NCWQ International Relations and Peace Report May 2019

By Georgina Pickers, NCWQ International Relations and Peace Adviser

The horrific events at the mosques in Christchurch, followed by the attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka then shootings at a Synagogue in the United States serves as a tragic reminder that those with “black hearts” of religious intolerance still live amongst us.  These despicable cowardly acts target ‘soft victims’ – defenceless people in sanctuaries of peace and worship.

The fortitude, empathy and dignity shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Adhern was an inspiration for all World leaders as well as offering genuine comfort to all those affected.

It was timely to note that in the last budget the Federal government allocated increased funding for cyber security and offensive cyber operations programme to $833 million for 2019-20.

While privacy issues and rights of the individual must be a consideration, there is a growing necessity to counter the trend for the internet and various social media platforms to be used to facilitate the planning and publicity for terrorism, the spread of ‘hate speech’, of misinformation, or the glorification of unlawful ego driven acts, or simply nasty, racial or personal mischievous attacks.

At a recent NCWQ dinner, guest speaker Brigadier Susan Coyle CSC, DSM Commander 6thBrigade Australian Army mentioned in her address the growing technological capabilities the ADF now deploy for cyber security and monitoring including drones for surveillance.

It is distressing to civil libertarians but inevitability vital for international relations and peace. That countries closely cooperate in this space to monitor and by necessity, counter threats

The monitoring of cyber-space, the use of CCTV and face recognition soft-wear is going to ignite much ongoing debate.  The balance of freedom of speech and human rights as opposed to maintaining security locally let alone globally is a compelling emotive one.

The plight of Australian women, particularly children languishing in Syrian refugee camps needs to be speedily and sympathetically addressed by the incoming federal government. Whatever the sins of these parents, their children are the innocent parties.  While there are no doubt numerous deserving refugee and asylum seekers these cases should be treated with priority.

Rarely publicised, but a no less important as a human rights issue, is the dilemma of Saudi women asylum seekers.  While it is perceived they come from affluent backgrounds and some may ask why they would have any human rights claims their personal reality is quite different.  Their appeal for freedom and a better life is as justified as any individual seeking our country’s refuge.  While Home Affairs states that most asylum claimants are granted bridging visas the question arises whether these women are treated equably under Human Rights conventions with the protection these covenants should guarantee?

The growth of digital media websites with official and unofficial number of media outlets that are fuelled by 24/7 news demand, has made press reporting at the best, risky to hazardous, but at the worst a deadly occupation.  The Committee to protect journalists (CPJ) reports on the number of journalists killed on assignment.  UNESCO reported between 1993 and 2019, 1324 journalists have been killed.  In 2017, 71 journalists were killed.  5 have been killed this year.  Generally journalists were welcomed.  Now it is a case of “if you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger”

The incoming Federal government is reminded to keep in front of mind, the Millennium Sustainable Goals for all policy, planning, and budgeting allocation.  Australia’s Foreign Aid for 2018-2019 had a budget of $4.2 billion but will be reduced in the 2019-2020 budget to $4.2 billion.

On a final local note the Queensland Museum has an on-going exhibition dedicated to the heroic stories and sacrifices of WW1.  It balances those stores with the organisations who advocated peace or provided comfort, kind words, a cup of tea, or welfare to soldiers and their families.  The irony of war and the extremes it produces delivers quite a contrast in this exhibition.

We are all human beings only in this life for a blink of an eye.  The world would be a kinder more peaceful and happier place if we could start with postings on social media, remembering the old saying “if your can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all”

NCWQ Environmental Report May 2019

By Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environmental Adviser

Update on the impact of Carmichael Coal Mine in the Galilee Basin: In previous reports and submissions to Government, concerns have been raised about the impact of mega mines in the Galilee Basin, in particular the Carmichael mine. Theseincluded

  • Contribution to greenhouse gases including that from the coal exported overseas;
  • Impact on ground water users in the Galilee Basin;
  • Loss of biodiversity and the probability that biodiversity offsets will not adequately redress this loss;
  • Impact of dredging at Abbot Point and
  • Increased shipping within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

NCWQ submissions on impact of Carmichael Coal Mine;  impact of expansion of ports on the GBR environs; dredging and disposal of dredged material at Abbot Point; Galilee Coal Project at Bimblebox Nature Refuge

 

