can guess the rest. All went well and it was a very civilised and peaceful protest. A big thank you to the carowners and driver for offering us this delightful distraction from the drizzly monotony.
A huge Thank You for the continous hot food donations, truly appreciated !!!! Todays highlight would have to be Don Greenfield's spot-on cartoon in the Range News! We hope the Maleny Voice website can get permission to show it to everyone around the world who read our blog.
Apart from generous donations of mulch / woodchips, dry blankets, socks, umbrellas, gum boots, fresh campers are hereby cordially invited.
This the real life local version of SURVIVOR, folks! Better than any TV fakes or dull scout camps, this is THE REAL THING. Please pass the word to anyone who is bored with life, any lazy schoolage teenagers who get on your nerves, anyone who lacks a bit of variety and adventure in their lives, this is your chance...... Despite the weather and the mould one can have fun in the wet in good company, live music, warm fires, fresh showers from the tarp, refreshing winds. Really folks, it can be quite cosy down there on the frontline..... Why go to the army, or all the way to Iraq if you can defend your country and heritage right here in downtown Maleny??????
By the way, Noosa Council introduced a Heritage levy with this years' rates for the first time. Seeya around, the team bloggers.
29 June 2005
Another trailerload of straw arrived. Badly needed on the track into the camp after more lovely rain overnight. The food keeps coming from local businesses and the UpFront Club and Maleny Co-Op. We've got enough to feed an army. Just as well as there's often 25 people here at meal times. All top tucker!
People come and go. Some work and come back at night. Today a team of five ladies came and collected all our wet and dirty clothes, sleeping bags and blankets and took them home for a big wash. They came back all clean and dry this afternoon. A real lift in spirits. We've got about 4 tonnes of firewood. The fire is going constantly so we'll need it. A local doctor came down with blankets and hot baked potatoes for everyone. Lots of basic medical supplies too, things like aspirin, but we're all fine. A herbalist drove from Montville to give us a boxful of Chinese remedies, to boost our immune systems. A local masseur comes to give free massages. The support is overwhelming.
Thanks for all the messages of support on the Maleny Voice website. Camp Platty.
29 June 2005
Good Morning Everyone,
The dreaded Wednesday has arrived and as of 6.40am there was literally "no movement in the station", all quiet and soggy down on the frontline. So don't rush since the wet conditions are keeping the commercial predators at bay. As one person was departing the site after an uneventful nightshift one faithful Witta resident arrived for his shift, so constant presence is still being maintained inside and outside the site, which considering the lousy conditions, is a remarkable accomplishment in its own right, and shows the dedication, spirit and commitment of many many people to our cause.
We are quite wary at the day's forecast for more rain and galeforce winds, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that more mulch / woodchips will be donated by some kind souls.
Meanwhile more letters to the editor and ring in's to call back radio would be helpful, especially to highlight the traffic nightmares (an ideal time at the moment to target the Dept of Main Roads once more for its negligent handling of our case, this Dept is currently under heavy fire because of that road surfacing scandal on various Bruce Highway blackspots), so give it to them.
We are also forming a working group to continue on with the traffic / engineering - related angles to the proposed supermarket site, so if you or someone suitable you know of might want to help us, please get in touch.
Thanks for reading!
The camp platty team
28 June 2005
Camp Platypus as of 4.30pm this arvi was alive and well considering the very wet weather, the Obi is rising steadily but camp at this stage is out of reach.
Today's events media wise mostly circled around a gold prospecting license being staked on the site jammin up the works for Hutchinsons, and if anymore hidden cameras were tucked away around the place. " Today-Tonight" was one of the TV teams sloshing through the mud yacking to various people, but I am unsure when it'll be on air.
A Maleny identity was apparently on one of the ABC's morning programs and rumour has it Stan Collard (finally a possibly pro-development voice was found) was another one, but I did not catch it myself, so any ABC listeners out there who could give some feedback on what could have been a groovy contrast session on air......?
