WEBVTT Kind: captions Language: en 00:00:08.929 --> 00:00:12.860 This is 1982 through 1983 over that Christmas period. The blockade 00:00:15.410 --> 00:00:22.760 started on the thirteenth of December and I was arrested on the 16th spent 00:00:22.760 --> 00:00:30.740 Christmas in jail and came back out with and overall 6,000 people came down to 00:00:30.740 --> 00:00:33.769 the little village of Strahan on the west coast of Tasmania to go and join the 00:00:33.769 --> 00:00:44.510 blockade. 1600 were arrested and 500 were jailed and the charge was 'lurking or 00:00:44.510 --> 00:00:49.910 loitering in the forest' it had been a manufactured law brought hurriedly by 00:00:49.910 --> 00:00:55.250 the Premier of the State Robin Gray who was called the whispering bulldozer he 00:00:55.250 --> 00:01:01.160 got elected in May 1982 and within two months the bulldozers rolled into the 00:01:01.160 --> 00:01:08.680 Franklin Valley. That's him up there and just behind him was a little man who's 00:01:08.680 --> 00:01:13.640 puppeteering the premier that's the head of the hydroelectric commission 00:01:13.640 --> 00:01:17.660 commissioner Russell Ashton the Hydroelectric Commission ran Tasmania 00:01:17.660 --> 00:01:23.360 and its economy and its future in those days and across over on the other side's 00:01:23.360 --> 00:01:27.560 Joh Bjelke-Petersen the Premier of Queensland after whom Robert Gray patented 00:01:27.560 --> 00:01:33.380 himself he came down to support the building of the dam and afterwards spent 00:01:33.380 --> 00:01:37.729 a lot of time saying to me I shouldn't go to Queensland when I was helping 00:01:37.729 --> 00:01:42.160 campaign to protect the Daintree forests and the Barrier Reef to interfere in 00:01:42.160 --> 00:01:48.229 Queensland affairs. Up there is a High Court judge next to the HEC building 00:01:48.229 --> 00:01:54.530 which is the judge knocking on the door effectively because this was painted 00:01:54.530 --> 00:02:00.530 before the decision by the High Court to save the Franklin so the judge is about 00:02:00.530 --> 00:02:08.000 to hold judgement over the Hydroelectric Commission the f-111 fighter planes are 00:02:08.000 --> 00:02:13.400 really interesting they used to come down and fly over the jagged terrain 00:02:13.400 --> 00:02:19.160 the Tasman wilderness for practice but the High Court case was coming and 00:02:19.160 --> 00:02:23.300 the New Commonwealth Government needed to get direct evidence that the 00:02:23.300 --> 00:02:27.190 dam was being built photographic evidence new Attorney General Gareth 00:02:27.190 --> 00:02:31.930 Evans decided he would get the Air Force planes as part of their exercise 00:02:31.930 --> 00:02:37.000 to take pictures of the dam to get evidence. It led to a national furore. 00:02:37.000 --> 00:02:42.640 The Constitution says that the Armed Services will never be used against the 00:02:42.640 --> 00:02:50.290 State but Gareth Evans made that decision and he got called Biggles 00:02:50.290 --> 00:02:55.510 afterwards and they also used the famous what was called the streakers lament or 00:02:55.510 --> 00:03:03.130 excuse it seemed like a good idea at the time. Streakers being of course the folk 00:03:03.130 --> 00:03:08.860 who run occasionally naked into the middle of a football ground. And over in 00:03:08.860 --> 00:03:15.850 that corner is the people for the dam and they got banners including take your 00:03:15.850 --> 00:03:21.100 Brown leeches with you that comes out of a the most famous statement that the 00:03:21.100 --> 00:03:26.530 whole dams campaign Robin Gray saying the Franklin is nothing but a brown leech- 00:03:26.530 --> 00:03:32.800 ridden ditch and when he said that he people had seen this beautiful river on 00:03:32.800 --> 00:03:38.470 their television screens have been lots of pictures go out and they knew that he 00:03:38.470 --> 00:03:43.660 was he just didn't get it when it came to beautiful wild places full of 00:03:43.660 --> 00:03:49.930 wildlife while talking about life in wild places here Harold Thornton who was 00:03:49.930 --> 00:03:54.790 this eccentric character who grew up on Sydney went to Amsterdam at the height 00:03:54.790 --> 00:03:59.530 of the flower power of the 1960s and came to Tasmania I don't know whether he 00:03:59.530 --> 00:04:03.820 was attracted by the dam campaign I suspect so and then painted this 00:04:03.820 --> 00:04:08.680 