Gomeroi Elders are planning a day of music and cultural activities on October 15 to showcase the beauty of the Pilliga State Forest and build the resistance to Santos’ proposed coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in the area.
Gomeroi Elder Aunty Suellyn Tighe invited all supporters to attend the “Yugal Billigadhi (Songs of the Pilliga): Day of Music and Connection” at Yarrie Lake on the edge of the Pilliga State Forest.
Aunty Suellyn said the lake, which was formed by a meteorite strike thousands of years ago and is now home to more than 70 bird species, is “a perfect stage”.
“Music has been playing in the Pilliga bush since time immemorial,” she said. “The whistle of wind blowing through the forest, the delightful song of birds, the strange beat of tall trees knocking their branches and even the thud of human foot fall ... is a unique and specialised concert.”
Santos is trying to push ahead with its controversial coal seam gas project in the Pilliga despite opposition from Traditional Owners. The Gomeroi have a registered Native Title claim over areas that will be impacted by Santos' 850 CSG wells.
Aunty Suellyn said the day of music would help people to “truly understand what is at stake” and “directly experience the exquisite beauty and utter uniqueness of the Pilliga forest”.
“Individual functions provided by the forest, such as carbon dioxide sequestration and discharge in the Great Artesian basin, are absolutely critical,” Aunty Suellyn said. “However, it is the forest as an organic whole which is what we need to protect.”