When travelling around Australia we marvelled at the scenery, the flora and fauna, the red dusty colours of the outback, the endless expanse of the Mitchell grass plains, the remoteness and emptiness of many of the areas we passed through, camping in Matilda (our faithful van) under the vast Australian star-studded sky. The Australian wilderness experiences filled my heart and thousands of my photographs.
Then we arrived in the North West corner of Western Australia…
This is the North West Shelf Venture. Drilling and processing oil and natural gas from off shore. Representing an investment of A$27 billion, the North West Shelf Venture facilities constitute Australia’s largest oil and gas resource development and now account for more than 40 per cent of Australia’s oil and gas production.
Many years ago Australia thrived on the wool from the back of the national sheep flock, but synthetics killed that industry, now it is the huge oil and mineral boom that keeps Australia thriving in a world that is in deep economic troubles.
But there is conflict in this area. It looks like a wilderness area, but just across the road and stretching back into the ranges are these amazing natural rock formations. They look like slag heaps and I found it very hard to believe that they were natural formations.
“Dampier Archipelago contains the largest concentration of rock art in the world, estimated at perhaps a million Petroglyphs.( go here to see images of the rock art) The art is extraordinary in its range and diversity. Associated with the art is a rich archaeological record, including camp sites, quarries, shell middens and stone features. Many motifs and some stone features are connected to the beliefs and ceremonial practices of Aboriginal people in the Pilbara region today. The entire Archipelago is a continuous Cultural Landscape providing a detailed record of both sacred and secular life reaching from the present back into the past, perhaps to the first settlement of Australia.”
We scrambled over these rocks and found dozens of rock art drawings. Of course the giants of industry do not want to know about this amazing cultural treasure. I do not know the answer to this deeply divided question, which is the most important, the income from the oil and gas, or the history of a culture that is thousands of years old?
I think industry with it’s vast resources may be able to brush these important artefacts under the carpet, figuratively speaking.
We could not get very close or go inside the North West Shelf Venture it all seemed very secretive, but when we arrived in Kalgoorlie, the gold producing capital of Australia, it was very different. Kalgoorlie flaunts its gold heritage. there is a very interesting Hall of Fame museum detailing the history of gold in the area, and bus tours are taken to the HUGE super pit Based in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, The Super Pit produces up to 850,000 ounces of gold every year and its operation far outweighs any other mining centre in Australia. The Super Pit is the biggest gold open pit mine in the country.
Thank you Sue for opening your dictionary at this word, “industry”. It will be interesting to see what other bloggers come up with. Go to this site to see them. “A word a week”