And more bits and pieces in the Courier Mail and the Sunshine Coast Daily, news stories in the press are trickling on and on.....
Now if there is anyone who could donate woodchips or mulch to improve the soggy ground around the Camp, deliveries of this kind apart from the usual hot food and dry blanket requests, are very welcome and sincerely appreciated.
One piece of GOOD news, one of the Bunya trees (at the start of the trail leading to the camp) that was cut down over a year ago on that fateful April 14th 2004, is resprouting! Apparently that doesn't happen all too often. So there you go..... perhaps an omen......Stay warm and dry everybody, Cheers.
28 June 2005
Glorious rain, glorious mud. Great article in the Courier-Mail pointing out the Inspector Clouseau situation with police spy cameras (Michael shows some off in the photo). But a worrying piece on the paper's Perspectives page by Urban Development Institute boss Peter Sherrie who calls us urban terrorists and unAustralian. Is he kidding? We're trying to save an Australian icon. Replies written.
Brighter note, a supporter brought a big gas BBQ into the camp. Too much for one of the cops outside. He saw it and used the F word. Should we invite him in for a barbie? Probably not. Word back from police liaison that we are being too friendly to the police and we should not give them any of our propaganda. Hey, we only gave them hot Milo. Visitor said he thought we were all vegetarians. Er, no!
Public meeting with Greg Quinn may be in doubt. Writing to see if he still will talk to us. Visitor made a good point: how can Australia complain about Japan hunting whales when we don't even protect our native wildlife. Quinn has been on radio discounting the prospecting permit. Doesn't seem to realise the implications. Meanwhile our prospector says he has identified rock common in black opal areas. Pat O'Brien called to say he has sent out our plight in Wildlife Protection's weekly ezine, "Wildlife Bytes" which goes around the world to thousands of subscribers. He advised anyone wanting to come and see Maleny's platypus they had better be quick.
The roof tarp has been extended, improving conditions immensely. Someone donated a lot of rubber underlay which has made the ground better too. People seem to be getting into a routine. The "protection squad" hit the sack early and the "nightowls" sit by the fire and sing. Some powerful campaign songs have been composed. A big thankyou to everyone who has helped with hot food, blankets, etc. Most needed are spare gum boots, spare tarps and umbrellas, spare socks,dry blankets and hot water in flasks, food (particularly hot) and vitamin pills.
The quilt project has taken off, and people all over the town and in the camp are busy sewing squares for the Silent Majority Quilt. The theme is: 'What the Obi means to me'. We don't think we'll get any depicting a concrete Woolies! There may be birds, platypus, Bunyas, kids, butterflies, clean water. Poor old ex NP senator Stan Collard was on ABC FM pushing his tired pro-development barrow. He still doesn't get it. We don't need or want another supermarket and especially on top of a protected animal colony.
Bye for now.
27 June 2005
Still raining. Visitors keep coming, including a lot of curious "straight" people. Some surprised to see how "normal" we are and stay for herbal tea. One noticed a cop writing something as she drove off so she backed up and asked if he was noting her rego. He said he wasn't and that he was "just doodling". Then she noticed his partner had what looked like black camouflage paint on his face and she asked what it was. The officer looked a bit embarrassed, wiped his face and said he had been to a party. She came back and told us. What a hoot! we are waiting for Al Jolson to leap out of the bushes tonight.
Pat O'Brien from Wildlife Protection Association of Australia visited. Horrified at what's happening and very supportive. Bloke turned up with a small modular kitchen. Set it up away from the camp under two big tarps. Wooden benchtops, a sink, cupboards - luxury! TV journos turned up to look at the latest spy cameras. We told them about our prospector's permit.
We had a friendly visit from a cop in the afternoon. Must be bored sitting in a steamy car. He took a look at the kitchen, smacked his forehead and muttewred something blasphemous. Maybe thinking they'll need a removalist to get us out of here. Usual Monday night meeting discussed legal and compliance stuff and the prospecting permit.
