Groundtruthing
Multimedia

ground truthing

The plight of Bimblebox wasn’t simply some soft sentiment, touchy-feely platitude about protecting the weak and vulnerable (all those furry and feathered little endangered species) – it was about protecting the law. And secondly, it was about protecting the economy of the future.


Artist and academic PAT HOFFIE travels through the Queensland outback – a land of ancient myth, modern legend and contemporary settlement – and provides a unique perspective on what the realignment of people, resources and land use as a result of the mining industry looks and sounds like up close.

Her stunning essay documents a contemporary road trip, immeasurably enriched by sights and sounds, and the strong and unique characters who inhabit this land and who are passionate about it.


Extract – Introduction by Julianne Schultz

Mining has long had precedence over farming or conservation in the bush – thanks to a legal hierarchy of use and land value – but this is now coming under attack.

Farmers and other rural residents are joining with conservationists and Indigenous groups to challenge coal seam gas operators. Unusual alliances are forming and gaining momentum across the nation and, in the process, reshaping political and social geography.

For those who live in the cities this is a perplexing development, one which demands that we better understand what is happening in the bush, what it looks and feels like up close – how it is changing day to day life and the land that sustains it.

From her base in central Brisbane, artist Pat Hoffie knew that if it was to make sense to her she would have to go and see and feel it herself.  So she loaded her ute, packed her sketch books and camera and headed north west. After fourteen hours of solid driving on the road northwest she arrived at Bimblebox, an upland nature conservancy that is now threatened by coal seam gas mining.

Her journey through the land of ancient myth, modern legend and contemporary settlement provides a unique perspective on what this realignment of people, resources and land use looks and sounds like up close.

The outcome is 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.


Listen to Pat discuss the story of ground truthing and her journey to Bimblebox, with Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National.