Details of objections to the granting of the mining lease and the environmental authority, the judicial review of the environmental authority and litigation against the mine involving native title have been detailed in previous reports. Supporting Information from NCWQ Environment Adviser, P.M. Pepper B.Sc. M.Sc. Ph.D for submission to Federal Government and Queensland Government;  http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

As reported previously the initial proposal to extract up to 60 million tonnes per annum of coal for 150 years from an estimated coal resource of 8.3 billion tonnes was reduced to a project lifetime to 60 yearswith estimated total production of2.3 billion tonnesof thermal coal. The originally proposal was for a new 189km rail line to the Port of Abbot Pointfor export principally to India to be burnt for electricity production, and for expanded capacity of the Port of Abbot. Subsequently, proposed port expansion has been reduced in size and the decision made to use the existing rail line for the initial stage of the project.

However the proposed mine would still be one of the largest coal mines in the worldand the mining and burning of coal from would generate an estimated 4.7 billion tonnesof greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to climate change, one of the major impacts of the mine is on groundwater. http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

Groundwatermodels aim to determine the likely effect of mining on groundwater levels and flows of water to and from key areas. If the groundwater levels decline below thresholdscritical to the function of whole ecosystems, such as the Doongmabulla Springs, irreversible harm can occur. Groundwater models can also be used to assess changes in flows of water to and from springs and streams, such as the Carmichael River, which crosses the mine site.

In late 2018 and early 2019 CSIRO and Geoscience Australia(GA) wrote two reports for the Federal Government on specific questions on groundwater monitoring, management and modelling planned by Adani Pty Ltd for its Carmichael mine proposal.

Their review pointed out three major flaws:-

  1. Over-prediction of flow from the Carmichael River into the aquifers below.
  2. Hydraulic conductivity values used in the model were significantly different from the values estimated by previous testing of the geological layers at the mine site.
  3. Bore heights used to calibrate the model were incorrect

If the model is corrected to address these flaws, the review points out that the drawdown at the Doongmabulla Springs will in all likelihood be higher than required under Adani’s federal approval conditions.

In addition which underground aquifers feed Doongmabulla Springs has not been identified.Substantive corrective measures for reversing future spring-flow impacts from mining have not been defined

Unless Adani puts forward its plan for dealing with these very real risks, regulators cannot hope to make an informed decision about the risk the mine poses to the Doongmabulla Springs.https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2019/Statement-on-Adani-Carmichael-proposalhttps://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-flaws-in-adanis-water-management-plan-116161

Adani’s groundwater dependent ecosystem management plan(GDEMP) for its proposed Carmichael coal mine was recently approved by Federal Environment Minister after the company made commitments to fully address these issues. However, there is serious concern whether the company can or will address these issues.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-17/adani-water-management-plan-criticised-by-csiro/10625228https://theconversation.com/unpacking-the-flaws-in-adanis-water-management-plan-116161

A January 2019 analysis by EDO Qldof the latest version of Adani’s Black-throated Finch Species Management Plan showed the company had gone backwards in its commitments to the endangered species, reducing its proposed offset area by more than 2000 hectares compared to previous versions of its plan.https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project11 March, 2019

The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan and the Black Throated Finch Management Plan still need to be approved by the Queensland Government before significant disturbance can commence at the Carmichael Coal Mine.

Water licences: As reported previouslyCarmichael coal mine has been granted an unlimited 60-year water licence. Water pressure is an issue with flows from artesian bores now roughly half what they were in 1915. Since then, the water level in some bores has fallen by as much as 80 metres, and a third of bores have stopped flowing altogether. This directly affects the human, plant and animal communities that rely on artesian water. https://theconversation.com/why-does-the-carmichael-coal-mine-need-to-use-so-much-water-75923 April 13, 2017. Supporting Information from NCWQ Environment Adviser, P.M. Pepper B.Sc. M.Sc. Ph.D for submission to Federal Government and Queensland Government;  http://envlaw.com.au/carmichael-coal-mine-case/

EDO QLD are currently taking the Federal Government to court, acting on behalf of Australian Conservation Foundation, over the Government’s decision to allow Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme to proceed without an assessment of its impacts on precious water resources. The scheme involves a 61 km pipeline for Adani to extract and pump up to 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor river.

