Blog

A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Bundy (love) on tap

We took a final warm shower at Gunning’s free camping ground and packed up early to once again beat the heat. 

We passed through startling, brutal sheep country and wondered how long the wool industry can last in a climate changing future.

We came across a mirage indicating the grounds for a thoughful utopia where energetic and environmental commonsense prevail.

We passed dozens and dozens of roadside stone fruits, these ones having naturalised along the old Hume Highway near Breadalbane.

It’s been five weeks on the road and we’re finding out that bike touring involves much careful thought about food, as Zero here attests.

As we’ve been climbing towards the Southern Highlands and inching closer to Moss Vale for Christmas lunch we’ve been building enormous appetites.

And as we slogged it out we thought about what we would serve if we were hosting the lunch ourselves. We’re compiling a menu which we look forward to sharing with you later.

We picked up some supplies in Goulburn, free-camped the night in a park in Marualan and were relieved to climb into cooler country and find less and less anthropogenic waste along the roads.

Sights like this disposable water bottle became rarer as we closed in on Bundanoon, and passed by arcadia.

Bundanoon is Australia’s first bottled water free town and as anti-bottled water activists who have a track record of advocating for the humble water bubbler, we where excited to meet Huw Kingston,

who initiated the town’s action to rid Bundanoon of the wasteful product, and who invited us to camp at his family home. Thanks Huw and Wendy!

We spent several days in Bundanoon and found it to be filled with richly warm people, such as Glenn Robinson from the excellent YHA, these touch footballers and their dads who invited us to join their BBQ,

and this lovely family, the Smiths, who we met at the Bundanoon Hotel and who invited us to stay in their guest bedroom, our first real bed in 36 days. Thanks Kylie, Paul, Dane, Charlie, Shannen, Jai and Bonnie!

In Bundanoon we were able to recuperate and sit out some fairly hot days,

pick and eat more cherry plums,

laze around and wait for more roadside free fruit to ripen,

hang out at the wonderful Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe, a friendly free-internet-cafe-social-hub,

and meet fellow travellers such as German tourist Chris, who is cycling from Sydney to Melbourne and back again. Safe travels Chris!

We also hooked up with veteran American cycle tourer Jeff once more and had time to properly swap notes on all things bike touring. Happy days Jeff!

We were steered (by one of the friendly locals) to the town’s community garden, which we found incredibly well organised,

with excellent signage, so important in a place where many garden but not all at the same time.

We went along to one of their working bees, which like ours at home are always great social events,

and met the convenyor, Tony Coyle,

who with a core group has done an excellent job in just two years, establishing a vibrant productive food and social environment. Missing our own community, it was a joy to pitch in and give a little back to the community who has been so incredibly generous to us.

We hope you have a peaceful solstice and holiday season and we look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Water Bubbler Audit

Four years ago, Patrick spent a day walking through Melbourne auditing the drinking water fountains in the CBD. His walk revealed that there was one working bubbler per 40,000 people in the city. He charted his findings on a map which he made freely available:


This coming Monday the 21st November, Artist as Family will spend the day retracing Patrick’s walk through the CBD as we re-audit the city’s bubblers. We want to find out if the City of Melbourne is still committed to encouraging bottled water pollution or whether they’ve begun to transition to a sustainable and just free water supply by repairing all the broken bubblers and installing new ones for thirsty summer city dwellers.

Did you know that for Australians to drink bottled water, over 500,000 barrels of oil are required every year??

If you live in Melbourne, please feel free to join us for any part of our walk. We will have a mobile with us, so please call or text to lend us support or to find out our whereabouts: 0418 523 308.

Stay tuned for the findings of our audit.

Thirsty Work

Now that our Lock-Up exhibition has been and gone, today we relaxed somewhat. Meg and Zeph took to the streets on their bikes as sightseers and Patrick worked on the film.

The lady behind the counter of the kiosk at Newcastle Main Beach told us that the local council asked them not to sell any drinks in glass as they are likely to end up smashed and injuring someone. So instead they only sell plastic bottles that get left on the sand or placed into one of the many bins that go straight to landfill sites without being sorted. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Today as we navigated the beaches and streets, we were very impressed at how many water bubblers we came across – a fantastic council initiative to encourage people to rehydrate without having to pay money for a disposable bottle.

Never Mind

Our camera stopped working yesterday, a terrible thing to happen to a family of bloggers. This image is one of the last shots we took of our pile before it flipped out.

This morning we biked to a service centre from where we are hoping to hear good news. The technician we spoke to said she would do her best, though she was hesitant to say she could fix it, because it is six years old.

“Why spend money fixing an old camera when you can spend less getting a brand new model?” She asked. A valid question. If you are talking about the cost of things in dollars.

“Because we subscribe to the Repair Manifesto,” we told her.

“I’m glad there are people like you,” she smiled. “Otherwise I’d be out of a job.”

As we left the service centre and pedalled towards the beach, we all agreed that that Repair should be added to the Reduce. Reuse. Recycle trinity. We can definitely see the merit of the first two actions, but the third? It’s no wonder it features so far down the waste hierarchy:

When people choose to buy bottled water instead of soft drinks, the individual health benefits may be high, but the energy spent and pollution created to drink (or eat) anything from disposables has a great societal toll, regardless of what the vessel holds.

Every day as we bend to pick up forlorn plastic bottles on whichever beautiful beach we are on, we marvel at the complete lack of care exhibited by those who litter. But today on the beach, as we collected we talked about people, ourselves included, who buy packaged drink or food and then put the waste in a recycling or regular bin, thinking we’ve done the right thing.

Lest we feel too hopeful that we can properly process the waste we have collected over the last 12 days, here’s Donovan Hohn to set us straight:

Never mind that only 5 percent of plastics actually end up getting recycled. Never mind that the plastics industry stamps those little triangles of chasing arrows into plastics for which no viable recycling method exists. Never mind that plastics consume about 400 million tons of oil and gas every year and that oil and gas may very well run out in the not too distant future. Never mind that so-called green plastics made of biochemicals require fossil fuels to produce and release greenhouse gases when they break down…