Blockade reunion shaping up
NOVEMBER marks 30 years since the Daintree Blockade, the protest action that sits large in the annals of the environmental movement and which helped put ‘‘green’’ politics into the mainstream of the Australian consciousness.
The construction of a road linking Cape Tribulation to the north in 1983 and 1984 led to protests which remain second only to the Franklin River campaign.
A dedicated group of locals and conservationists from around the country caused a massive stir in the media.
As protesters buried themselves in the ground and chained t hemselves to machinery – one even tied himself to a cross – graphic images of confrontation played to the public here and abroad.
Plans for a road between Daintree Village and Cooktown had been in the works for more than 40 years before the construction of the Bloomfield road in the 1980s.
The then Douglas Shire council was set to proceed in 1983 with grand plans when on November 30 a group of around 60 people banded together for a peaceful protest, informing the council workers of their intentions.
To mark the occasion a reunion has been organised for the November 30 at 6pm with a barbecue at the Ferntree Resort Cape Tribulation to reunite anyone who was involved in the blockade.
So far around 50 people are confirmed to be attending, coming from all over Australia to join in the commemoration.
Activities will include a trip to the blockade site and a barbecue dinner in Cape Tribulation.
Former protester and one of the organisers for the reunion, Dawn Gray, said people from both sides of the argument are attending – those who protested, the police officers who made arrests, the legal counsel who represented the protestors, and some members of the press at the time. ‘‘It has been interesting to see that many journalists, photographers, scientists who were here in 1983-84 are still working in the field of environmental/ scientific occupations,’’ she said.
‘‘ We have ex- politicians attending, ex- residents and some of the blockaders who are now in their 50s and 60s. It is a time for all politics to be put aside and folk attending will have the opportunity to catch up with friends, observe the historic displays and attend the unveiling of the plaque and morning tea on the Sunday morning.’’
To book for the dinner: 4098 0070 or 4098 0042.
ANNIVERSARY: A blockader in the thick of it