My wife and I bought our first home together on 25 acres in Bucketty in 1997, and with our then 18 month old daughter moved in to a place of bush, koalas, wombats and quiet. We felt immediately that this is a special place; productive farms, clear and clean skies and water, and a richness of life in native forests. My own roots to this area go back further still, visiting friends who lived in a property then signposted as “Skye” just down from the crossroads on Wisemans Ferry Road. While we moved away for a time with work taking us overseas we kept hold of the Bucketty property, which became a home to a series of renters some of whom remain today in the district. During our time overseas we always took time when visiting Australia to spend time in the local area; until the draw of this place brought us back permanently about five years ago.
From St. Albans Common to Bucketty to Kulnura, Mangrove Mountain to Peats Ridge and beyond and between there is much to love, appreciate and be proud of.
During our time away it seemed on the surface that little had changed. Chicken sheds still lined the road, cattle and alpacas chewed grass, motorbikes still curled through the curves to Wollombi and most of the same people we knew then remained here still. We also found new friends and experiences that have become a special part of what makes this district a uniquely special one. As an example the Mangrove Mountain and Districts Country Fair has become a symbol to me of what this community can achieve when we pull together for everyone’s benefit. Meanwhile though the world continues to revolve and develop around us – the relentless push to dig, drill and pump for energy sources and raw materials has stepped up a notch or ten in pace and along the way communities all around the world have seen their way of life ridden over and cast aside. A community’s loss is seen as something that can be ignored as long as multinational mining and energy companies and their shareholders rake in profits, while politicians line their pockets and claim bragging rights about GDP growth come election time.
We recognise that we live in a world that needs energy, and indeed our own lifestyle would not be possible without it. We do think though that there are many ways we can source the energy we need, with many of them being ways that our political and business “leaders” are clearly ignoring even as all-the-while they engage on a dash for gas, coal and oil. We think that there are many places that have an inherent value above and beyond the calorific and monetary value of what can be pulled from the ground. We think that water is more important than fuel; food more important than profit; family, friends and neighbours more important than shareholder value. We think that beauty, bush and communities are something that have a value exceeding the gross domestic profit of the country.
I think that we get to live in the community we help to build. My family and I think that the industrialisation of our land, the permanent destruction of our water supplies, and the disruption to the communities throughout the Mountain District that coal seam gas extraction will cause are not acceptable outcomes for this district. We chose to live in this place, and we think that one of the measures of an individual is the willingness to say “No” when it is the right thing to do. These are the reasons why we will not accept coal seam gas extraction on our land, our neighbour’s land, or anywhere in our community. If we are NIMBYs then we are also NIYBYs too – not in my backyard and not wished in your backyard either.
We think there is a better way – if you’re musically inclined this sums it up very well.
Simon and Naomi Perry. Bucketty.