Operation Bounceback taking a giant stride forward

Fantastic achievements in the Flinders!

Lyrebird Communications

For 23 years ‘Operation Bounceback’ has been fighting feral animals in the Flinders Ranges. Imagine seeking an annual budget for the same project 23 times! That takes vision, commitment, determination, quality and the support of about 10 different Ministers.

At the 20 year celebration, it was highlighted ‘SA Government, staff, volunteers, landholders and local communities work together to reverse some of the impacts of the last 150 years’, and by the logos on the report cover, the Australian Government is probably also a partner-organisation.

It is a classic example of a trusted partnership for conservation.

Controlling foxes has been a priority since 1993 and Grasswrens, Pythons and the Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby are already benefiting.  The current fox-baiting effort covers 5,500 km2.

Twenty years of feral animal control has laid a platform for the reintroduction of long-lost species.  After an amazing Ecological Society of Australia conference I was lucky…

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Refugees are people too. Imagine what they have been through – what they still have to go through. #refugees #war #poetry #writing #thought

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Dispossessed

I love my home

my familiar –

The dust chokes me,

The heat blisters my skin, my lips.

There are cracks in the walls,

a small hole in the roof.

No ceiling,

No door,

Just a hessian curtain

Hanging from two nails.

It is a ‘hovel’.

I have been taught this since I came here.

It is no place to live,

It is a place where the unfortunate

can only exist.

But it is my home.

It is the place where all my family,

Those who survived,

Clustered together,

Faced each day

Together.

Cried, laughed,

Shared food,

Shared hunger.

Together,

We shared everything.

II

When I left my home

I left a part of me behind.

It was my place,

They were my cracks,

my existence.

My home was destroyed,

Trampled underfoot

by the War on Terror.

I do not understand this war,

But I understand terror.

My life was shattered while I was away, looking for food.

When I returned

The cracks were gone.

There was only rubble,

And dirt,

The crushed corpse of my mother,

The broken cradle,

The broken infant,

And a dusty piece of hessian.

Suddenly, we were not safe.

We had no home,

We did not belong.

The police were angry,

The survivors were fighting,

My sister, my father, myself,

We fled.

On the boat

I cried to remember my home,

my love.

I do not know what to feel anymore;

I am lost,

I am numb,

At sea.

III

A long journey later,

We reached this new land.

It was hot.

The sun blistered my skin, my lips.

Could I belong here?

Men with pale skin took us to a house.

They did not smile.

They shouted.

They were angry.

Like the people back home.

Angry.

I did not understand what they were saying.

They were like the police at home.

Perhaps they would kill us,

Perhaps we had not escaped?

My father was taken away from me,

Then my sister.

I was locked in a room.

I was given food.

Lots of food.

Strange food – but I soon got used to it.

I was no longer hungry.

Ever.

I had a bed with a mattress,

Blankets and sheets,

And a roof with no holes,

And a door with a lock.

It was not like home.

I was given books,

they taught me,

And now I understand

that I am not welcome here.

This is not my home,

I have no home any more.

IIII

I wait.

I wait for my father,

For my sister,

For all I have left,

For they are not with me…

I go to school.

I am with the normal Australian kids.

It is better for me,

It looks good.

I feel alone.

There is no one here who knows where I come from,

Where I have been,

Who I am.

At home when I cried

The tears left streaks on my dirty face.

Here, my face is clean

And I learn to cry inside.

Anna Stirling Pope

April 2004

‘The Beggar’s Coat’ – thinking about poverty #writing #poetry #poverty

the beggar's coat

Another poem commenting on the disenfranchisement of some of our poorest citizens. Surely there is more we could do in this space?

The beggar’s coat

Do not count the buttons on my coat

the missing ones will not have been replaced.

The coat, once fine, now hangs upon my wasted back –

now sees things never before imagined –

now feels nothing.

June 2004

Reconciliation – so important yet still marginalised #writing #reconciliation #Australia #aboriginal #poem #poetry #music

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Being a member of the human race, I am passionate about the way we treat other people.

Being an Australian, I am passionate about the need to improve the way we embrace reconciliation with the intent of making a difference.

Are we doing enough? No.

Are we still doing things that marginalise our traditional owners? Yes.

I wrote a choral work about this – check it out on youtube The Salt Pan

Here is the poem.

The salt-pan

In my heart I belong,

but in my mind I see

that I am one of the different ones.

I am an exception.

Special allowances are made for me

so that I can remain in my own country.

Everything is a battle,

the land a meal of left overs –

doled out in cold charity.

‘Sorry’ comes late –

too much lost, unclaimable.

The past is not reconciled with the now…

The future is barren – cracked –

a salt pan after years of drought.

Anna Pope, Sept 2004

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