April 30, 2014
Galilee Road Trip: a mission
The tour brought together the Lock the Gate Alliance, 350.org Australia, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Brisbane, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, the Australian Students Environment Network and Bridging the Divide. The interests and concerns of those on the bus (and in an 8-seater SUV) included environmental management and the preservation of unique ecosystems; community engagement strategies and social justice in rural areas; water resources and management in arid regions; proposals for a rail corridor from Galilee mines to coal ports; coal ports' impact on the Great Barrier Reef; fossil fuels and climate change; fossil fuel transition and divestment; education for sustainability; and stranded fossil fuel assets.
And then there were individuals making a pilgrimage to an 8000-hectare nature refuge that they had heard much about and taken into their hearts, but had yet to see for themselves.
We left Brisbane at just gone 10, rather later than scheduled. While we waited for the second part of the convoy, we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves and explain why we were going to the Galilee. And we tried to pack too much gear into too little space.
It's a long way from Brisbane to Rolleston, just north of the Carnarvon Range: 741 kilometres*, in fact. After an hour and a half there was a long hard climb for the bus up and over the Great Dividing Range escarpment into Toowoomba. There's a fine view over the Warrego Highway threading its way through the Lockyer Valley from Picnic Point Park lookout, 700 metres above sea level. Tabletop Mountain is an ex-volcano (last eruption some 20 million years ago). There are native grasses but no trees on its flat top, rather like the 'balds' in the Bunya Mountains.
As we packed up the bus, hundreds of tiny skittish purple flutterbys couldn't keep still beneath a nearby tree. I promise you there is one in the centre of the photograph below (click on image to make it bigger). My reliable source, who consulted a higher authority, is fairly confident these were Two-spotted Line-blue butterflies.
There only remained to get the group to pose before we got underway. The sky was blue, the bus was still a novelty and spirits were high. For now we were headed just an hour up the road.
Google Maps give a journey time of eight and a half hours. With stops, it took us 11
The post was last edited on 14 May 2014
If you enjoyed reading this – and there are several Galilee Road Trip posts still to come – please share with friends and connections. One of our principal aims in making this journey was to spread the word about the Galilee Basin.