Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Leard Forest and Pilliga Forest

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Leard forest_from Paola 11-2-16

When in 2008 we raced to beat the last of the coal rushes in Queensland, luck came our way as huge greenfield thermal coal projects like ‘China First’ grew to be less financially viable by the day and opening up the Galilee Basin turned out to be a dinosaur’s dream.

We were on the edge of a storm, which turned out to be a fizzer and now that it seems for now to have passed, well, aren’t we lucky!

As people were shocked to hear that a declared Nature Refuge could be mowed down for lumps of coal, donations of time and money came to help our cause.

But what about forests in the way of ‘extensions’ of existing mines such as Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Mine on the NSW Liverpool Plains? The storm is brewing now in Leard Forest, where clearing is about to recommence in the critically endangered White Box woodland. Once the trees are felled, the ecosystems of threatened fauna and plant species it sustains won’t come back. Hundreds were arrested trying to stop that new mine’s initial devastation. Now the battle begins anew.

Having looked carefully into the issue, the Bimblebox Alliance Inc. has decided to offer a donation in support of those who are trying to stop the Leard Forest from being cleared.

And more recently we have also donated to help the Pilliga Protectors to save the extraordinary Pilliga Forest from Santos’ planned industrial gasfield and its threat to the Great Artesian Basin. The Pilliga is the largest and most intact woodland in eastern Australia, an island in the surrounding cleared agricultural land, and an essential recharge area for the GAB. It provides a refuge for glossy-black cockatoos, barking owls, eastern pygmy possums, koalas, red-capped robins, regent honeyeaters, the unique Pilliga mouse and many other woodland fauna species, as well as 900 plant species. Twenty-five nationally listed and 48 state listed threatened species call the Pilliga home. Santos’ gasfield poses serious threats to this beautiful place. The heritage of the Indigenous Gomilaroi people is also at risk, as well as the livelihoods and futures of local farmers. The TBA has made this donation to assist in the prevention of this enormous destruction.

More information on the Pilliga:


A report from the front lines of climate extremes

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015


Photo: Greg Harm

… Galilee’s Goliath lies entombed within this earth but there are philistines alive today who from airconditioned comfort prepare to awaken the prehistoric monster from eternal silent slumber. They feel not this ominous portent nor heed the honourable science that has served us all so well so far but today serves us notice. Secluded by wealth and blinded by greed, they contort thoughts and words and figures to persuade us all that more of same is needed. Unless latter-day Davids poised with dialectic slings and intellectual arrows can put paid to these foolish ways – and fast – our ordained days are numbered.


Quilt causes controversy….

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Read this hilarious QUILTGATE story by Russell Fairfax (botanist in residence at Bimblebox Nature Refuge) to find out more about the journey of the Quilt described below. See below for complete inline version.

Kathleen Noonan wrote a delightful, insightful, humorous article “Opinion: Quilt made to raise funds for Bimblebox Nature Refuge is getting up people’s noses” in the Opinioin Section of the Courier Mail (8 August 2015), inspiring almost 50 readers to purchase raffle tickets. The newspaper version in her ‘LAST WORD’ column is reproduced below.

KN paper article_bright

Bimblebox quilt raffled

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

heading bmxnr


 Maureen Cooper’s Quilt


Maureen Cooper created this quilt with three techniques: applique, embroidery and machine stitching. It shows some wonderful native species amid a background depicting their habitats in the various regional ecosystems found on Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

Bimblebox caretaker Ian Hoch’s love of the environment and his constant war on weeds, erosion and feral animals are central to its wellbeing and also form a centrepiece of the quilt.

Maureen Cooper used natural materials for almost 100% of the quilt; the exceptions were media used for water weed in the Black-necked Stork panel, for spider web in the brown quail panel, and for the silver fish in the Great Egret panel. Desma Versteegen of Gallery Quilting, Benalla, performed the quilting work. The completed hanging measures 130cm x 136cm.

The quilt was made with love as a fund-raising item for The Bimblebox Alliance Inc. (TBA), a not-for-profit organization working for the protection of nature refuges and other protected areas from inappropriate development. It is being displayed at annual shows at Barcaldine, Clermont, Emerald, Rockhampton, Mackay, and at the Ekka, Brisbane Royal Queensland Show. Raffle tickets are available at each venue and below and the winner will be drawn in late August in Brisbane.

