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.


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. 


People may wonder why there is little mention of climate change 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 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. 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 Brisbane Line / 01.06.2006

The following article appears on the Brisbane Line. This is the e-bulletin of The Brisbane Institue, an independent organisation funded by a cross-section of universities, government departments, corporations and individuals. The Institute is a generator of ideas and facilitates discussion.

The common threat to the sustainability of the planet's biodiversity is the impact of Homo sapiens. Nowhere else in Australia has this impact been as pronounced in recent times as in South East Queensland.

It can only become more pronounced with an additional million plus people making the region their home in the next 20 years.

Tamborine Mountain, which has been described as a 'national treasure' has long been a battleground between developers and conservationists.


Tamborine Mountain is an undulating plateau behind the Gold Coast, at an elevation of 500 to 550 metres, surrounded by a largely uninhabited and heavily wooded  escarpment containing subtropical rainforest. It has more than 1,000,000 visitors a year, most of them from South East Queensland.

The plateau, a maximum 8km long and 4km wide, comprises a complete miniature landscape with three village areas and a… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 11.04.2006

There is a difference between the Archive and a Natural History documentary film.

'Viewers must recognise that something unfamiliar is on the screen. The Archive is a visual record, not a narrative. It can only be incidentally entertaining . . .'


Given the ubiquity of television documentaries in general and the popularity of natural history documentaries in particular, I suspect that it will be well-nigh impossible for viewers of the Archive not to be instinctively drawn into the documentary mode of viewing.

But to fully benefit from looking at the Archive in all its rich variety, viewers must recognise that something unfamiliar is on the screen.

The main purpose is to give viewers a sense of what outstanding biodiversity is. This requires them to make a connection between all the Archive’s parts so that they’re aware that one section relates to another already seen, and that indeed all the myriad things they are looking at live in this one small place on earth.

One thing that attracted me was creating a succession of pictures within… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 06.03.2006

What does biodiversity mean to me, as an artist?

I set out to present biodiversity in an intelligible way on video – so that the viewer can get a sense of what biodiversity is and can experience its ultimate and compelling inclusiveness . . .


I set out to present biodiversity in an intelligible way on video –

so that the viewer can get a sense of what biodiversity is and can experience its ultimate and compelling inclusiveness.

Why film on Tamborine Mountain? Because I live here . . . And because this is a thriving community living in western affluence, comfort and convenience, which is surrounded by outstanding biodiversity.

Apparently there are more frog species on the mountain than there are in the whole of Canada! The Mountain’s published plant list amounts to about 80% of that of New Zealand. A recent and by no means exhaustive survey increased the plant list from under 800 to over 900.

The Mountain’s biodiversity is on a par with that of nearby World Heritage Listed Areas. All this on a plateau of some 2,300 hectares surrounded by an escarpment… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 15.02.2006

'Until I came to Australia, where the energy of the earth beats so powerfully, I had known only civilisation . . .'

I arrived in Australia in February 1987. I came straight from London to Tamborine Mountain. Half my luck, as they say here.

I was bowled over by the natural abundance of the place – the brilliant colours of the birds and the size and profuse growth of the vegetation.

I had not long been in the country when I visited nearby Lamington National Park and went for a walk on one of its many trails. Someone I happened to tell of my visit, remarked that there were gorges and gullies in the park that no human foot had trodden.

This had an enormous impact on me.

Also in those early days, I took my five year -old son on a car trip north along the coast and then west into the interior. The look of the land impressed me deeply, particularly the immense flat expanses where the appearance of a solitary tree became a notable event.

As you fly for hour after hour over Australia’s… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 28.12.2005

I have ongoing difficulty with the Guardian’s long-held anti-Israel stance, which has become ever more pronounced in recent times. My view is based on recollection and is not supported by extensive research. I have lived in Australia since 1987 and for several years I have been a subscriber to the Guardian Weekly. In the UK, the Guardian was my paper of choice. In what follows, I mostly tend to equate the Guardian Weekly with the Guardian and vice versa, although I surmise that items which appear in the Weekly may be edited versions of what has appeared in the Guardian. And of course, the Weekly does not have the space to be as diverse in its contents as the Guardian.

As a Jew it grieves me that Israel proceeded to settle the West Bank and Gaza, a decision which reverberates in its brutal and oppressive occupation of these areas. In this regard Israel’s current troubles are of its own making. But the reality that perhaps uniquely in the world, Israel since its creation, has had to deal with enemies dedicated to its annihilation, is not of its own making. Decades later, the Palestinian fighters bent on annihilating Israel,… Read Complete Text