Tasmania's journal of discovery

Tasmania’s Recherche Bay

Tasmania’s Recherche Bay
By Bob Brown
Published by The Green Institute
Paperback, 56pp, colour
ISBN 0 646 44899-4
rrp $17.50

Picture the scene when the last tree on Easter Island was to be felled. The technocrats would have said “Don’t worry — science will find an even better substitute.” The religious would have assured everyone that God would continue to provide, while the bureaucrats would report that since research was incomplete, a ban on logging might be premature. The landowner would have asserted his right to do as he wished with his own property, while the man with the axe would be saying “What about my job?”

That’s not an original thought; in fact, I pinched it from Jared Diamond. It’s a forceful image and one we have just enough time left to learn from. 

The Easter Islanders destroyed their isolated environment in the service of a pitiless religion which culminated in an insane orgy of competitive statue-building. We’re well on the way to doing the same thing in the service of an equally pitiless corporate creed that puts profit before all else.

The powerful images of the late Peter Dombrovskis were instrumental in curbing a seemingly all-powerful Hydro. Now Bob Brown, again through pictures, has given a voice to Recherche Bay, which is threatened by the seemingly all-powerful Gunns, the rapacious woodchip giant that wields such awesome power behind the scenes in Tasmania and is the ultimate emptor behind yet another State-sponsored logging outrage.

A tender spot

But they’ve trodden on a spot more tender than they guessed. The vehemence and volume of the protest surprised loggers and government alike and grew as more people became aware of the unique importance of the site of a peaceful encounter between the Lyluequonny people and an 18th century French scientific expedition.

Bob Brown hired an aircraft and photographed the tranquil beauty of the place for this book. It’s a slender volume but it proves the old saw that one picture is worth a wealth of words; it is beautifully designed and Bob’s photographs are augmented with maps and drawings of the Lyluequonny by the expeditioners; the result is a powerful and passionate statement.

Within its brief compass the text lets Recherche Bay tell its own tale through quotations from the French explorers, glimpses of the fragile flora and fauna and a concise account of the controversy. Fred Baker

Even if you can’t take an active part in the movement to save Recherche Bay, you can help the campaign by buying this book in the Store at thisTasmania.

Read more, and enjoy Bob Brown’s portfolio here.

  1. Dear Mister Brown,

    I am a French journalist and I work for different magazines about science, conservation and nature.
    I was in Moss Glen on the 26th of February 2006 to make an article about the issue of Recherche Bay because of the French implication into it.
    I spoke with you a few minutes but I am not sure you can remember me. You told me you may come in France in June 2006 in the frame of Recherche Bay issue.
    I am in France at the moment and I live in Paris.
    Actually, I wanted to ask you if you think there is a possibility for me to interview you for a short moment while you are in France about the object of you stay in France and about the origin of the Greens in Australia.
    I hope everything is ok for you and the Greens at the moment.
    I really hope to hear from you.

    Sincerely yours,

    Herv Bressaud

    Posted by  on  11/06/2006  at  05:29 PM

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