Other species not noted on the panels (left to right from top):

  • Plumed Whistling Duck Panel – Cumbungie, sedges, Snowflake Waterlily and Floating Pondweed.
  • Frill-necked Lizard Panel – Comet Grass, Fire Grass
  • Brolga Panel – Common Rush
  • Hanging Eucalyptus panels depict Ghost Gum flowers and gumnuts.
  • Bimblebox Nature Refuge Panel – bird footprints
  • Brown Quail Panel – Desmodium sp., Barbed Wire Grass
  • Panel next to Native Cucumber – Twining Glycine
  • Echidna Panel – Termite mound with termites.
  • Great Egret Panel – Knotweed, Common Fringe Rush, Rice Sedge

Online raffle ticket sales closed

Online raffle ticket sales closed as of Friday, August 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM.

Prize Draw Date was 24 August 2015, at the Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN) Private Land Conservation Conference, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, at morning tea (10:30 – 11:00 AM).

The Quilt is First Prize. Because we had such a great response to this raffle, we added second, third and fourth prizes, each consisting of a DVD of the Bimblebox Documentary (2012) and Maureen Cooper’s book Bimblebox: A Nature Refuge under Siege.

The winners are: 

First prize (Quilt): Jude from Caloundra
Second, third and fourth prizes went to Rhonda from Rockhampton, Lyn in Ferny Hills and Jodie in Beechworth.

QUILTGATE, by Russell Fairfax

This is a true story about a tremendous bunch of sheilas. The youngest is 68. After hundreds of hours of love and care a first-time quilter plied her new trade as a fund-raising prize. Her chosen cause was a non-profit organisation striving to help landowners protect our fauna and flora through Nature Refuges. Much like a prize cake or large pumpkin, the humble quilt was to be displayed and raffled at various Queensland agricultural shows with tickets selling for $2 each.

The quilt’s centrepiece is a photograph of a man making a cup of tea. Were it not for the subject’s resemblance to a Sydney Nolan with Fred Williams painting the background to the overall effect of a Frederick McCubbin, the photograph is unremarkable. The man is surrounded by stitched panels depicting several plants and animals familiar to a child, such as an echidna, brolga, plumed whistling duck and so forth.

The quilt has had a rough journey over the last few months from the outback to the central coast. History now begs the question: did the stitchers realise just how instrumental the quilt would be at displaying the fabric of rural Queensland? How long will they think that one word, not even stitched, could be so ‘political’, its mere portrayal is unfit for public display?

The answers start at the Barcaldine Show. Barcaldine people are laid back as a rule, but glossing over the oopsie-daisy under that Tree, not afraid to whack a couple of rockets on a skateboard and fire up now and again. However, there’s a sort of a drought on and not too much is happening. You made a quilt? Great. It was displayed without fuss and received comments such as how nice it was.

Next stop Alpha. Somewhat surprisingly, given its proximity to Bimblebox Nature Refuge, the Alpha Show committee didn’t return correspondence requesting the quilt be displayed. At this point it might be useful to know that the same State Government that signed off on protecting the values of Bimblebox in perpetuity also granted several companies exploration permits for coal over Bimblebox and an adjacent area the size of Germany. Patrons of the 2015 Alpha Show noted that there were no mining company stalls, that many Alphanians were sad, and that some speculatory jams turned out to be pickles.

Onward to Clermont where the quilt was hung, just. This town sits at the western nexus of prime cropping and Bowen Basin coal. One industry is finite. Graziers over the central portion of the Galilee Basin head east into Clermont for supplies so the town’s glancing west. One can see historic flood-marks near the town, where A dunny’d be underwater.

Advance to Emerald, currently hosting the full gamut of cropping, grazing and mining. Fairbairn Dam with its omnipresent grey specks on the weather radar has enough water for next year’s cotton. Memories of the Nogoa River flooding the town and nearby Ensham mine have not faded. While at this Show the quilt could not be hung and was unwelcome, but a fifth member of the sewing circle stood up to the injustices, keeping it alive until Rockhampton.

…obfuscation, denials, memory loss and dummy-spitting. Maybe it was the word ‘brolga’ that got their rancour up or even the ‘spirit of the bush’. Kindness emerged from the local quilting group, allowing some space and the public showed their support. But no-one predicted what would happen in Mackay.


Upon arrival at the Show, the lady in charge of the pavilion looked it up and down.

‘It’s a bit controversial.’

‘It is just a quilt with wildlife from a Nature Refuge we want to raffle for’.

