Not The Brisbane Line, Other / 03.09.2021

In 1987 I came straight from London to Tamborine Mountain in subtropical south east Queensland – some twenty-two kilometres from the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies – and have lived there for the past thirty-four years. I was bowled over by the natural abundance and exuberance of the place — by the brilliant colours of the birds, the size and profuse growth of the vegetation and, above all, the alien beauty of the rainforest. I had not long been here 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 areas in the park where no human foot had trodden.

This had an enormous impact on me, newly arrived from Great Britain, which, according to Paul Theroux, is the most minutely transacted, walked on, documented and recorded spot on the globe. For millennia its land has been bought and sold, mined, built on, fought over, grazed, farmed, re-arranged, hunted on, dug up, charted and mapped. It has been written about in poetry and prose, it has been drawn and painted, photographed and filmed and had music written… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 28.02.2016

This statement dates from 2003, although I feel the original version may have been written a few years earlier. It was prompted by my experience challenging the local government/developer nexus’s approval of a procession of inappropriate development applications on Tamborine Mountain in the 1990s. From memory it was circulated to environmental organisations and bureaucrats.


1. It is the responsibility of this generation of Queensland’s opinion leaders and decision makers to secure the state’s exceptional biodiversity largely in its current form, for present and future generations. The concept of sustainable development is widely cited, but seems little understood. At heart is the question of deciding what is to be sustained, assuming that whatever it is, is sustainable. Following on from that, is the implied capacity to keep whatever this is, going indefinitely, as per my opening sentence.

2. The unpalatable reality for a political culture which has long espoused the mantra of development and growth, seen as a measure of their achievement by Queensland governments of both left and right, is that protecting the environment requires prohibiting development. By development I mean placing buildings and other infrastructure on the land. One would think that it is… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 15.07.2015

Although I wrote the potted history of protecting open space in south east Queensland in 2006, I doubt that much more land if any has been added to the paltry 16% in public ownership in the region nearly ten years ago. PS The 2015 figure is 17%.



Following the demise of the Regional Open Space System (ROSS), I represented the QueenslanConservation Council on the SEQ Open Space Review Committee from its inaugural meeting in 1996 and then on the Regional Landscape Strategy (RLS) Advisory Committee, until I resigned out of a sense of futility in 2000, after the State Budget yet again delivered no funding beyond the running costs of the Regional Landscape Unit (RLU). The committee was composed of landholder, farming, tourism, developer and  conservation representatives  plus state and local government officials.

The brief history of open space protection in SEQ can be stated thus:

Wayne Goss                          the ROSS      backed by the premier and funded to allow land acquisition

Rob Borbidge                        the RLS         failed attempt to kill off the RLS at birth,modest funding for RLU only

Peter Beattie                          the RLS        … Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 25.07.2013

An advantage of having a blog is the scope to push topics dear to the blogger. Such is the case with the ensuing paper, written in August 2004, chronicling in detail what communities challenging speculative development proposals in Queensland have to endure. Be warned, the paper contains over 6,000 words. The development was a proposed cable way to Tamborine Mountain from Willow Vale, an acreage community on lower ground west of the Pacific Highway and north east of Tamborine Mountain. The paper is in the form of a submission to the then Attorney General, Rod Welford MP. The Appendices which accompanied the paper are not included here. I was the paper’s instigator and lead author. Jean Campbell was a key committee member from Willow Vale. Mercifully, the cable way was not built.


Attorney General and Minister for Justice


This submission is concerned with major speculative development proposals for which a formal planning application has not been lodged. As a preliminary to presenting a detailed case history of one such project, it is appropriate to make the following general… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 13.12.2011

My last piece for the year, about Abispa ephippium, commonly called the Australian hornet, in reality a Potter wasp, duly appeared in the Tamborine Mountain News. They were as good as their word and have published me fortnightly.


Not The Brisbane Line / 01.11.2011

The Tamborine Times treated my One small place on earth… contributions as a filler rather than as content. At best my video frames appeared weekly (while the publisher was on holiday), at other times fortnightly or worse, so I contacted the Tamborine Mountain News and offered my services to them. The Times appears weekly and contains more pages than the News, which appears every other week. But the News, run by volunteers, is about serving the community rather than seeking the last dollar and today my first piece, featuring a vine thicket, appeared in hopefully its new home.


Not The Brisbane Line / 14.07.2011

A video frame and brief text of mine were published in 'The Tamborine Times', the first of a fortnightly series, in which I can inform readers about the species rich biodiversity with which they share the mountain.


Not The Brisbane Line / 03.07.2010

You can read about My First Two Hours in Portugal here. It isn’t socio-political enough for publication in The Brisbane Line . . .

Strictly speaking this recollection of events is about the two hours which began when I walked out of the arrivals hall in Lisbon airport into the harsh light of a bright summer day in 2000 and scanned the long queue of people waiting to be put into a taxi by an official, presumably there to ensure fair play. As I pondered the queue’s slow progress, I made eye contact with the driver of a lone taxi, which was parked against the opposite curb. The driver gestured towards me and I made my way through the queue to his vehicle, relieved that I had found a quick way out of the crowded airport. I was in Portugal to spend a week with my oldest friend, David White, and his wife Fernanda, at their holiday home in Coimbra. It was my first visit to the country and the first time during decades of travel that I felt unable to communicate with anyone.

David had instructed me in a letter to… Read Complete Text


Not The Brisbane Line / 25.09.2009

Following a request from PSnews, which is the online magazine for Australia’s public servants, to re-publish my latest Brisbane Line article, I received an email with the links to the features page  and to the article. They made some interesting changes, which I think improved on the way the article originally appeared.  Read it here.



Not The Brisbane Line / 01.02.2009

My next piece for the Brisbane Line was to be Is Life Sacred? but somehow another article thrust itself forward, diverting me from my intended course and I found myself writing Grumpy Old Men and Women. It was timed to appear in the February issue, the first of the year, but the editor felt it was too frivolous or polemical and declined it. Well, what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t publish your own writing. So now you can read here, what the Brisbane Line turned down. I still want to write Is Life Sacred?


If I speak from my resentment to yours we will get on like a house on fire. It is the negative side of the coin of which the positive side is sharing one’s enthusiasms, and it is a formula which can be devastatingly successful in politics, as John Howard demonstrated at various times when he was Prime Minister of Australia. Speaking to the electorate’s resentment on populist issues is not the sign of good leadership. On the contrary, political leadership lies in carrying people on an issue… Read Complete Text