The road to nowhere
Manifestations — a year in the life of the Tarkine
Available from Kaganovich Productions, PO Box 83, Paddington NSW 2021 and the Wilderness Shop, Salamanca Place, Hobart
Review by Joel Wilson
In 1995, the Tasmanian government bulldozed a road straight through the middle of 350,000 hectares of Tarkine wilderness in north-west Tasmania, dissecting vast tracts of moorland and the largest tract of untouched rainforest left in Australia. The government claimed the road was to open up the isolated north-west region for tourism, but its hidden agenda was to build the infrastructure for mining and logging.
A campaign began to stop the road, dubbed "the road to nowhere", from going ahead and to declare the unprotected Tarkine a World Heritage area. The battle was fought from the city courts to the remote forests of the Tarkine.
This 25-minute video shows the efforts of the people involved in the protests while the road was being built: Senator Bob Brown, MP Christine Milne and the incredible Tarkine Tigers, a tight-knit group of young people who kept constant vigil on the construction of the road throughout the year.
Their tenacity in trying to expose the truth about the road has already gone down in activist history. In all, there were over 1000 spirited protesters, over 100 spirited arrests.
The climax of the campaign takes place at the remote Donaldson River, where the northern road joins the southern road at the newly constructed bridge crossing the river. Film maker Gary Caganoff and his camera defy the state government's "media ban" and capture images of protesters, bad road making and environmental vandalism which made national news, embarrassed the government and helped bring the plight of the Tarkine to Australia's attention.
With little dialogue, the images speak for themselves. Most of the footage has been shot at the front line by the Tarkine Tigers. Caganoff's amazing images are set to great music. To those who were there, "Manifestations" brings tears to the eyes; to those who were not — anger.
The protest at the Donaldson River Bridge was dubbed by the mainstream media "the Tarkine Tigers' last stand". However, the fight continues to keep the Tarkine wild. Get a copy quick and show it to everybody.