Interesting letter from Woolworths property manager Peter Thomas in which he said we had not made an offer to buy the site back. He may not know we couldn't make an offer because Cornerstone said it wasn't for sale.
Following up. Hard to keep the guitar in tune in the damp. At least the didjs stay tuned. Some lovely songs in the evening around the fire.
27 June 2005
Well wasn't that a wet night? I sure felt sorry for all these brave souls who endured this downpour in their tents. I checked in with basecamp about 10pm last night and most of our "protection squad" was in bed , but a few "nightowls" were still around the fire with a guitar, all seemed well.
It certainly makes a huge difference having the roof tarp extended so it covers a larger area in the centre of the camp, thanks to Ben, Max and others for showing some foresight and taking initiative to get this done before night fell, it improved life during these conditions immensly, and thanks to the carpet and the mulch the ground is still quite managable.
Now some quick clarification when you as a non - camper want to visit " Camp Platypus": all supporters of this campaign are always welcome to drop by any day or night time. However if you find on your arrival that the centre ( which usually is the sheltered part of the camp) is already crowded and no vacant chairs are left, then it is propably better not to linger for too long.Some of the campers are more welcoming and attentative to visitors than others, please don't take it personal if you didn't get the warm reception that one sometimes gets, it is normal that some campers are pre - occupied with other matters than looking after visitors or doing " guided tours", remember that some campers are new arrivals themselves and from as far away as Brizzy or interstate, they'll be reluctant to chat much about "the Latest" because they often don't know it yet themselves.
Keep in mind, the MAIN purpose of the camp is to maintain a presence on this most vulnerable part of the site.Therefore if you happen to drop by at a time when not many folks are around the fire and you do have a spare half hour or whatever to just sit there, then please do so, let those who are present know, that you got whatever amount of time to remain in case anyone from there would love to leave camp for a shower , some shopping or whatever, your availability could enable some of the "permanents"to feel at ease to get away and do other things for a while, especially during the day time.
A BIG THANK You to everyone who has helped with hot food, blankets, etc., the most requested items at the moment would be spare gum boots, spare tarps and umbrellas,spare socks,dry blankets and hot water in flasks, food ( particularly hot), vitamin pills,will be all kindly appreciated at any time of day or night. As of this morning all seemed peaceful and quiet down there by the fence as I cruised by, so don't rush, there is no reason for any panic - yet - so far.
For other updates remember that Maleny is still often on the news channels (every half hour on local ABC radio mornings and late afternoon), TV CH 10 at 5pm and local CH 7 + 9 at 6pm, so tune in when you think of it.
Yesterday, as usual, there was plenty on the agenda at the weekly update meeting, some key people who were in meetings with Council, the developer and various government officials reported back on some results to date, so it is looking as good as it can under these uncertain circumstances.There is some support and sympathy out there, but liaison needs to be maintained, and letters/emails, etc, to Minister Boyle to the EPA, and to the Premier are still very important, so keep it up.
It is clear that "Compliance" and overall supervision on whatever happens on site once protesters get removed are the most crucial elements in ensuring that potential future damge gets kept to a minimum. The state government has to yet spell out in detail how they intend to accomplish this, especially after Minister Boyle stated in the media that they (the State) will have staff on the ground to keep an eye on everything being done in accordance with outlined permit conditions, etc. This statement has not been backed up with any detail yet and pressure needs to be maintained on the Queensland Government!
Minister Boyle also stated in the media that Maleny has other issues that need attention too, and I agree but may I also state for the record that to the best of our knowledge we do know that so far that neither she nor her Department has assisted in most of these other matters in any practical way, except for the water pipeline issue.
For other issues/ details, etc talk to any of the known key figures of the campaign, sorry, for not supplying more names and contact details, but in this age of surveillance and paranoia, one has to be so cautious with how much to reveal without landing in the courts down the track....
The local ABC radio just repeated again that they dearly love to interview any Pro-Woolies people so if you know of any, pass the word. Surprise, surprise - they seem unable to find any spokesperson well known in our town to talk up Woolworths!
