My message for AGL
Warn-mar-in (Westernport bay)
One humble bay
Time too far away
If you could just leave now
We could all stay
Is enough for all of us
Silver wave, beach, fallen tree
A foreign island
Just let us be
Shore scrub, simple sand
Innocent tide, needless land
Cleansing our unwashed hands
Humble waves surge
How could you so misunderstand
Bird song, fish
Low tide, the pure sands shift
The eddy’s fill the pools
In the morning mist
Herons fly above
Dolphins swim free
Without fear, the children
play on the quay
The tea-tree maze, greets
The beach, the healing waves
Across my heart this untouched water
Must be left alone
Or the gods will bring, the end of days
Rory Shaw McGinley, Crib Point July the 5th 2020
We came here from St Kilda because we no longer wanted to live in the clutter of the city. I didn’t really want to come, but I did. What it’s done has changed my life. My lifestyle has totally changed. I go to the beach most days and swim all year round.
When I found the beach, I found a reason for being here and I believe that God lives I Merricks beach. That’s why I go and see him every day.
It strips me back to who I am, to who I really am, barefoot. It gives you a connection to the heart. Merricks Beach is a lovely place. It’s always beautiful, but at low tide it’s especially beautiful. There’s a kind of metaphor there for being uncovered, the bareness of low tide, baring all of who you are. There it is, warts and all, like it or not kind of thing.
You see dolphins down there. A whole lot of shorebirds, eagles … it’s just beautiful, beautiful bush at the back of the beach as well. You get rid of all that crap from what you do. I work in construction. I work in multi storey buildings. It’s such a contrast being at Merricks Beach in a pair of bathers. It’s the other end of the world.
What I really l like about Western Port bay is the kind of humility it has. It’s not beckoning people like the south of France, the Riviera, or even Port Phillip Bay with its hype, really. Western Port Bay just sits there quietly being beautiful. It’s a very simple kind of bay with French Island right in the middle of it. For me it’s the innocence and humility it has and that’s why it doesn’t need anything else added to it.
I love Wooley’s Beach. It’s a great place to go and sit and contemplate. I love the contrast there with the mangroves, the wetlands compared to the beaches you get further down the bay. Crib Point’s just a lovely little haven really. A place where you can get away from it all. Once again, it’s humble.
It doesn’t need any complications. It doesn’t need to be added to with a great, ugly FSRU.
At first, I didn’t think much about AGLs proposal. Then I started reading some of the initial environmental studies and found out that they’re going to use the water from the bay to evaporate the liquified gas. They are going to create chlorine for the electrical reaction system, to keep the heat exchange clean and pump that back into to the bay, at a temperature 6 to 7 degrees lower than it would have been when it got drawn in. There’s a whole eco system there and now it’s 6 degrees lower and stinks of chlorine! Things began to mount, and I realised, this is wrong it’s totally wrong.
I think a lot of people are ignoring the potential for a very bad accident as well. This a huge vessel and it’s full of liquified natural gas. If that goes off, if we were sitting here, which is 800 meters maybe a kilometre from it, it would be the end of it. It’s got such potential for an environmental disaster. That’s what really worries me.
If I was sitting across from the politicians, I’d say, ‘You need to come for a walk with me to Merricks Beach. Come with me for a ride around the bay and then tell me you want to dig a bigger trench because the shipping lane’s got to be widened, you want to bring in 12 to 40 more liquified gas carrier ships a year and you want to shove this horrible great thing in Crib Point, near my house. Come with me for a ride around the bay and see if you still want to do it.’
They wouldn’t know what Westernport is. Most people, they say, ‘Where do you live?’ and I say, ‘Crib Point.’ And they say, ‘Where’s that?’ I like it that way. I would show them the diversity of flora and fauna that exists in the little biosphere. Let them see. Why would you want to change this, make it different? We’re kind of devoluting evolution. We’ve done enough to the planet. Let’s leave the rest alone. What we’ve got left of it we are ruining.
Our beautiful Bay. That’s what I’d be showing them.
I was born in London and came here when I was 13 and even in England, we were always moving houses. We came to Australia and moved houses 2 or 3 times again and I have lived in 3 different places around St Kilda, for example, before we moved here. Even though when I go to London, I really have that sense of place, I’ve also found it here. There’s more to life than the day to day samsara, more to life than living and working in the city, with all the great cafes and restaurants.
I know I belong. This is where I belong. It’s a good place to stay and see it out. It’s grounded me. It’s made me see the world from a different point of view.