The gold miner and the dragonfly … a modern day parable

macquarie river sketch M.Hogan

Macquarie River. From the sketchbook. M.Hogan


“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the dragonfly.
“Where would I live?” asked the dragonfly.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“I don’t have another river,” said the dragonfly, “This is the only river I have.”

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the frogs.
“Where would we live?” asked the frogs.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“We don’t have another river,” said the frogs, “This is the only river we have.”

The gold miner went to the kangaroos, the platypus, the trout cod (who were particularly hard to find), the wild ducks, the tiny crustaceans, the river birds … he spoke to all the animals and asked them all the same question…

“Will you sell me your river?”
“Where would we live?” all the animals replied.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“We don’t have another river,” said the animals, “This is the only river we have.”

The gold miner was getting frustrated so he went to speak to the elders.

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the Wiradyuri elders.
“Where would we live?” asked the elders.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“Another Wambool?” asked the elders. “There isn’t another Wambool. This is the only Wambool we have.”

“Hmmm,” thought the gold miner. “I know what I’ll do. I’ll go to the Council.”

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the councillors.

And all of a sudden the river went quiet and every living creature that lived along the river listened intently to what they would say…


Two conversations from the week.

An acquaintance …

“I’m thinking of leaving Bathurst.”
“Where would you go?” I asked, a little stunned.
“To somewhere where they have no environment.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“To somewhere where they’ve completely screwed up their environment, where there is no environment left, where they’ve realised the error of their ways, and where they want to rebuild the environment. That’s where I’d go.”


Dinawan Dyirribang, Wiradyuri elder…

“It’s our life blood because the rivers and creeks are like the veins in your body … they carry blood so you survive … the water that comes down our rivers and creeks does the same thing.”

Please don’t defer the vote on Wednesday councillors.
Please protect the Macquarie (Wambool) River and everything that lives along it.
For now and future generations.

Please vote no.


I’d be grateful if you’d share this one. Two days and counting …

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    1. Helen Bergen
      Posted 15 February 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you.

      Yours in despair.

      • Marg
        Posted 15 February 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        There’s a growing number me thinks Helen.

        • Helen Bergen
          Posted 15 February 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          The extent of this sort of irreversible harm on the environment and on the biodiversity and ecological systems we so often take for granted is mind-blowing. A juggernaut that individuals, communities, and organisations across the state, across the country, across the planet are fighting.

          The utterly shocking thing is that with these sorts of actions that cause immediate and accumulated great harm on the precious planet are okayed by environmental consultants: project by project; report by report; fight by fight – this is how this one and only oh-so beautiful planet – with its creatures and water systems and flora – is dying. Species by species. River by river. Forest by Forest. Mine by mine….

          Climate change is an irreversible runaway train that has only just started slowly running down a steep hill – and we don’t know the half of the feedback loops that are already happening.

          And now today South Australia has said it wants to be the nuclear waste dump of the world because of the $billions it can make from it. That’s waste that remains critically dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. Humans have been in Australia for 40 to 70,000 years. Australia was colonised just over 200 years ago.

          What madness is this? I feel such deep sadness that individuals and governments have facilitated this death by a thousand cuts. This one and only planet….

    2. Wendy Bestwick
      Posted 15 February 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Hi Marg
      This is so beautiful, more importantly – powerful, well done.
      I agree with you wholeheartedly.


      • Marg
        Posted 15 February 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately I don’t think there will be the opportunity for a NO vote Wendy, not unless Monica Morse can get a seconder for a different motion. But you never know…

        It will most likely be deferred till they receive more information.

    3. Mary Moody
      Posted 16 February 2016 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      Thanks again Marg. Will be watching closely this week.

      • Marg
        Posted 16 February 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        So will we Mary. The front page of the Advocate yesterday had the following:

        This was from the conversation between Regis’s development manager and the golf club …

        “From our meeting he would like to help in the provision of an allocation of treated effluent water that is piped past our golf club on the way to the gold mine. He will also provide expert mining geologists for the search and support of prospective bores and help with machinery if required for the development of the golf course and/or increased water storage.”

    4. Posted 16 February 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful and gutting. 🙁 I’m staggered by the stupidity and short-sightedness.

      • Marg
        Posted 16 February 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        I’m trying to make sense of it all Krista. In principle I’m opposed to water being denied to the river. At 10 million litres a day for instance, that’s 3,650,000,000 litres annually. Nobody can tell me that won’t have an impact. Nobody. Especially over 10, possibly 20 years. On the other hand I can understand councillors wanting all the facts. They don’t have them at the moment. Whether they get the correct facts is another question, given that Regis will pick and pay the company to do the Environmental Impact Study they need (see Helen’s comments above). There will be a lot of eyes on this one. Apparently even if Regis put in a Development Application to the NSW government, Bathurst Regional Council still retains control of whether to sell them the treated effluent or not.

    5. Sue Douglas
      Posted 17 February 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Marg, great piece, simple wisdom humans seem to be so good at failing

      • Marg
        Posted 18 February 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        There were a lot of wise voices at Council last night Sue. Vote deferred with two new amendments to the motion, ensuring the call for more information does not represent an in principal agreement with Regis and secondly that there will be ongoing community consultation. I’m paraphrasing but that was the upshot of it. Wonderful community spirit. Very proud to be a Bathurstian.

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