Upcoming dates to keep in mind are the morning of the 3rd of July - possible action. Sunday 10th of July - a chance to meet a new Senator who has been making lots of noise about wanting to limit the market shares of Woolworths & Coles because of their detrimental impact on Aussie Primary Producers.
Otherwise, do remain on " Stand-by" - especially in the early mornings in case something suddenly happens!
The camp team.
26 June 2005
More rain. Fantastic! Radio news that people in the Adelaide Hills are also fighting an unwanted supermarket that is "going ahead regardless". We'll write encouragement.
Visitor said she was a friend of a Hutchinson worker who had told her they didn't know the site was so sensitive and would never have taken it on. The worker apparently was thinking about asking his union to get involved. We may do that for him. Bloke turned up with a 2m piece of stove flue to extend the smokey short one on the heater. Now we can breathe! Couple more big tarps and chairs donated. The camp is much drier but still soggy underfoot.
Three platys came out in the afternoon just in time for four wet visitors from Brisbane who wandered in (one in high heels!). They were chuffed and supportive. Some campers spent a few hours at the entrance handing out I Won't Shop There stickers to tourists. One elderly couple from WA took a handful. Reckoned country towns in WA were under threat too.
Two campers taking a look around the site noticed two more spy cameras on the pub fence. After the media attention last week you’d think they would have removed them all. Or are the real ones still there? Did a site search for bugs after a bloke came in wearing a cheap (Kmart acryrlic?) beanie and offered us champagne to "celebrate beating those coppers". We picked him as an undercover cop and he left, with his bottle, after wandering around a bit. The site is strictly drug and alcohol free ...except for a couple of bottles of donated red which we turned into gluwein around the fire.
The camp team
25 June 2005
Wet wet wet!
Teeming rain. Most went to morning think tank at Witta. Uteload of much-needed firewood dropped at camp entrance. No idea who left it. A lot of flu among Upfront Club staff but thankfully not among campers. Must be all the donated oranges and lemons! Think-tankers returned just as huge pot of very welcome soup was delivered by supporter. Someone noticed the bunya tree stump at front of the site is resprouting. Does that make it a live native tree and so it can't be removed? Some went home for shower and change of clothes. Most returned. Eighteen in camp at night.
24 June 2005
Well, we got through another incredibly chilly night down by the Obi without any major drama. Uniton was " No Show" this morning, but plenty of defenders were gathering in case something was up. Some of the Co-ordinators will try to catch some politicians today, whilst others will just maintain camp.
Thank you to all those kindhearted folks who have dropped all sorts of useful goodies so we can carry on. Hopefully Uniton wont start anything on a Saturday although technically they could work then too, but Monday is shaping up to be the " Big One" once more, so beware. Meanwhile, keep up letters to the papers, calls to talkback radio and to the local MP and other politicians.
A cosy weekend to everyone, cheers from the camp.
23 June 2005
Thanks to all who turned out today for what proved a forward step in our battle to keep Woolworths off the Obi Obi site. It's on again tomorrow and the same good turnout is necessary from 7am.
A summary of today:
People started gathering at the site from 7am and by 8.30 there were about 80 outside. The only sign of Hutchinson was the occasional ute driving past with a worried-looking driver. A few police cars were circulating. By 9am, police had roped off the road to the back of the pub and bowls club. A senior officer told us the pub owned the laneway and was entitled to close it. We were assured no heavy machinery would be coming through and that was not why the lane had been closed. (We still don't know why it was closed). Several bowls club members and other community people were justifiably angry to be denied access. Soon after 9am Hutchinsons Managing Director Greg Quinn and several utes with workers were let through the roadblock and went to the back of the pub.
Negotiations began immediately between Mr Quinn and our leaders, through the police liaison team. It did not take long for these officers to get the message that Hutchinson have trouble sticking to the same story for more than a few minutes. Our leaders have been aware of this since the Brisbane meeting with Quinn last week. Yesterday, the proposed silt fence (a relatively minor fence) for a while became a site fence, which would require much greater excavation, potentially fatal to the platypus that Dr Les Hall and Antara May's team have scientifically proven are under the site.
