The Camp Walmadan booklet gives an insight into a recent successful community campaign. It also provides a great overview of the kinds of issues to consider when organising a large scale direct action convergence.
About the Walmadan Booklet
The Walmadan camp booklet was a collaborative effort by Nicola Paris, Tegan Mossop and a range of people who were involved in the campaign to stop the gas refinery at Walmadan (James Price Point), including the talented photographers and artists who are featured.
The new ‘WE WON edition’ is intended to accompany the original booklet as a ‘wrap around’ section, and was coordinated by Nicola, and features a range of excerpts from interviews she conducted with some camp participants, as well as other reflections and art and photos.
Both booklets were designed by Lilia – who spent many, many volunteer hours on this and to whom we give huge thanks!
They are designed to be printed as PDF’s in ‘booklet’ mode – colour front and back and we recommend downloading the high res version and printing both the original and the wrap around if you would like to keep it as a souvenir or reference.
Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to make this such a special resource and record of such an important campaign, and historic win.
Whilst there were many aspects to this campaign, this booklet is just one piece of the story. We look forward to seeing many more.
It’s important to show that people can make a difference… people can look to this and say ‘wow, those guys did that, well we can do it too’… it proves that you don’t have to let the state and big business get their way, and trample over the wishes of the people. You can make a difference. If you know you are right, don’t give up. – Fergus
James Price Point: The wrong place, the wrong people, the wrong community
By Martin Pritchard, Director of Broome based environmental group Environs Kimberley. Excerpt from the ‘We Won’ edition.
In a single-sentence to the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday, April 12 this year, Woodside and its joint venture partners announced that they would not be building gas refineries at James Price Point on the Kimberley coast.
Eight years after proposing the site, 50km north of Broome on the Dampier Peninsula, and following a lengthy campaign against them, Woodside claimed that onshore refineries were not economically feasible. Had the gas refineries been built at James Price Point, they would have been the thin end of the wedge in industrialising the Kimberley. With all his threats, pleas and lobbying, the WA Premier, Colin Barnett, could not convince the Browse Joint Venturers or the Broome community that the site he had chosen was the best site for processing offshore gas. While Mr Barnett has left the door open for development at James Price Point, Woodside has made it clear they have no interest in the site.
This was a historic decision for the Kimberley. The region has been in industry’s sights for decades. In 2005 a report, Developing the West Kimberley’s Resources by the Department of Industry and Resources, was published as a mining blueprint for the region. A key element of the blueprint was a gas hub on the Kimberley coast to power mining and mineral processing industries.
Mr Barnett, a previous Minister for Resources Development and Energy, said in 2010, “Just as the Pilbara was critically important to the development of WA from the ‘60s, over the next 50 years the Kimberley will play a similar role…”. This mindset, and the blueprint, set the WA Government and industry on a collision course with the community. It was like the quest to protect the Franklin River from damming 30 years earlier.
Mr. Barnett picked a fight with the wrong community. The campaign to protect James Price Point was driven by workers, tradies, doctors, teachers, lawyers, artists, writers, retirees, small business owners, social workers, nurses, labourers — people from all walks of life.
When residents learnt what was being proposed, they realised what they were about to lose and joined the campaign. As awareness of the plan spread, supporters from across the country mobilized. Groups of people at concerts and meetings eventually grew to 6,000 at a gathering in Melbourne, and 20,000 in Fremantle.
Dozens of arrests in Broome galvanized the community; the police’s Operation Archon spent over
$1 million in taxpayer funds on the James Price Point protests, and actions escalated. Woodside’s private security firms could not operate covertly in Broome; protesters saw every move, then documented and publicized it through text messages and social media.
Delaying tactics by the community included blockades (including a month at ‘Black Tank’), mass submissions and actions in the courts. These actions cost the companies and government millions and shook shareholder and investor confidence. James Price Point is seen by multi-national miners as a benchmark for proposals in the Kimberley, a case study in project failure through lack of social licence.
This was a multi-faceted, organic campaign, fuelled by creativity, ingenuity and a fierce sense of independence and justice. It was driven locally, with national and international support. The significance of what has happened has yet to resonate across the nation, but you can be sure it’s resonating in board rooms across Australia and overseas. When a community stands up to protect itself against a bad proposal, it can win.
