Peter’s Blog

I need to place on record my feeling that overwhelmingly throughout my life, my contact with my fellow men, women and children has been a total delight.
It is a recurring pleasure which I experience each day and is among the precious things which makes my life rewarding and worth living, not least because moments of the keenest enjoyment can as readily occur with a complete stranger as with family and friends.



A cherished dream, my book   One small place on earth …  discovering biodiversity where you are,   self-published in August 2019, has been long in the making. Jan Watson created its design template nine years ago. The idea of doing a book seems to have occurred during my stay with Clive Tempest, the website’s first architect, when I was visiting the UK in 2006. By the time Steve Guttormsen and I began sustained work on the book in 2017, much of which I had already written, the imperative was to create a hard copy version of a project whose content is otherwise entirely digital.


People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change – global warming on my website. There are two related reasons. Firstly, if former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2007 remark that climate change is the “great moral, environmental and economic challenge of our age” is true, we have not acted accordingly before or since. Rudd’s statement is only true if we collectively live as if it is true, Rudd included. Instead, our politics has wasted decades favouring business as usual, and a global economy excessively dependent on fossil fuels – in the wilful absence of a politics intent on achieving a low carbon economy. Secondly, although it is open to individuals to strive to live the truth of Rudd’s remarks, the vast majority of people, myself included, do not. I salute those who do. The precautionary principle alone makes me regard climate change as a current planetary crisis, but because I have only marginally changed the way I live, and still wish to fly, I am not inclined to pontificate on the subject.


The ‘Film Diary’ entries are selected items from the diary I keep whenever I am filming. To check location references, click on ‘Tamborine Mountain’ on the top information bar then hit the ‘Tamborine Mountain’ button on the map. 


The Brisbane Line / 24.06.2008

During the past two years I have contributed a number of articles to the Brisbane Line, the e-bulletin of the Brisbane Institute. Those on environmental topics have appeared in this blog.

Martin Leet, the editor, sent me an email accepting my latest article, Responsibility and Power, which will appear in the July edition of the Brisbane Line. I am fortunate to have this opportunity to occasionally touch on an issue close to my heart.


In an ideal world power and responsibility would go hand in hand to judiciously guide and shape society. The world is as it is precisely because this does not occur. Power, with its compelling sway over the human ego, is inherently open to abuse. The abuse of power is arguably the deadliest sin. That is why a lofty sense of responsibility needs to accompany the exercise of power.

The mis-match, both between power without responsibility and responsibility without power, is so pervasive it is barely recognised as the tragedy in human affairs that it is, other than in lawless circumstances such as war or arbitrary rule. The examples I cite are commonplace…. Read Complete Text


Other / 24.06.2008

I received confirmation that the master disc for The Beauty of Overlooked Things (see blog item: 20 March 2008) has arrived at the production company in Sydney. I am having the DVDs made from a glass master. All being well, they will be ready in time for me to take some copies with me when I leave on my overseas trip to the UK and Europe on July 16.

Steve and I spent a hairy week finalising the soundtrack and authoring – only to discover that the presentation had to be completely changed to allow a seamless transition between the 4:3 footage and the widescreen footage. Christina designed some beautiful graphics for the disc print, the insert and the video titles. I want to explore the possibility of creating a video installation of the Beauty series.



Other / 21.06.2008

Sandrine Meats, who interviewed me in London in 2006 for her dissertation on 60s and 70s performance art in the UK, wants to interview me on my next trip to Europe for an article she is writing about WHSHT (see blog 11 July 2007) for a leading French art publication. She is also interested in the essay I wrote on the Light/Sound Workshop at Hornsey College of Art, so I mailed her a copy the other day.

I am looking forward to seeing her again. The first interview was lots of fun, though my memory of events 40 years ago was rather hazy.



Other / 12.06.2008

An email has arrived from Jo Ritale, Manager, Original Materials of the Heritage Collections at the State Library of Queensland, confirming the library’s willingness to house the master edit DVCAMs of the unpublished archive. This amounts to over 40 hours, plus the associated papers. Jo will visit me when we can arrange it, to see what the archive consists of.

The main reason for the protracted negotiations on the best way to preserve the archive has been the need for The State Library to develop protocols on how to protect original digital material. The National Film & Sound Archive was suggested as a better prospect, except that the NFSA regards unedited footage as out-take material, whereas I regard it as additional, useful research material. Fortunately the State Library agrees with me.

At one point, much to my horror and that of both my editors, the library wanted to preserve the archive on analogue tape. Fortunately it has agreed to accept DVCAMs for preservation purposes and DVDs for access purposes.

The NFSA staff have no problem with DVCAMs but it was just as alarming that they insisted access should be… Read Complete Text


Other / 27.05.2008

I delivered a set of the DVDs to the Environmental Protection Agency in Brisbane with a feeling of great satisfaction, even triumph, following a meeting with the head of the Biodiversity section earlier in the month.

In March 2006 I had written to the then Director General requesting that the EPA buy the archive, only to be turned down by the Executive Director of the Parks Division citing the (to me ill-mannered) non-sequitur that the State Library already had a copy. I felt that my archive showed what was at stake in this part of the world (and still is), that biodiversity was a core concern of the EPA and that for these reasons they should have a copy. I even followed up with a tongue in cheek letter to the Minister asking her to ‘correct an apparent oversight’. It was only after phoning to request a meeting with the current Director General earlier this year that all the pieces for a successful conclusion fell into place.


My Travels / 30.04.2008

Where would we be without emails? – overlooking for a moment the annoyance caused by those people who do not bother to reply. An email has arrived from Satish Kumar whom I had contacted about six weeks ago on the strength of an article in the Guardian Weekly. He has agreed to meet me in the UK in August during my stay with Clive.