Adani was granted their associated water licence and surface water licence for the Carmichael Mine on 29 March 2017. https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project11 March, 2019

History of offences:Previously reported  allegations of Adani’s environmental offences in India include causing salinity in water supplies, the illegal destruction of mangroves and sand dunes and the blocking and filling of creeks. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/emails-reveal-officials-probing-environmental-and-financial-concerns-with-adani-supermine-20171102-gzdc5h.htmlReport_Earthjustice and Environmental Justice Australia. The Adani Groups Global Environmental Record_29 Oct 2015.pdf

The Queensland Government is investigating whether Adani has breached its environmental licence for the second time in two years with the release of coal-laden floodwaters from its coal port at Abbot Point in the state’s north.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/adani-facing-government-probe-abbot-point-wetland-release/10805206

With high definition satellite imagery, drone footage, public bore registers, and on-the-ground observations and photography,  EDO Qld and their client, Coast and Country, have delivered evidence to the Queensland Government that Adani has broken the law by clearing land, building roads, and commencing dewatering operations without the correct approvals in place.https://www.edoqld.org.au/evidence_supports_the_case_adani_broken_the_law30 December, 2018; https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project,https://www.edoqld.org.au/update_adani_mine_project

Jobs:Initially 10,000 direct and indirect jobs peaking from 2024 with $22 billion in taxes and royalties were predicted. In court in 2015, the company economics expert instead said it would create an extra 1,464 jobs in Australia — 1,206 of them in Queensland — and generate $16.8 billion in taxes and royalties.

While the revised mine plan could be less than a quarter of its original scale, Adani has not publicly put forward a new projection for jobs or tax and royalty streams. It is yet to reach a final deal with the State Government on how its royalty payments might be deferred in the mine’s first five years.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-26/what-we-know-about-adanis-carmichael-coal-mine-project/11049938

It would seem prudent to delay the commencement of the project given the advice from CSIRO and the company’s poor record of environmental management in Indiaand Australia until these issues are addressed.

NCWQ Child Youth and Family Report May 2019

The months are passing by quickly, Easter has come and gone, and the middle of the year is close. In the words of Dr Seuss “how did it get so late so soon?” This report sets out some upcoming family events, outcomes of the 2019 Federal Budget, brief discussion on recommendations handed down on 10 April 2019 from the Family Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the Family Law Act, and changes in Queensland for 16 to 17-year-olds wishing to be vaccinated.

Upcoming Dates

5 May 2019                                         International Day of Families

5 May 2019                                         Applications close QLD Family and Child Commissioner – Recruitment for Youth Advisory Council (www.qfcc.qld.gov.au)

15 May 2019 – 21 May 2019              National Family Week (https://nfw.org.au/find-an-event)

30 May 2019                                       Applications close NCWQ Bursaries

1 June 2019                                         Global Day of Parents

2019 Budget – Family Violence

Since the last report we have had a Federal election set for 18 May 2019. Partial Federal Budget funding leading up to the election includes $328 million over the next four years to fund prevention, response, and recovery initiatives as part of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children (2010 to 2022). The Fourth Action Plan addresses different forms that abuse can take, with specific measures to address risks faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women with an intellectual disability.

Part of the $78 million for housing for women and children fleeing family violence was an amount of $10 million dollars allocated for Specialist Family Violence Services, that included couple-based counselling and dispute resolution services. Within this context front line services have raised concerns around safety issues for women in couples counselling and mediation.

The Government will also provide an additional $30.5 million over three years, in part to provide legal assistance services for those experiencing family violence, and $22.5 million for the establishment of the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse. An amount of $10 million over four years will be invested in educating Australian children, parents, and teachers about how young people can stay safe online, with $7.8 million going towards the establishment of a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders. 1800 RESPECT will receive $64 million to expand their services.

In relation to youth mental health and suicide prevention there is $461 million allocated.

In relation to education for children, the Federal government has provided $453 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement of Universal Access to Early Childhood Education to ensure that every child has access to a quality pre-school education for 15 hours a week before school. And at the other end, universities will receive $93.7 million over four years for scholarships for students who study at regional campuses.

What is missing however, is an increase to Newstart, an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and provisions for superannuation for Australians in unpaid care work, the majority of which are women caring for a child with a disability. There also continues to be a lack of action on issues such as women’s homelessness.