The proposed surveying became pickets stuck in the ground, to which we objected, and then just pink marks on the ground...
At this stage the protest group decided to hold firm. By this time our 200 supporters had moved onto the site and right around to the Hutchinson entrance behind the pub, guarded by the usual police officers. The size of the crowd surprised everyone, especially Greg Quinn, who was loudly booed off the site when he came on briefly with two surveyors to make the pink marks that we had already objected to. Our attitude was 'Go away. Do nothing. Just go away'. It must be said that the police, greatly outnumbered, seemed bemused observers. We know that privately many of them agree with our stand.
After Mr Quinn's humiliating withdrawal, it was announced through police liaison that work was over the the day. Not trusting them one inch, the crowd remained about 200 strong. Late morning a bizarre and comical twist - someone noticed four small video cameras on a piece of sawn pine tree which had been stuck on the top of the old saleyard building with sealant or something. The wires to the cameras ran down the back and under the pub, confirming that the pub is not platypus-friendly territory. Surprise.... someone accidentally cut those wires. Then a local hero climbed onto the roof and kicked the log and cameras loose and to the ground. Until then, no one knew whose cameras they were. Enter Constable Plod, who lurched forward to retrieve the fallen cameras and announced: 'You have damaged police property'. Much laughter. All this was recorded by four TV stations and one reporter, Jamie Rule of Ten, likened it to the bad old days of Joh's Special Branch. Spy cameras to record protesters... in 2005... you better believe it! For some it was almost funny.... the cams were 1960s stuff... more Maxwell Smart than anything. Maybe if the Police Department didn't waste so much taxpayers' money on helping developers and people like the Deen Brothers break the law, they could afford modern hi-tech cameras.
While all this was going on, more serious work was underway. Others in the protest group were frantically trying to get council or government officers to come to the site to oversee any work that might start at any moment. The bureaucrats passed the buck and duck-shoved all day.... fortunately they were not needed because People Power stopped work starting.
Most unfortunately, Minister Desley Boyle finished our day on a sour note with a media release refusing to impose an Interim Conservation Order (which would stop work) because "no grounds exist" under the Nature Conservation Act. Weak legislation, weak politicians, weak bureaucrats. Minister Boyle's press release is sobering reading, particularly this bit:
"The platypus is common in the area, the habitat is not essential for a viable population to continue. As well, the platypus is highly mobile and has an extensive range along the waterway."
This directly contradicts the scientific findings of Les Hall and Antara May, the latter having pointed this out succinctly on ABC Radio tonight. Wouldn't it be nice to have a politician filling the role of Environment Minister who genuinely believes in their portfolio and passionately fights for the causes of the environment, rather than just the letter of the law and maintaining the status quo, good feelings of big business, and the old boys club.
Friends, we and the platypus are up against it. Please continue the support and be at the site tomorrow (Friday) from 7am. While Hutchinsons might not show, there's a fair chance our intrepid occupation force may be told to move. They may not go quietly.
22 June 2005
Just letting you know that a bunch of people survived a fairly chilly night down there but in good spirits. Everyone was most relieved that the rain has passed, some hardy campers did literally get washed out and returned to civilisation and their beds one night after discovering all their sleeping gear at camp had gotten soaked during some of the downpours.
Thanks to some wellknown local author plus partner we enjoyed a very warm tasty dinner followed by various hot drinks around the fire in good company with plenty of music and laughter well into the night. Some generous souls donated blocks of firewood which was most appreciated during the longest night of this year. Unexpected supporters paid a visit as the night wore on and some attentative folks insisted that they sighted one of the local platypy paddling past at around 11pm.
The police after making an appearance around sunset and noting down the numberplates of all the parked cars in front of the fence, disappeared again, remaining out of sight for the rest of the night. Thanks to the clammy cold around the Obi even the local teenage larrakins did not linger and we got through the solstice night without any mishaps.