‘You know the Mackay Show Society will charge twenty per cent of your ticket sales.’

‘Yes’, said lassie number six, standing her ground politely.

‘OK’, she said and a spot was found next to the entrance door.

Next morning the quilt was nowhere to be seen. The lady in charge said that the quilt was ‘political’ and could not be displayed or raffled.

‘What on earth is political about this quilt?’

‘It’s got ”biodiversity” on it.’

Forward fast to the main office and unfold the quilt…

‘How is this political?’

‘It is political and we do not allow anything political at this show.’

‘Do you believe in free speech?’


‘Show us your constitution or vision statement or anything that clearly explains your position, Incorporated organisation’.

‘Request a copy in writing.’

‘Where shall I send the request?’

‘To me.’

‘Well, I realise shows along the coast have been under some pressure from the mining industry…’ she said, only trying to understand where he was coming from. With that his face went purple, denied industry involvement with the situation and mentioned the word security, all with some volume. So she left, trying not to throw up.

Are we too ashamed to show off our biodiversity? Is there really no room for biodiversity in the pastoral, agricultural, horticultural, mining or education sectors? Brisbane’s turn next. See the famous quilt at the Ekka.

Back to Quilt

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015


This is the site for Bimblebox Nature Refuge, an 8,000 hectare property in the Desert Uplands Bioregion of Central West Queensland. For more information about the refuge, its ecology, its wildlife and its history, click the relevant tabs above. On this page, we post regular updates on the campaign to prevent Bimblebox Nature Refuge from being destroyed by a proposed massive thermal coal project, as well as updates on “life at the refuge” as we work to maintain the property’s conservation values, year in and year out through summer heat, drought, extreme fire risk, flooding rains, isolation… etc!

To join our mailing list (we send less than one email per month) click here Find out how you can help protect Bimblebox from coal mining.

NEW: This 5 minute show depicts the history and the possible dire future of Bimblebox Nature Refuge. Our thanks to Tangible Media, Bob Brown, Sonya Duus, Mark Doyle and Karl Hoch. Please click on “HD” in the lower right-hand corner to ensure maximum colour and sound quality.

Bimblebox owner puts candidates on the spot

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Paola & banner

Paola Cassoni is co-owner of Bimblebox Nature Refuge

Paola Cassoni sent the following letter to members of the Queensland parliament and candidates in the state election, to be held 31st January 2015, asking for their stance on mining in Queensland’s conservation areas. There have been a number of responses to Paola’s letter, including from the Queensland Greens, the Liberal-National PartyFiona Simpson (Liberal-National Party), Tim Mulherin (Australian Labor Party), Bill Gissane (Australian Labor Party), Jamie Evans (Free Australia Party), Rob Katter (Katter’s Australia Party), and candidates from North Toowoomba electorate.


Dear Members of Parliament and candidates,

I am co-owner of Bimblebox Nature Refuge located in the state’s central west and the President of the recently formed group, The Bimblebox Alliance Inc. ( I am writing to ask for your stance on the mining of Nature Refuges.

Our 8,000 hectare Nature Refuge is currently threatened by Clive Palmer’s China First Project (also known as Galilee Coal Project) in the Galilee Basin. This would destroy Bimblebox and the refuge it offers to endangered species like the Black-throated Finch.

The mining of Nature Refuges and other areas of high conservation value was a prominent issue prior to the 2012 election, and both major parties promised positive outcomes for the environment. Then Premier, Anna Bligh, committed that Bimblebox would not be mined, while Campbell Newman stated, “coal mining will not be allowed in areas of high conservation value”. However, Mr Newman’s assurance proved hollow, when in 2013 his government approved the China First project.

Bimblebox nature refuge near Alpha is under siege from coal miners | The Courier-Mail

Sunday, November 9th, 2014


Coal mining still threatens Bimblebox nature refuge near Alpha where conservationists are under siege from miners like Clive Palmer

  • From: The Courier-Mail
  • November 08, 2014 12:00AM


SOMETIMES as a journalist you report on an event or protest and you walk away thinking, well, they’ve got Buckley’s chance.

In the Bible, the David and Goliath yarn has an upbeat ending but, in real life, things usually tilt in favour of the big boys.

You get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes – the spin, the corporate tactics that kneecap any local community or group that tries to stand in the way of a massive corporation. You know in your gut it’s wrong.

You wander away knowing the little bloke is outgunned and outmanoeuvred at every turn – legally, financially, friends in high places, resources, the lot.

