One week ago early morning I got picked up by the bus infront of my hostel which gave me a lift to the railway station in Proserpine. As the train was late as usual, I needed to wait more than one hour at the railway station. The train ride in the morning was quite short, as I already got off the train at the next station. In theory there is a bus each morning from Bowen to Collinsville with an exchange time of just one minute. But as the train is always late, that’s just a theoretical option. In practice I got a lift directly to Scottville where I stayed for three nights with Carol and her husband Vince, which are wildlife caretakers. The Bowen basin is the largest coal deposit of Australia, and she’s also part of the anti-coal grassroot movement. Especially due to the current discussion of the construction of a new HELE (high-emission low-efficiency😆) coal fired power station.
Furthermore there’re currently 7 proposed projects in the Galilee Coal Basin for the future development of it. The largest proposed mine is Alpha North Coal with a proposed coal output of 80 Mio. tonnes per annum. The project is developed by Waratah Coal, which is basically owned by Clive Palmer, a mining baron with mainly interests in iron ore mining in the Pilbara. Followed by two nearby projects, Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner Coal. Each of the project has a proposed coal output of 30 Mio. tonnes per annum. Both projects are developed in a joint venture from Hancock and GVK, the latter is an Indian conglomerate. Whereas Hancock Prospecting has a long standing history in iron ore mining and is currently under control of Gina Rinehart. She’s at the moment the richest person of Australia, with a current net worth of about 14 bn A$. Probably the most publicly known project, is the Carmichael coal project, which is developed by the Indian company Adani. This is just another Adani invest in Australia. In it’s current state it’s only looking for a coal output of 10-15 Mio. tonnes per annum.
On the other hand there are already five solar farms in operation around Collinsville with a cumulated peak power of 375 MW, which is almost twice the peak power of the no longer operating coal fired power station. Several square kilometres of bushland was cleared for these solar farms. Probably not in the nicest way for the wild life as Carol told me. These solar farms are almost maintenance free, and only during the raining season the grass needs to be mowed. Apart from that the solar farms doesn’t offer many local jobs, which make them not quite popular in the local community as the coal mines around Collinsville.
With Garry, a friend of Carol, and a very knowledgeable member of the anti-coal movement, I had a very long and intense conversation at his farm during my days in Scottville. The other day we went via the Strathmore Homestead to the Bowen River Hotel into the outback. The old Bowen river hotel, formerly known as Heidelberg Inn, is situated along an old cattle track. Back in the days there was every 30 miles an accommodation for the stockmen, as this was the typical distance they could drove the cattle per day.
During another day I helped Carol to release a young Wallaroo at the property of one of her friends. So she put the Wallaroo into a bag, with a small trick, and then sat it onto her lap in the car. I just need to drive the car, and make sure the Wallaroo wasn’t affecting this, while he was struggeling in the bag. The property of Joanne was about 30 min drive out of town. She and her husband living in a self constructed mud brick house. They even made the mud bricks by their own, and used second hand windows and doors. So the appearance of that one is pretty unique.