The early morning guards showed up at dawn keeping an eye out for "the unexpected and the unwelcome", but apart from some heavy - duty garbage trucks rumbling by, nothing seemed out of place. Another "No Show" by Uniton, which is fine by us.
Donations of firewood, food, spare blankets will be gratefully received so please pass the word around.
A reminder to everyone: tonight at the local library 3 different presenters will talk about local wildlife matters, one of them is Scott Burnett from QLD Wildlife Preservation Society, who amongst other duties is also in charge of a QLD - wide Platypus survey. There is no entry fee but RSVP's are required, just call the library. Start is at 6.30pm.
Have a good full moon everybody.
20 June 2005
Well all credit to the protesters who weathered the night camped out at the site. Others joined them early this morning but no sign of any construction activity or the police. The police have just made contact with the group at the site and at present seem prepared to leave them be. There needs to be a rotation of people at the site so if you can do a day or a night there, please let people at the site know. I think it would be possible to negotiate tent accomodation with tents that are already erected if you want to bring one. And any offerings of food or hot drinks would be very welcome for those sitting it out.
Some TV and newspaper coverage happened this morning. Some people will be busy today clarifying the legal situation so stay tuned.
19 June 2005
All indications at 9pm Sunday are that the developers Uniton will start work on the Obi site on Monday morning. We hope to see every available supporter to the site from 6am Monday.
There is no plan to go onto the site, but we hope that the presence of a large number of non-violent people will leave the developer in no doubt that mainstream Maleny does not want a supermarket on that site.
A group of about 20 supporters went onto the site this afternoon and plan to spend the night camped under the bunya tree. The purpose was to avoid our being "locked out" by 150 police (rumour) at a starting hour of 2am (rumour).
Uniton director Greg Quinn told the media at 6.30 tonight he had not decided whether to take the project to an alternative site or whether to proceed. On Saturday, he said his decision would be announced at 6.30pm on Sunday.
The charitable view is that he is actually considering an alternative site. However, ominously, Mr Quinn denied he promised on Friday that work would not start on Monday.
The plan is to re-erect the Platypus Embassy on council land outside the site (where it was before) during the day, and this will be a central point for information and support for those camped on site.
On a happy note, we have sound legal advice that Uniton will have to reapply for three environmental permits, two with a good chance of being refused, as a result of the scientific platypus survey and great underwater video widely shown on TV in the past few days.
Go the platypus!
15 June 2005
Be sure to watch 10 News, and probably all other channels, tonight for some uplifting news.
We might have the winning card. A team of scientists led by Dr Les Hall has irrefutable proof that a colony of platypus lives under the supermarket site. It is an offence under the Nature Conservation Act to knowingly disturb a platypus habitat and all indications from the new developers (and the former ones) are that the platypus are not a problem because they are very scarce. Their consultant, who did not even get into the creek, says there is a .001% chance of hurting or killing a platypus; our evidence shows there is a .001% chance they WON'T (it's like a Swiss cheese down there!)
We have sent the evidence, carefully documented since last September, to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Environment Minister Desley Boyle, seeking their urgent intervention.
The team has asked that the developers, Uniton Pty Ltd, obtain a damage mitigation permit from NPWS before starting work. Obviously, we hope such a permit would be refused.
The team, with veterinary biologist Antara May doing the cold, wet work in scuba gear, helped by Matthew Smith, found more than 50 platypus burrows in the Obi Obi Creek bank along part of the site perimeter. A team of helpers included platypus researcher Graham Kell (BSc in natural resource management) and renowned wildlife cameraman Clint Hempsall ... some tireless "platy people" and others.
Les says that in 40 years' research on platypus he has never seen such density of burrows. He has spoken eloquently and with passion to the media. The developers have been told the exact locations of the burrows, all precisely fixed by GPS settings, and photographed from above and below the water. (This remarkable vision will be on Channel 10 tonight).
The platy were frolicking beside the site in the rain this morning... unusually late, in daylight. Do they know something?!