Australian Law Reform Commission – Final Report – Review of the Australian Family Law System

In 2017 the Australian Law Reform Commission received Terms of Reference to carry out an inquiry into the family law system. The key themes that emerged from this inquiry is that the family law system is unsafe, does not enforce parenting orders adequately, is overly complex, expensive, slow, and lacks accountability. The Final Report was presented on 31 March 2019 (“Family Law for the Future – An Inquiry into the Family Law System”) and provides a road map for improvements to the system of justice, and legislative amendments. The Final Report comprised 60 recommendations and can beaccessed at https://www.alrc.gov.au/inquiries/family-law-system.

Perhaps the most radical recommendation is the abolition of the Federal family courts. This would leave the State and Territory courts to make orders not only under the Family Law Act (1975), but also under State family violence and child protection laws. The other recommendation is the abandonment of the 2006 reforms that spoke to the option of shared care, or equal time arrangements. There is no question that a child benefits from having a close and continuing relationship with both parents following separation, however where there is family violence, mental illness, neglect, or other complex issues, children are left vulnerable to further abuse. This recommendation is relevant to Resolution 7 – Rights of the Child and Protection of the Child’s Interests endorsed by the NCWA within the Third Action Plan (2016-2019) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children (2010-2022).

Other proposed changes to the Family Law Act (1975) include provisions for determining what arrangements would promote the best interests of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, and repeal of the requirement to consider the possibility of a child spending equal or substantial time with each parent. Property division has been simplified and there is a focus on encouraging amicable resolution between separating parents. Provision is made to assist parents to understand their final parenting orders and further supports in court, including an Indigenous Liaison Officer, and support for people with a disability.

Recommendation 50 proposes the establishment of a Children and Young People’s Advisory Board which would inform policy and practice about children’s experiences within the family law system. The ALRC also suggest that Section 121 of the Family Law Act (1975), which restricts publication of family law proceedings to the public, be redrafted. It is hoped that the Government and all politicians will give careful consideration to these recommendations.

Family Law and Vaccinations

For separating parents, under the current Family Law Act (1975) there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility. In these cases where parents have not agreed on medical procedures, parents have had to get orders from the court in order to get children vaccinated (http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UTSLRS/2017/28.html). This has been expensive, time consuming, and has prevented children whose parents are separated from accessing services that are accessible to children whose parents are not separated. And although this will not assist separated families with younger children in overcoming these barriers, on 5 April 2019 the Queensland Government made the following announcement:

Teens Can Now Get The Flu Jab at Pharmacies

Queensland teens can now receive vaccines for highly contagious, preventable diseases from their local pharmacist. Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said the changes would make it easier for 16 and 17-year-old Queenslanders and their parents. From tomorrow, Queenslanders from 16 years of age can now get vaccinated for influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles at a pharmacy, previously only GPs could vaccinate under 18s.

“Queenslanders aged 16-and-over can get their vaccinations without parental consent, so these changes will make it much easier for them to access vaccinations like the flu shot. This will also make life easier for parents with teenage children.”

Mr Miles said the amendments also allow younger Queenslanders to make their own decisions about getting vaccinated. “This is a step in the right direction for Queensland to reduce the barriers for kids of anti-vax parents to gain access to vaccines for preventable diseases,” Mr Miles said “it also brings Queensland into line with other states and territories.”

As well as amending the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR), the pharmacist vaccination drug therapy protocol will be revised to specify that a pharmacist may administer the specified vaccines to a person 16 years and older, instead of an “adult” as previously stated. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said pharmacists provide an additional opportunity for vaccination for people who would not otherwise get vaccinated.

In summary, there is progress that is being made, and at the same time much more work to be done. Together we must continue to advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Remember “when women support each other, incredible things happen”.

NCWQ Arts, Letters and Music Report May 2019

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

HISTORY, STORIES AND IMAGES CONNECT AND PROTECT: Something indelible gently nudges; alarmingly confronts; echoes, whispers or deeply touches us and enters our world, with every story, with every image, with every note…

In the portfolios of the National Councils of Women, stories from past and present, and from varied cultures and places, don’t just settle, indelibly, on soul and psyche, but connect us, with information and understanding; and intertwine, like a glorious grape-vine, with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, assisting and shaping our direction in working to voice every Woman’s story. Doing so can influence and change myriad elements in humanitarian and educational contexts, and inform and encourage rightful, responsible, safe participation in all aspects of community life.  