portrait in the wake of the blockade but before the High Court decision there's a 00:04:08.680 --> 00:04:12.730 little portrait of him in the forest he's painted himself over there looks 00:04:12.730 --> 00:04:18.400 like the spoon that run away with the dish here's a man's imagination which 00:04:18.400 --> 00:04:25.180 has lifted himself up out of the forest in the style of many pre-photographic 00:04:25.180 --> 00:04:30.160 drawings of cities around the world it has to been turned into somewhat of a 00:04:30.160 --> 00:04:36.010 cartoon or a caricature but that's telling the story. It was Harold's way of 00:04:36.010 --> 00:04:40.689 being able to tell a story as he saw it and he's added humour 00:04:40.689 --> 00:04:47.259 to what was a very desperate situation down there. It sort of fits the eccentric 00:04:47.259 --> 00:04:54.039 colorful character that Harold Thornton was that he he took this view which 00:04:54.039 --> 00:05:00.999 seems nobody else would think it up but now tells us a story in such a dramatic 00:05:00.999 --> 00:05:07.029 but very careful way. There was not a story there's a hundred stories in in 00:05:07.029 --> 00:05:14.019 this picture that's what's so good about it. Now he's painted myself three times 00:05:14.019 --> 00:05:17.439 in this picture each time with a question mark in front and that's 00:05:17.439 --> 00:05:22.959 probably because I was always philosophical about where the world 00:05:22.959 --> 00:05:28.329 going to if we destroy this if we can't save this how can we ask people in 00:05:28.329 --> 00:05:33.099 poorer countries decide their rivers their forests their wildlife but I was 00:05:33.099 --> 00:05:36.459 very embarrassed by this picture look it's got what looks like a halo around 00:05:36.459 --> 00:05:42.729 it and I know better than that but he painted it and I've got accommodated to 00:05:42.729 --> 00:05:48.639 it now I don't care. The good thing about it is when you look into the trees 00:05:48.639 --> 00:05:53.559 there's seems like there's hundreds of people in there; well they were. The whole 00:05:53.559 --> 00:06:00.279 operation upriver was a huge planning exercise over 50 people came from 00:06:00.279 --> 00:06:03.489 Western Australia for example to the blockade there were people there from 00:06:03.489 --> 00:06:07.929 Britain and Germany and all states and territories a lot of people from here in 00:06:07.929 --> 00:06:15.129 the ACT and they risked they thought losing their passports if they're 00:06:15.129 --> 00:06:19.749 arrested maybe losing their jobs if they're in the public service certainly 00:06:19.749 --> 00:06:24.399 getting a reputation a criminal record so they're putting a lot on the line 00:06:24.399 --> 00:06:29.289 there's a policeman here chasing little green figures little greenies through the 00:06:29.289 --> 00:06:35.019 forest but over there behind me is another police officer's put her or his 00:06:35.019 --> 00:06:39.099 cap on the ground and inside is No Dam, a little No Dam sticker because 00:06:39.099 --> 00:06:43.029 a lot of the police were wanting to save the river as well but they had to go 00:06:43.029 --> 00:06:49.179 down there and carry out the orders to arrest the Greenies. There's a 00:06:49.179 --> 00:06:53.900 interesting little section behind the police officer there 00:06:53.900 --> 00:07:00.229 about the practicalities - wash your hands after you've been to the toilet - make 00:07:00.229 --> 00:07:05.570 sure you put some lime in the pit. A lot of people living in a wild environment 00:07:05.570 --> 00:07:11.720 you had to stop an outbreak of disease. Big job to feed all those people and 00:07:11.720 --> 00:07:19.580 over on that side of the picture is the Denison star the human pine boat made by 00:07:19.580 --> 00:07:25.729 Ulrich Morrison had been a pioneer up in these rivers in his young days coming 00:07:25.729 --> 00:07:29.780 upriver with the tourists and in the middle of the pictures of the Daily M 00:07:29.780 --> 00:07:35.750 there I went and saw Reg at the racecourse in Hobart in the year leading 00:07:35.750 --> 00:07:43.669 up to this and said Reg we're going to be beaten here can you transport people 00:07:43.669 --> 00:07:48.139 upriver to protest in the forest and I thought he'd say no because he had built 00:07:48.139 --> 00:07:53.360 up a huge reputation for his cruisers worldwide but he said yes I'll bring the 00:07:53.360 --> 00:08:00.470 old cruise boat back in Denny Hamel who is also in this picture brought that 00:08:00.470 --> 00:08:04.340 boat up and down river more than a thousand people were brought up with or 00:08:04.340 --> 00:08:11.419 thousands when you take into account journalists also brought up on chart cats we 00:08:11.419 --> 00:08:18.320 got the abalone divers it was offseason to use their very fast motor boats to 00:08:18.320 --> 00:08:22.849 bring journalists each morning across Macquarie Harbour 20 kilometres up the 00:08:22.849 --> 00:08:26.419 river and another 20 kilometres they had to get back in those days by two o'clock 00:08:26.419 --> 00:08:30.949 so that their film could be flown out worldwide attention was focused on the 00:08:30.949 --> 00:08:35.020 Franklin and from Britain came television personality and 00:08:35.020 --> 00:08:40.339 self-described pommy botanist professor David Bellamy - that's him that face in 00:08:40.339 --> 00:08:45.020 the tree there and he was arrested on the Franklin and taken to Risdon Jail 00:08:45.020 --> 00:08:48.980 where he had his 50th birthday that was headlines all over the world and 00:08:48.980 --> 00:08:53.810 particularly in Britain so it really made this blockade a matter of 00:08:53.810 --> 00:09:00.190 international attention and he, like so many other people who I've met since, 00:09:00.190 --> 00:09:07.369 reckon being in this blockade was one of the best times of their lives 00:09:07.369 --> 00:09:13.860 It was a sense of comradery which was very very important because beneath all 00:09:13.860 --> 00:09:20.850 that people were quite frightened about facing the anger of hydro workers who'd 00:09:20.850 --> 00:09:26.519 been who'd been stirred up Robin Gray who had told one fellow he was working on a 00:09:26.519 --> 00:09:29.610 bridge to the Bayonne Bridge in Hobart well he been out to visit the workers 00:09:29.610 --> 00:09:33.269 he'd said he wouldn't mind giving them all baseball bats to go and deal with 00:09:33.269 --> 00:09:39.410 the Greenies over in the west coast and famously he turned up at a rally in the 00:09:39.410 --> 00:09:45.800 nearby town of Queenstown with boxing gloves on to take on the Greenies so the 00:09:45.800 --> 00:09:55.110 message being sent to the people opposed to the dam was you can get stuck into 00:09:55.110 --> 00:10:00.860 these people and it did lead to violence it led to people being assaulted and 00:10:00.860 --> 00:10:08.879 including yours truly like one night I had four men come at me with a tyre 00:10:08.879 --> 00:10:14.730 lever and I forgot my non-violent training and somehow or other I ended up 00:10:14.730 --> 00:10:18.990 at the tyre lever and the four men running but that's self-preservation at 00:10:18.990 --> 00:10:25.019 work for you but people did get beaten up and windows in the Wilderness Society 00:10:25.019 --> 00:10:29.629 buildings were smashed and there was a fair deal of tension and fear about 00:10:29.629 --> 00:10:36.089 Young folk were out in their rubber duckies getting in front of this 00:10:36.089 --> 00:10:41.249 machinery some of them were diving underneath but they're all being 00:10:41.249 --> 00:10:46.920 arrested it stayed peaceful all the way - it was a violent invasion of these 00:10:46.920 --> 00:10:51.629 forests and the wildlife but the strength of this protest was it stayed 00:10:51.629 --> 00:10:56.759 peaceful and while ever it did there was a gathering feeling of support for it by 00:10:56.759 --> 00:11:01.709 the people of Australia and in March just as this blockade was tailing off 00:11:01.709 --> 00:11:06.629 they changed the government. The Hawke Government came in it decided it was 00:11:06.629 --> 00:11:11.759 going to oppose Robin Gray and he is dam building. That went through the High 00:11:11.759 --> 00:11:18.670 Court the judges up there and by four judges to three on the first of July 1983 00:11:18.670 --> 00:11:23.310 effectively made the decision the damn must stop the wilderness must be saved 00:11:23.310 --> 00:11:30.100 for the whole of the world according to the World Heritage convention so when 00:11:30.100 --> 00:11:34.870 this was painted it looked very green but now I've got a smile on my face 00:11:34.870 --> 00:11:42.610 because what Harold depicted there was a huge peaceful protest with people from 00:11:42.610 --> 00:11:48.240 all over Australia which ended up saving the river.