A gem came to me last week via the Griffith Review online in the form of a digital essay – Ground Truthing - by artist and academic Pat Hoffie. It describes a road trip she made through the Queensland outback to investigate the state of affairs at Bimblebox Nature Reserve, formerly Glen Innes Station. In 2003 the Bimblebox Nature Refuge Agreement looked like guaranteeing the survival of the area's flora and fauna ‘in perpetuity’. The Environment Protection Agency in Queensland claimed it as being “the richest, most biologically diverse region in the Desert Uplands”.
Unfortunately, despite the support of all levels of government, no-one thought to insert a clause that would prevent mining in the nature refuge. Four years later, enter Clive Palmer.....
The blurb for Hoffie’s essay states:
“...a contemporary road trip, immeasurably enriched by the images, sights and sounds and the strong and unique characters who inhabit this land and who are passionate about it. Listen, watch and read an artist’s journey to the heart of Queensland and it will earn a place in your imagination, and heart."
It will indeed but it might break your heart as well.
Hoffie has used the multi-media publishing tool Atavist to present the lengthy text, the photographs and a few videos along the way.
The prose itself is always engaging, and often exquisite, for example:
"As if in preparation for this golden hour, the Rusty Jacket gums appeared to have slithered into gold-lamé outer garments for the event..."
Some breathtaking photographs by Emma Harm and Greg Harm accompany the text.
It's not a quick read so when you can make the time, brew a pot of tea, shut out all potential intrusions and thank your lucky stars for people like Pat Hoffie and for the Griffith Review.
You’ll find it at: