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Dave Groves’ recently published photograph (HERE) of the long-defunct West Pyengana State School site prompted quite a bit of comment – some of it decrying Dave’s supposed attempt to somehow link the closure of the school to plantation development clearly visible in the photograph.

While I don’t think Dave was in any way attempting to link these two things in his poignant photograph as some respondents seem to think, there are places in Tasmania where such a direct link can be made.

Such places as Preolenna, Meuna and Flowerdale, former rich farming and dairying country, now subsumed by 2020 Vision plantations as far as the eye can see. I predict that, as a society, we will rue the day that we allowed this to happen as we try to convert the land back to food production. I think it has already started happening.

I spoke to Bob McMahon about this—here’s what he said:

“I toured the north-west, including the Tarkine, with a logging contractor friend. He aimed to show me how Tasmania had been destroyed by both shoddy logging practices and the obscenity of
plantations that had replaced rich dairying communities.

“Where the community of MeunNa used to be is the saddest place in Tasmania. Plantations where houses used to be. Letterboxes beside the roadside. Driveways. Farm dams in amongst the trees.

Old concrete slabs where dairies used to be. The beds of daffodils hinting at where homes used to be. The plaque marking the site of the MeunNa Youth Centre.

My logging contractor friend related this poignant tale. He said an old woman was being escorted out of the front door of her MeunNa house to a waiting car while a bulldozer went in through the back.

They didn’t have the decency, he said, to give her time to leave before they demolished her
house.

But hey, it seems you can’t stand in the way of ―progress‖ even if it means destroying lives.

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