2019 NCWQ Annual Dinner: Introducing Brigadier Susan COYLE,Patron and Governor, His Excellency, the Honourable Paul DE JERSEY thanked NCWQ for outstanding contributions in encouraging the participation of women in all aspects of Queensland life and relayed a brief history of contributions made by women in World War 11.

Participation during WW11 moved beyond basic nursing roles and 24,000 women joined the Australian Women’s Army Service when founded in 1941. My other was one of these. Members served in artillery, intelligence and signal corps; clerical and manual work; maintained transport and equipment and drove everything from cars to amphibious vehicles. Members did indeed “…find inspiration in the stories of Australian Women in service.”

1937 Elsie BYTH: Two women, representing 37,000, told the Industrial Court that a 5-day shopping week, with shops closed on Saturday mornings, was NOT wanted by women. The Australian president of the National Council of Women, Mrs. G.L. BYTH, told the court that “our work is waiting for us when we get home.” Mrs. Byth said she had come on behalf of housewives and mothers to ask theprotectionof the Court against the imposition of any further burdens upon them. Elsie Byth’s grand-daughter, Dr Susan BYTH, sponsors an NCWQ bursary each year in honour of her grand-mother. Susan is also an Artist.

1990 Dorothy HARTNETT: President Queensland Sculpture Society. “Perhaps I find satisfaction working in glass because it is strong, durable and transparent, but has a fragility as it lets in and redirects light, which ensures growth. It is in a semi-fluid state at all times with flashes of transient, vibrant colour, which has helped me find that stability and joy are within oneself, not external.

As a person whose labours go beyond ‘ideas’, I am discovering the future is in the past or in your own imagination and in so doing you win back the consciousness of your inner being. You know then that the Universe is a coherent whole and you are indivisible from it.” NCWQ

1999 Adeline YEN MAH: Author of “CHINESE CINDERELLA” The secret story of an unwanted Daughter. An unforgettable story of overcoming the odds to prove one’s worth. This is very specifically Chinese. Dedicated to all unwanted children: “I have always cherished this dream of cr3eating something unique and imperishable, so that the past should not fade away forever. I know one day I shall die and vanish into the void, but hope to preserve my memories through my writing. Perhaps others who were also unwanted may see them a hundred years from now, and be encouraged. I imagine them opening the pages of my book and meeting me (as a ten-year-old) in Shanghai, without actually having left their homes in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Hong Kong or Los Angles. I shall welcome each and every one of them with a smile and say, ‘How splendid of you to visit me! Come in and let me share with you my story…because I understand only too well the rankling in your heart and what you are going through.” Chinese Cinderella. Adeline Yen Mah. Puffin Books/Penguin Random House Australia 1999.

Addendum: “For all of us to get along during the next millennium, we must understand each other’s history, language and culture. Towards that end I am donating all royalties from my books to a foundation modelled after the Rhodes Scholarship program, to enable students to study at universities in Beijing and Shanghai.” Adeline Yen Mah 1999

DISCONNECT TO PROTECT? International best-selling Author with over 25 million sales worldwide, weaves a compelling and suspenseful tale of human ingenuity and endurance against the worst pandemic known to history. For most, the Black Death is the end; for a rare few, it was a new beginning.

1348: The Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348; no one knows what manner of sickness t is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church proclaims it is a punishment from God, but Lady Anne of Develish has different ideas. In Lady Anne of Develish – leader, savour, heretic – author, Minette WALTERS has created a memorable heroine.

“In Dorseteshire the plague made the country quite void of inhabitants so that there were almost none left alive. From there it passed into Devonshire and Somersetshire, even unto Bristol, and raged in such sort that the Gloucestershire men would not suffer the Bristol men to have access to them, by any means. But at length it came to Gloucester, yea even to Oxford and to London, and finally it spread all over England and so wasted the people that scarce the tenth person of any sort, was left alive.” Geoffrey the Baker, Chronicon Angliae temporibus Edwardi 11 et Edward 111.

Lady Anne, in 1348, protected her people in many ways that we, in 2019, still work to promote! Parallels may surprise readers. Allen & Unwin Sydney Australia 2017.

