Upriver: Untold Stories Of The Franklin River Activists

By Alice Hungerford



Here's one of those, “where were you when ... so and so happened?” questions. In this case, where were you on July 1, 1983 when the High Court announced that , “there shall be no dam on the Franklin River?


Plans by the all powerful Hydro Electric Commission to dam the Franklin were fought early by the then Tasmanian Wilderness Society, and from November 1982 there had been a continuous presence of anti-dam activists from around Australia.


As the federal election of March 1983 neared, hundreds of … men and women from all walks of life were living in appalling conditions on the beautifully stark Gordon and Franklin rivers to stop what they saw as devastation of pristine rain forest... As Bob Brown says in his forword to the book, “All up, some 6000 people registered to help, nearly 1500 protectors of the wilderness were arrested and 600 went in paddy wagons across the island, overnight, to Risdon Prison.


For almost a year this non-violent blockade of the Franklin attracted attention from throughout the world, drawing internationally-famous scientists and celebrities to this harsh, but remarkably beautiful corner of the globe.


Alice Hungerford and her sister Nicky were part of the on-site protest from the beginning to the final vigil on the Franklin, when news of the High Court decision came through. Alice has used direct interview transcripts to transmit the raw emotion and the drama of that intense period, and the text is well illustrated with photos taken in primitive locations and at times of conflict with police, locals and HEC workers.


UpRiver is an important reminder of peaceful people power, and is a book that documents the most successful, direct- action protest by volunteers in Australian environmental history.


Review by Michael Berry, Hinterland Times - June 2013





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