At night when you are falling asleep, instead of sheep to count, after a life in journalism you have a flock of this sad “little-bloke-got-screwed’’ yarns to restlessly tally.

Yet, every once in a while, the little bloke puts up one hell of a fight.

That’s the story of Bimblebox nature refuge, an 8000ha patch of bush beauty and diversity, and the people who love it.


Minister Hunt approves destruction of Bimblebox Nature Refuge

Friday, December 20th, 2013

On Friday 20th December Greg Hunt, the Federal Minister for the Environment, announced his conditional approval for Clive Palmer’s proposed Galilee Coal Project (aka China First). Despite  the decision being dated 19th December, it was not announced on the department’s website until 6pm the following day, the Friday before Christmas. There was also not the usual accompanying Ministerial press release. Was the Federal Government worried the news getting critical attention from journalists?

In making this decision the Federal Government has joined with the Queensland State Government in giving the green light for the destruction of Bimblebox Nature Refuge. This is despite the Bimblebox landholders having entered binding conservation agreements with both levels of government more than ten years ago. If this mine goes ahead, it would represent the most significant impact experienced on a nature refuge to date.

Minister Hunt’s decision comes as little surprise. Countless letters and submissions have been written in an effort to engage with the formal processes of assessment and decision making. But this result shows decisively that Australian governments would rather court coal interests than respect agreements signed with committed landholders to protect Australia’s precious biodiversity into the future.

Incredulously, this approval comes at the same time that Waratah Coal is facing an Environmental Protection Order for failing to rehabilitate their exploration bore holes. It suggests the company has a blatant disregard for the law that protects landholders and the environment, and we shudder to think what their standards will be like should the mine go ahead. Also, the fact that the government will need the Palmer United Party’s senate votes to pass future legislation, including the repeal of the carbon tax next year, raises serious questions as to the integrity of this decision.

To make matters worse, the Abbot Government together with Labor passed a law in mid-December that will make it difficult for this decision to be challenged in the Federal Court. A further blow came on Wednesday, 18th December, when Federal funding for the Environmental Defender’s Office was suddenly withdrawn. The playing field is that much more uneven now, with well-resourced companies (and self- proclaimed billionaires in the case of Clive Palmer) able to throw their ample funds into legal cases against landholders who have next to nothing. Is this how we want Australia to be?

But the fight to stop the Galilee Coal Project is far from over. Nature Refuge owners, local landholders, city based professionals and students, climate change campaigners and our small dedicated team of volunteers will not sit idle while coal mining is privileged over people and the environment.

What you can do now:

  • Help us show our outrage at this decision by sharing these images on social media (you can even use them for your profile picture!)
  • Consider a New Year’s resolution of supporting the campaign to stop destructive mining in the Galilee Basin. There are hundreds of ways you can contribute, but only you know your own skills and capacity. Please get in touch.
  • Investors the world over are recognising the financial prudence and need to withdraw support from fossil fuel investments. We urge all of our supporters to join with groups such as Market Forces and to ensure your savings are not helping support this and other mines!


Minister Hunt, we call on you to save Bimblebox from coal mining

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Just some of the remnant woodland, flora and fauna of Bimblebox Nature Refuge

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt is due to make a decision on the massive coal mine that would destroy Bimblebox Nature Refuge by 20th December. The proposed mine is called ‘Galilee Coal Project’ (otherwise known as ‘China First’) and is owned by Clive Palmer, who is a businessman and Member of Federal Parliament.


We urge all Bimblebox supporters to call Greg Hunt’s office or drop him an email this week, to let him know that there is a big number of Australians out there who don’t want to see this mine go ahead.

Phone: (02) 6277 2276 or (03) 5979 3188

Tell Minister Hunt: “Save Bimblebox from coal mining!”


Bimblebox’s future in the hands of Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Kathleen Noonan wrote a great article in the Courier Mail summing up the concerns about Bimblebox and Waratah Coal’s China First mine (see below). She’s right. The paperwork is sitting with the Federal Environment Minister right now and he is due to make a decision by 20th December (2013) – just in time for Christmas. Please help us pressure Greg Hunt to reject the China First mine!

What can you do? 
Contact Greg Hunt
Phone: (02) 6277 2276 or (03) 5979 3188
You can also use this rare opportunity to keep the conversation going by sending a letter to the editor, explaining why we should protect Bimblebox:  

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