SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Werribee Park and more on 'Trains not Toll Roads'

Sun-worshipping harvester in Werribee Park

I love Werribee Park. We often meet our friend, Alison, there for lunch.
The park features an Italianate squatters' mansion built in the 1870s, beautiful rose and formal gardens, a heritage orchard, sculptures like the one above and an area replanted with vegetation familiar to the Kurung Jang Balluk people who used to live by the Werribee river. But the great thing is that the entire space, managed by Parks Victoria, is open to the public. And it doesn't cost a cent to picnic under its ancient trees, to wander through its gardens, to bird watch or simply to relax and ruminate.

Old urn gracing formal garden bed

Ruminating was exactly what I found myself doing after lunch there yesterday. Watching families, tourists, lovers and racing kids enjoying different aspects of the park, I was struck all over again by just how blessed we are to have such public lands and spaces. And how we must protect them at all costs.
This thought inevitably led back to the Trains not Toll Roads protest. One of the many things we are fighting for there is the protection of public lands. Royal Park, Travancore and Moonee Ponds Creek will all be bulldozed if the East-West Link goes ahead. We can't let that happen.
I was so apprehensive about that prospect last week that I took what for me is a bold step and contacted Yarra Council with a suggestion. Instead of ceasing the Friday morning protests at the end of August as the Council has proposed, I suggested we keep them going indefinitely until we win the battle. Because as Gandhi put it: 'First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.' We can but hope. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Council sees it my way.
One good thing, if they agree with my proposal, is that the mornings are beginning to get lighter and there are even signs of spring in the air. Walking to the protest last Friday morning, this glorious magnolia tree, gracing the 'Offspring' family home nearby, was just one of many that made my day.

'Offspring' front garden 

It seems to me a pity not to capitalise on the the momentum that is obviously building at the Friday morning protests. People are showing up in increasing numbers, and even representatives of  the youngest generation are beginning to make their feelings known.

Committed Primary Schoolers

And some protestors are really getting into the spirit of things by customising their banners.

Barry Humphries - eat your heart out. Andrew with his 'gladdies'

Unfortunately, I can't make it this Friday, but tomorrow is a different story.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 20 August, is a big day for the campaign. Parliamentarians will be returning to work after their winter break, and one of the key items on their agenda is a debate on an Amendment designed to fast track the East-West Link . 
Protestors will be meeting on the Parliament steps (in Spring Street) at 12.45pm. The indominable Rod Quantock, a champion of Public Lands, will be the MC. 

I'm going to jump on the tram and head down town in my lunch break. I hope you can make it too!


Anonymous Kel said...

Sue it is so admirable what you and the other protesters are doing! A suggestion: perhaps protesting at the parks would be a good idea; people who use them may not realise they are set to lose them...this may gather more recruits to the cause.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Sue Jackson said...

Good thinking, 99. There are protests being organised there too on a regular basis, and they are attracting increasing numbers of people. Yippee!

6:03 PM  

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