Tasmania, Jon Lewis, Mari Nawi, Ocean, Fresh Water & Rivers, China, Tony The Tiger, George Adamson

October 27, 2010

Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River by Peter Dombrovskis

TASMANIA: This historic photograph by Peter Dombrovskis (1945-1996) was taken in 1979 and was widely distributed in the early 1980s.  It played an influential role in generating public support for the environmental cause of successfully preventing  the damming of the Franklin River, and preserving some pristine Tasmanian forests. After a generation of conflict between timber loggers and environmentalists there has just been an historic agreement to protect high conservation value forests, and move to a sustainable industry based on plantation forests.  This agreement however still requires Federal government support (and financial investment) to succeed so please visit GetUp! Action for Australia and sign the petition for the Australian Native Forests Charter.

Peter Dombrovskis’ photographs are a good example of the power of photography for environmental causes.  See this link to an article about the effectiveness of photography in this context Sydney Morning Herald June 10, 2004.

“Timri”-Temaiku-Tarawa by Jon Lewis

RISING SEAS: Jon Lewis’s photographs in PORTRAITS FROM THE EDGE – Putting a Face to Climate Change have  similarly raised awareness, in this instance, to the dangers the rising seas are presenting to countries such as Kiribati and many other island communities, particularly in the Pacific Ocean.  Available to tour as an exhibition, these photographs are now available in a beautiful book.  Contact Momento – 1300 799 764 and see the images at www.jonnylewis.org

Towards Naa-North Tarawa by Jon Lewis


OCEANS: The first ever Census of Marine Life has been conducted over a decade and increases the number of known marine species to 250,000.  However, about 20% of the ocean has never been explored and at least 750,000 species remain undiscovered.  Scientists and researchers are hoping that the ocean is going to yield beneficial material and information, some of it, hopefully with huge medicinal potential.  

Crossota Norvegica by Kevin Raskoff


FRESH WATER: We are having two interesting and complex debates about water in Australia – portents for the future everywhere with water such a valuable resource.  In Queensland, the debate over the Wild Rivers legislation  involves State and Federal governments, conservationists, and differing Aboriginal points of view.  Noel Pearson for example, questions the limitation on indigenous economic opportunities through environmental protection, and has made accusations of theft of carbon credits by the governments.  For further reading on this complex issue see “The wild rivers swindle” – The Australian 9 October 2010.  Unfortunately, please bear in mind this is a Rupert Murdoch publication, and despite some very good journalists, there is increasing and widespread criticism of their partisan and anti-government coverage.

RIVERS: The Murray and Darling Rivers are in very bad condition through years of drought and an over allocation of water through irrigation.  Much of Australia’s food is produced here, but do we really need to be growing water hungry crops like rice in quite arid areas?  If the water allocation is cut – or rationalised, several river communities will undoubtedly be hard hit economically, and they have been very vocal in their opposition.  But as the rivers under present conditions are unsustainable, major changes and readjustments are going to have to be made anyway.  In Australia we have not really accepted that we live in a mainly arid land with poor soil, and with our low rain fall are always going to be vulnerable to drought.

I’ve often wondered about urban water catchment and the waste of all that water.  Monash University is looking at alternative water systems and there is an online survey in partnership with the CSIRO on the risks of storm water harvesting.  To participate in the survey click here.


Mari Nawi - Aboriginal Odysseys

MARI NAWI: Years ago I was fortunate enough to meet a brilliant researcher and historian Keith Vincent Smith.  I was astounded that he could identify many of the Indigenous people in the early colonial prints, that the wider public – like myself, thought were “anonymous” subjects.  Subsequently, based on Keith’s research, in 2006 we co-curated an exhibition EORA, Mapping Aboriginal Sydney 1770-1850 at the Mitchell Library, identifying many of the Sydney Aborigines.  Keith is now staging another exhibition there, MARI NAWI Aboriginal Odysseys, which illustrates through colonial material including journals and prints, a sea-faring Aboriginal diaspora around the world – from London to the Californian gold fields.  This again, is a previously unknown history of Australia.  To view images of the exhibition click here

The MARI NAWI Aboriginal Odysseys book is available in bookshops, and the State Library, and is published by Rosenberg Publishing.

CONSERVANCY: Colonial or victorious powers in many instances have arrogantly created many artificial national borders for people and wildlife, so it is no wonder we have the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example, tribal and religious tensions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and human/animal conflict.  I think we should support trans- frontier conservancy for animals aimed at preserving where possible traditional and seasonal migration routes , and interconnecting tracts of land.  But firstly, we have to try to stop the destruction of any more habitats.

CHINA: We have been witnessing a powerful China emerging on the world stage, but the reaction in China to the jailed writer and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo winning the Nobel Peace Prize was predictably shrill, uncool, and just gave more “oxygen” to the issue.  Didn’t the Chinese Premier himself recently say “the people’s wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible”?

Visiting China was a highlight for me last year, and as I have said, China’s thinking and action about the conflicting pressures of such rapid economic development on conservation and wildlife issues is more advanced than I thought.  The European Union, the UK, US and China, unlike Australia, have put a price on carbon, and China is at the forefront of a low carbon industrial revolution.

There has been a doubling of poaching for rhino horns in South Africa for the Asian market in the last year.  The use of animal body parts for traditional medicines is endangering some species of animals, such as the tiger.  I have the impression questioning traditional medicines would be taboo, but in Asia and China especially it is an overdue debate that has to happen.

READING: I initially found Jonathan Frantzen’s Freedom very funny, but I became depressed (about human behaviour) the more immersed I got, although it was still irresistible reading.  It had an environmental context or back drop, complete with contradictions, hypocrisies and redemptions.  One character is very anti cat – and Frantzen was amusingly awful about them, which I normally wouldn’t approve of.  It did however, make me feel guilty about occasionally not always having my cats in at night…but I can’t always find them! 

