In 2008, Steve Posselt paddled the length of the Mary River in protest against what he regarded as the ill-conceived Traveston Crossing Dam proposal.
He’d previously achieved a good measure of notoriety by paddling his unmistakable yellow kayak all the way from Brisbane to Adelaide via the Brisbane, Condamine, Darling and Murray Rivers, dragging it on its wheels when the rivers ran out.
Later during the Traveston campaign, he took to the water again, paddling from Brisbane to Sydney to hand-deliver letters of protest to federal environment minister Peter Garrett, the handover taking place on the steps of the opera house.
Passionate about climate change, this Fellow of Engineers Australia, and Chair of the Sustainable Energy Society was never likely to settle quietly into retirement and hatched a plan for a series of international paddles that would culminate in his paddling across the English Channel and up the Seine into Paris for the climate talks in 2016.
He’s just released a book “Tough is not enough; how a kayaking journey through three continents changed a climate warrior”, covering that momentous paddle and will be a guest in the Speaker’s Tent at this year’s Mary River Festival in Kandanga on Saturday November 9.
This year’s festival marks ten years on from Federal Environment Minister Pater Garrett’s decision under the federal EPBC legislation to not grant approval for the Traveston Crossing Dam. It was a Remembrance Day announcement that few in the
Mary Valley, or indeed from their wide network of supporters they built up during the epic three and a half year campaign, are likely to forget.
The festival has the theme “A decade of reflection” and celebrates not just the victory in what was described as a “David and Goliath battle”, but more importantly, the reprieve the “no” decision gave to the whole community, it’s human community and its iconic threatened species.
There’s a great music line-up throughout the afternoon, an attempt to better last year’s world record of 73 cat’s claw weavers making baskets from the insidious environmental weed, the return of Martin Fingland of Geckoes Australia with his live native animals, specially featuring Travis the Mary River Turtle who was a big star in the campaign.
As the sun sets, it will give way to the popular laser light show and threatened species lantern parade.
Festival organisers are asking not only those involved in the campaign to join in the celebration but also those who’ve moved into the Mary valley in the last decade.
The festival is on the right in Main Street Kandanga gates open at 11.30am. Entry is a mere $5. (16 and under, $2) There’s an after party in the hall at 7.30 featuring the energetic Cigany Weaver supported by Paul Clements.