It’s the end of another interesting year for the Great Walk and the world in general. Great news from this year is the announcement of the end of logging from 2024. This is tempered by the exclusion of mining leases from this policy, which means that much of the forest is still under threat. The endorsement of this policy was the result of nearly 50 years of activism by many different groups, and our efforts over the past 33 years are part of that movement. Jess Beckerling, the Convenor of WAFA (of which we are a member organisation and I am a Committee member) was also awarded the Bob Brown Environmentalist of the year.

The threat of fire is continuous and I was affected by the most recent one, in Calgardup and Boranup. The property we have held our Summer Camp on for the past few years was also affected, but Malcolm wants the Summer Camp to go ahead. The property was saved, and Malcolm says it is a little oasis, so I encourage you all to come and help us heal. Reminder: Summer Camp is from 30th December to 9th January and then another week at the Tribal Grounds Nannup.

We have held 3 successful walks this year. In April Basil Schur co-ordinated a walk in Tootanellup, near Mt Barker, and we walked through regenerated farms and wetlands as well as climbing in the Porongurups and the Stirlings. This walk was well-attended and Sheila Murray and Jude Linnett did a wonderful job of feeding us all.

In Winter we went to Quobba Station in our bus, with a smaller group, for snorkeling and swimming adventures. Morgan Morris with the help of Vera Ross did a marvelous facilitation of this walk, which was more casual, such as we have on the Summer Camp.

At Gnarloo, June 2021

At Gnarloo, June 2021

Our Spring Walk was in the Granites and the Wandoo, in the Bruce Rock and York Shires, and all the planning was done by Bevan Meredith and Marina Millar. I was the food coordinator for this walk and about 20 more people turned up than were registered. We all were fed well, but it created unnecessary angst and I ask that everyone register well in advance, not just turn up assuming that we knew you were coming. I thank Fiona Wheeler for her assistance with the food shopping.

 

Wally has continued to care for our Tribal Grounds, assisted by Tau, and we now have solar lights. We will spend some time there at our Summer Camp and we can see where our new dam will go. We hope to have somewhere to swim in the near future. Wally and Robert hosted a gathering and a walk there in October for Veteran’s Week. We also need to dedicate a tree for our Tribal Elder, Cath O’Connell, who we lost this year.

I walked the Bibbulmun twice this year, from both directions, and I have reconnoitered it for future walks. I have spent most of the year in the forest and find it very healing while life is so uncertain and we are separated from loved ones. I look forward to another productive and successful year for ourselves and the environment. I measure success by the kindness and care we display for each other and the Earth, our Mother, and I rejoice that care for the environment is becoming Government Policy, although I feel that there is still a lot of work to be done before we are truly Caretakers.

 

Caralynn Hoft