It is inspiring when you have a win like this… and it reminds you that you can’t give up… There was a lot of people from all over Broome, across Australia, from all over the world, who were willing to stand there with Goolarabooloo and support them in any way they could… to protect this place. It was incredible, I think we really were in a bit of shock, like it didn’t really feel real… one of the most powerful emotions I ever felt in my life. – Tessa
Except from the original booklet, prior to the win.
The struggle to defend Walmadan (James Price Point), and the Kimberley, has been going for many years – even if it is only more recently that the issues here have hit the national and international stage.
The strength of this struggle is in the diversity and resilience of the people and the organisations involved – and we can’t possibly do justice to all the many aspects here. We encourage you to seek out more information listed in the many resources – towards the back of the booklet – but here is the short version.
Woodside’s proposed 30km² industrial site would lead to the destruction of rare remnant moonsoon vine thicket and surrounding woodlands, home to endangered animals such as the bilby. It would destroy Aboriginal burial grounds, the Song Cycle path and a culture thousands of years old.
Whales, turtles and other marine animals will lose their breeding / calving / nesting grounds. A 52km² marine ‘dead zone,’ and the constant dredging and pollution will put Broome’s iconic Cable Beach at risk, located just 40km south of the proposed port.
WA’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are around 80mtpa now; if this proposal were to go ahead it would increase emissions by 50%. This would mean 39 million tonnes a year of greenhouse gases – equivalent to five per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions now.
Broome residents are concerned about their way of life being impacted, the destruction of popular, local camping and fishing spots, air and water pollution, and the threat to the social fabric of the town with an influx of up to 8000 workers. Local people and supporters have shown amazing strength and nonviolent defiance in the face of hundreds of riot cops descending onto the town at the behest of the Barnett government, determined to push ahead with this project, and his dream of industrialisation of the Kimberley, no matter the human or environmental cost.
Despite strong economic, environmental and social arguments for floating or piping the gas, Barnett, Woodside and the joint venture partners (Shell, MIMI, Petrochina and BP) are currently continuing with plans to develop the site. We are continuing with plans to defend country.
Walmadan Camp has been a home for Indigenous mobs for millenia, including the Goolarabooloo, Jabbir Jabbir and Numbarl. Since April 2011, Traditional Custodians have invited all to come and experience Walmadan and help their country and culture.
If you care about working in solidarity with Aboriginal people to defend their sovereign rights to country and culture – you should be here. If you care about climate change – you should be here. If you care about endangered ecosystems, animals and the largest humpback whale nursery in the world – you should be here. If you care about some of the largest dinosaur footprint trackways in the world – you should be here.
And if you think it is time to draw a line in the sand, say ENOUGH is ENOUGH to corporate and government directed destruction of environment and culture, then you should be here.
We Won Edition wrap around
- From little things big things grow… 2
- Now Woodside ‘s Gone (The Cup Song) 3
- Reflections on winning – from Camp Walmadan 4
- First Blockade Timeline 37
- One of the stories from the first blockade… 38
- James Price Point 39
- Campaign Overview 8
- About Goolarabooloo 9
- Cultural Protocol 10
- Sacred Land 11
- Camp Life 12
- How To Get There & Maps 13
- Camp Guidelines 14
- Dry Camp – No Garri No Ganja 15
- How To Help Out Around Camp 16
- Contributing to Camp 16
- Decision Making 16
- Health & Safety 17
- Native Plants 19
- The Seasons 24
- Nonviolent Direct Action 25
- Conflict Resolution 27
- Security Culture 28
- Legal Basics 29
- Services Around Broome 32
- Keeping Informed 34
- James Price Point/Walmadan: A Huge Win
- ‘Always look up’: Connecting Community for a Win against Gas
- Groundswell Gloucester: Fighting and Winning against Fracking
- Enabling Emergence: The Bentley Blockade and the Struggle for a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers
- A Beginners Guide to a Blockade Camp
- Aboriginal Australians
- Direct action - Non violent NVDA
- History - Australia
- Indigenous peoples_First Nations
- Movements_Campaigns - Environment_Nature
- Movements_Campaigns - Self determination