‘THE LAST HOURS’ – Minette WALTERS

www.allenandunwin.com

Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use. Ruth Gordo

CONVERSATION CAFÉ events in Queensland libraries include Biggest Morning Tea Bake-Off! In many of our regional libraries, community members are asked to bring their baked wares and to bring their best morning tea recipe to share.  Booklets will be made with these recipes!

MEET THE AUTHOR! Barbara MILLER launches her new book: ‘IF I SURVIVE’ Nazi Germany and the Jews – the brave and captivating story of 100-year-old Lena GOLDSTEIN – cited as Lena’s ‘miracle story’. This launch is at Smithfield Library, in the Cairns region. More news on the book advised when available.

SONGWRITER Harriette PILBEAM from BABAGANOUJ, responds to comments about your hometown. “Everybody always whinges about how small Brisbane is, but what’s wrong with knowing ‘everybody’? You’re guaranteed to bump into people you know on any given night out and I love that.” Frankie, Issue 60, p.015

‘BREAD & BUTTER’…delightful, quirky clothing and accessories with a high level of cuteness – Sora Kim’s vintage collection, sourced in Korea, will have you a little smitten. breadandbutter.kr

TRAVELLING? Clever Spanish ‘flowers on your back’ offer tough back-packs made of natural canvas and cotton with leather insides. modernaked.com

ABOUT ICELAND’S MUSIC COMMUNITY…Asgeir says “If you’re in the music scene you know most of the people and it’s easy to work with whoever you want to work with. Everybody’s really open to collaborating on things and helping each other out…..that’s the best thing about it….” Frankie, Issue 60, p018

CATTANA WETLANDS in CAIRNS have local, national and international importance for birds, resident and migratory. Woman Artist, Pete Marshall currently has an exhibition of her works of the birds from these extraordinary wetlands on show at the Tanks Art Centre. Additionally, BIRDLIFE DRAWING WORKSHOPS are on offer. windsong@bigpond.com

ARTS LAW offers both workshop and one on one clinics to provide specialised advice, education and resources to artists and arts organisations. These are facilitated by lawyer Suzanne Derry. artslaw@artslaw.com.au

SONGWRITERS STAGES are gradually becoming popular as a feature, at festivals and markets. Here, musicians, performers and songwriters can both trial and promote their music, to the public.

QUEENSLAND’S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL has furnished Justices of the Peace with fresh and information about protection orders. This is Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Month. As a JP since 1985, I like this inclusion.

The 2019 PORT DOUGLAS CARNIVALE is an iconic family-friendly festival with roots and connections deep in the community, celebrating the region’s climate, arts, food and lifestyle. Fun!

THE IDEAL PALACE: L’Incroyable Histoire du Facteur Cheval is a beautiful film which is travelling as part of the 2019 French Film Festival. Directed by Nils Tavernierand starring Jacques GamblinandLaetitia Casta. Based on the remarkable, true story of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, set in the south of France in 1879, film-maker Tavernier delivers this stunning and engrossing account of love and dedication. Spectacular photography and noteworthy performances give credence to this absorbing parable of persistence and vision; the larger than life undertaking of one very reserved man and the huge legacy he bestowed on France. No-one could believe how far this postman had walked in his life as a postman, then on retirement, after collecting stones of interest, beauty and unusual symmetry, Cheval spent 34 years building his beautifully bizarre palace, in Hauterives, in the Drome region, 30 miles south of Lyon.

During his 27 year period of walking to deliver mail and collecting stones, Ferdinand Cheval informed himself by reading and looking at the pictures in ‘Le Magazin Pittoresque’and also studying curious post-cards to be delivered, with resonances of some from Cambodia evident in his final art work! Hauterives once lay beneath the sea, so the landscape was rich in fossils and porous limestone.

“Whatever your age, whatever you wish to achieve, if you are

courageous, persistent and hard-working, you are sure to succeed!”

Ferdinand Cheval

The palace is reminiscent of ancient times, with sculpted figures of cedar trees, bears, elephants, sheep-dogs and cascades. At one end are seven figures of classical antiquity, beneath ostriches, flamingos, eagles and geese!

The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, a mix, played by Bande Originale, has been compiled by Baptiste Colleu and Pierre Colleu, and enhances, indelibly, beautifully, the experience of this immensely interesting film. Piano notes reverberate through one’s being – Musique superbe pour un film magique! Numerous websites online ref: The Ideal Palace/Cheval/Soundtrack