TONY THE TIGER UPDATE: Please view the latest campaign video for Free Tony The Tiger by Big Cat Rescue.  For further information and to view a new comprehensive site for Tony click here .  Please sign the petition or circulate!

White Lions at the National Zoo & Aquarium, Canberra. Photograph by Gary Ramage

GEORGE ADAMSON: Thank you to Michelle Johnson for kindly sending this link to a beautiful montaged tribute to George Adamson and his lions, by Mayra Bell.  Click here to see photographs of Elsa, Boy and Christian and marvelous photographs of the camp at Kora.  Enjoy!

8 Responses to “Tasmania, Jon Lewis, Mari Nawi, Ocean, Fresh Water & Rivers, China, Tony The Tiger, George Adamson”

  1. Heulwen Says:

    Error: Whilte lions?..oops, should have read ‘white’.

  2. Heulwen Says:

    The ‘Morning Mist’ by Peter Dombrovskis I must agree with J is beautiful and relaxing – can almost hear the rippling as the water flows round the bend, and it’s a ‘must see’ after reading all about ‘The Wild River Swindle’ by Graham Lloyd of The Australian’ just to unwind again!
    The whilte lions at Canberra Zoo look alert and ready for anything, and although alike in many ways yet looking closer they are slightly different – lovely photo.
    There is such a lot (which I missed on the last visit)to read in this blog, that I keep coming back to.
    Thanks Ace, you are wonderful you know.

  3. James DeVere Says:

    Hello Ace,

    The photos and first words plus the
    layout is fab. I love the look
    and feel of this as well as the
    information like a delicious stuffed

    I especially loved the white lions. I
    think Canberra zoo has some white

    Nice one . Thank`you.


  4. Heulwen Says:

    History of Australia, Under: Mari Nawa – I found the canoe building very interesting, especially the way they harvested the bark from a white stringy bark tree ready for moulding into shape,I felt like having a go at it..if it wasn’t such hard work.
    And to cap it all seeing a video of Ace and John being interviewed by Phillip Schoffield which contained pictures of ‘Christian’, and once more I felt as it was just happening in the here and now,(because it’s difficult to think that it was all those years back), and that’s the way I prefer to think about him (them).

  5. Blanc Says:

    The Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend photo is just beautiful. You’re so right about the power of photography for helping environmental causes. The immediate impact of a visual image can be more descriptive than only words, and will support any arguments for a cause.

    I can’t say that I always agree with the way environmentalist attempt to save an area or wildlife, but photos and videos (especially striking ones like the ones you featured in this blog post) give pause to consider whether there is something there of value to be treated with greater awareness and sensitivity.

  6. The Maggie Says:

    hopefully you don’t find this too annoying. i wanted to say thank you for for documentary about christian, the story makes me smile whenever i think of it. blessings, Maggie Callahan

  7. Michelle Johnson Says:

    Hello Ace!

    I was so glad to see that you enjoyed the video I sent you. The images of Kora, George and ‘his’ lions are forever ingrained into my mind.

    I also agree with you about China’s continuing use of animal body parts in traditional medicine and how this topic desperately needs to be addressed again. I believe it’s been unequivocally proven by Western medicine that these animal ‘parts’ hold no benefits whatsoever for man….hasn’t it?

    Your blog is always so full of interesting facts and photographs and I want to thank you for taking the time to write about topics you feel passionate about.

    Every time I receive your blog, I can be assured of two things, an interesting read on a variety of topics and I’m guaranteed to be learning something new.

    Take care and God Bless,


  8. George Says:

    Dear Ace,
    Hello, I hope you are well. I want to thank you so much for what you did for Christian and the world because the gift that Christian is to us all. Your relationship with him shows the relationship that humans should enjoy with all animals. Ace, I believe Christian’s story has not been fully told. I believe I have a photo that may be Christian around the time he was going off and trying to create his own life but still in touch with George and Tony. How would a photog have any idea he wasn’t photographing a wild lion as oppossed to one of Adamson’s? I believe a call should be put out to all press, film makers etc operating in the areas (like Meru, Kora etc) where Christian is likely to have been around the time to see if perhaps they got him on film and perhaps we’d know more of his life. The world could use it. Does any of Christian’s DNA exist? Boys? Would be fascinating to test the lions of the area. I watched a show called Survivorman, when he was in Africa (forget where) there were reports of a 700lb man lion in the area. Not many lions hit the size of Christian so perhaps this big boys is a descendant? If you ever watch Big Cat Diary and watch the Ridge Pride, the males are very large but incredibly tender and gentle with their young, more so then most lions I have seen footage of. At the time, the two ruling males controlled that pride, they produced exceptional cubs named Solo, Cheza and Sala, that show was filmed in Kenya. Can you please raise awareness against the Everland Zoo? I’ve tried to shine as much light on them as possible. They “set up” big cat fights between lions and tigers by agitating them in many ways and putting too many in small areas. They film it all for a tv show (South Korea????) and laugh as animals are hurt, tigers are drowing each other, etc. They took a lion cub (6 months or so)who had been able to stand up for himself against the tigers in the enclosure with the support of his pride. He was removed from there as were several of the adult tigers who’d previously gone after him, they were all put inside a fenced in area behind a garage I guess. The tigers were unleashed on the poor little fellow and based on the video I would think killed him, commentators crack up with laughter but posted the lion cub survived with minor scratches. I have notified Born Free and Zoo check but we have to find some way to stop these cruel people and get those animals to people who’ll love and protect them. These videos are all on youtube if you can bare to watch them.
    I hope you are well and happy!

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