Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



WINTER LIGHT: the Tasmanian mountains in winter

Well known Tasmanian landscape photographer Grant Dixon is launching a new book. Grant has been exploring the Tasmanian wilderness for some 40 years and undertaking trips to the mountains in winter for much of that time, capturing images featuring both grand vistas and intimate details of the winter landscape.

Grant says ‘I’m publishing a high quality, hard cover photographic book in the Tasmanian tradition of fine art productions and of using photography to activate awareness of the environment. The book features 89 images, captured over several decades, of the Tasmanian mountain landscape in winter’.

In his foreword, writer and photographer David Neilson states, “this exceptional collection of alpine images clearly reveals Grant’s outstanding artistic vision. ….. The human spirit desperately needs wilderness and Grant’s photos speak to us passionately of that need.

Grant has organised a pre order crowd fund to print the book. You can buy a copy of the book, please check here for details, and collect in Hobart, or have it posted to you. There are some great images and calendar on offer for people who are able to contribute more.

Continue reading “WINTER LIGHT: the Tasmanian mountains in winter”

Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal to undergo federal assessment

Tasmania is famed for its wild landscapes, much of which is protected in national parks and World Heritage.

In 2016, the Hodgman Liberal government changed the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) management plan, rezoning various sections of what was once Wilderness zone, into ‘Self Reliant Recreation’ zoning, which allowed developers to propose commercial developments in these zones. Perhaps the highest profile case has involved the plan to allow helicopter landings to take place at Lake Malbena on the Central Plateau. This was approved by the Federal environment minister, and has been slowly moving forward despite a strong community campaign and legal challenge.

In a significant development, it has now been announced the proposal will now require Federal assessment of its environmental impacts.

Continue reading “Lake Malbena ‘helicopter tourism’ proposal to undergo federal assessment”

Celebrating the Winter that (almost) Wasn’t

What a winter! After several early starts – good snow falls in May and early June, it turned into a roller coaster of a ride, with continual boom and bust – big storms dropping impressive amounts of snow, then warm weather and rain hammering the snow pack. While the NSW mountains fared much better than in Victoria, conditions were often a bit ‘ordinary’ – icy, windy, etc. Tasmania had its usual boom and bust conditions, but with some fantastic snow pack, often an elusive and brief reality on that mountain island.

Because of the lock down, resorts closed early in VIC then never re-opened, so resorts have resembled ghost towns for much of the season, and businesses, who were suffering after a terrible fire season, had almost no trade. Lots of small business owners have been forced very close to the wall economically, and all businesses that managed to stay open had to get creative.

Now, as we move into Mud Season, the resorts in VIC are opening again as regional Victorians are allowed to travel. The good news is that the national parks are opening as well. Stalwarts are chasing the runs still to be had on Bogong and other high peaks in VIC, and the Main Range still has a good base in many places.

Hope the remaining ‘winter’ is a good one for you and that you manage to get out and enjoy it. And remember to support your local mountain business! Here’s to a better Winter of 2021.

Logging threat to Central Highlands fish hatchery

The northern Central Highlands of Victoria, to the north east of Melbourne is heavily forested hilly country that harbours endangered species, rainforest and wonderful mountain ash forests. A number of rivers, including the Rubicon and Snobs Creek, flow north, joining the Goulburn system. Sadly, the area has been heavily logged for decades.

This logging has been strongly resisted by locals (see for instance this report from 2018). Protest has focused on the environmental and economic impacts (there is a small eco tourism industry that operates in the region). But a threat to water quality, and hence a fish hatchery that relies on that water, has been gaining media interest lately. 

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Joining the dots on climate change and fire

Last summer, the Murdoch press played down the influence of climate change on the terrible fire season we experienced across much of the continent. Instead, they promoted the ‘arsonists are to blame’ line, which was then amplified across social media by climate deniers around the world, including one of Donald Trump’s sons.

While the hand of global warming was clear in that fire season, and this has been accepted in the various investigations carried out into the fires, conservative media and right wing deniers continue to peddle the falsehood that arsonists are to blame for bad fire seasons. The NSW Bushfire Inquiry debunked arson as a major cause in the fires that devastated that state. (Another favourite line run by conservatives is that a lack of hazard reduction burning also made fires worse).

study on the fires after the 2019/20 fires by the World Weather Attribution consortium showed that although “natural variation was very important and will continue to be important in fueling these large fire seasons”, climate change is making them “substantially more probable.” 

Now, with much of the west of the North American continent on fire, the same debate is being played out over there.

Continue reading “Joining the dots on climate change and fire”

Namadgi feral horse plan released

Wild horses pose a major threat to the Australian High Country. One of the dilemmas faced by land managers is that horse populations can cross borders to recolonise ecosystems if populations are removed in one state. Cross border collaboration between Victoria, NSW and the ACT is a key part of dealing with the problem.

The ACT Government has sent a strong message to its NSW and Victorian counterparts with the release of the Feral Horse Management Plan for Namadgi national park, which was devastated in last summer’s fires.

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Keep the Western Lakes Wild and Public

The proposal for helicopter-accessed luxury huts at Lake Malbena is the test case for more than 30 secret development plans under the current Government’s Expressions of Interest process.

This exclusive and secretive lease of $1,000/year will destroy the serenity and all that is precious about the Western Lakes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA)

Come along to a public meeting hosted by Fishers and Walkers against helicopter access Tasmania to hear the latest & what we can do about it. Tickets are required (due to Covid) but are free!
Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 2 PM – 4 PM

Continue reading “Keep the Western Lakes Wild and Public”

Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day

 National Threatened Species Day happens on 7 September.  It is a day to consider native plants, animals and ecosystems that are under threat and how we can protect them into the future. 

It is held annually to commemorate the night of 7 September 1936 when the last Tasmanian tiger died in Hobart Zoo. With the death of this animal the thylacine species became extinct. 

This year we thought we would focus on the mountain pygmy-possum.

Continue reading “Remembering the mountain pygmy-possum on National Threatened Species Day”

Online Victorian Backcountry Festival 2020

The 3rd Victorian backcountry festival should be happening this weekend at Mt Hotham. Sadly, the coronavirus lockdown meant we had to cancel the event. However, we have organised a wonderful, free, online event tomorrow afternoon (Sunday September 6).

It will be a relaxed Sunday afternoon full of FREE backcountry speakers, seminars and workshops. It will be held over Zoom. There are three parallel streams, finishing with a screening of the great Australian backcountry film The Western Faces.

Continue reading “Online Victorian Backcountry Festival 2020”

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