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.

Early homecoming (Gunditjmara to Djaara country in a flash)

With much regret we abandoned our pilgrimage in this little corner

of the River Vu camping ground,

in the southwest corner of the colonial-corporate state of Victoria, in Gunditjmara peoples’ country.

We had made our last video on the road.

Our friends Nikki and Petrus so generously picked us up in Nikki’s ute and we headed home to Djaara mother country with mixed feelings after four months on the road. Our reason for returning home into the hearth of community were twofold. Woody missing his friends was a growing, gnawing issue. But the main reason for our return is the growing threat we face from corporatised government towards non-compliers who are speaking out. Living in a tent increasingly locked out of places where we could obtain food makes us vulnerable, and we’re beginning to appreciate more acutely how life for Indigenous Australians has been for generations. The permission been given to people to be discriminatory has radically worsened through aggressive media campaigns and editorials like this, and we have lost trust in the rule of law to protect people like us from state and other kinds of harm. In the transition from pilgrimage to home coming we made this video, How do we solve a problem like the unvaccinated?

We have returned to so much community generosity and love. We stayed with Nikki for a few days and with friends Sandipa and Sambodhi on their beautiful farm near Lalgambook. Then we packed up our panniers for the last time and rode to our new home.

We have friends living in our home at Tree Elbow for the year, so we’ve rented this little cottage. Thanks to so many people for rallying to find us a home especially Gordon, Kerry, Per, Connor, Pauli and Deanne. This is home for the next eight months.

First things first, get some spuds and toms in the ground,

head to Melbourne to join 100,000 others protesting the new pandemic bill,

begin to make a home (thanks Annie-Mai for the flowers from your garden),

and continue to produce videos that demonstrates the thinking of independent analysis not bought out by big pharma or silenced by government:

Now we are home we will continue to do what we have always done: ask questions, work towards dismantling unjustness and live our lives alongside others who honour the sacredness of the earth. As our hero Vandana Shiva says, ‘We cannot continue on an ecologically destructive path that deepens extractivism, colonialism, patriarchy and inequality, while allowing for corporate expansion and control.’ We all know in our hearts how we want to live: in ways that are respectful of the earth and one another as sovereign beings in all our wondrous diversity.

Civil roads, underworld sharks, olympian neopeasants and crabmongers for China (Wadawurrung to Gadubanud Country)

There’s an ever present chill from saltwater wind that we’re becoming more hardy and alive to, so too the smell of old fish, which proliferates our hands and our clothes. We are in ever greater degree the great unwashed in an increasingly controlled human world, but life supports us in her abundance, provides shelter when it rains,

a wall to pitch a tent behind when ferocious winds rip through the night,

and calm, magical mornings to set out upon.

The roads have been endless providers too, of such things as road killed ringtail

and hare for Zero meat,

valuable rope to add to our kit as we neglected to bring a washing line,

and pretty good shoulders for cyclists.

We left St Leonards after two weeks of lockdown with a spring in our pedals, camped at Barwon Heads and rode on to Torquay, stopping for regular breaks.

At Torquay Magpie caught up with her office work in a sunny park,

while Blackwood cut some three-cornered garlic (Allium triquetrum) for the dinner pot.

and Blue Wren toasted some almonds on the municipal BBQ as Zero took a nap.

Each day we have been travelling in and out of Magpie, Blackwood and Blue Wren countries, and down here on the coast Willy Wagtail Country is ever present.

In the park in Torquay we happened across Monica, and after a far bit of yarning she invited us to mind her home (including her neighbourhood compost drop off) for the weekend while she was to be away tree planting.

In exchange we got to work repairing doors,

nurturing housemates,

and restoring her bike to roadworthy condition.

While in Torquay it felt good to help out at Monica’s while she was planting trees, but we also rested up, and explored the coastline.

While this town is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road we left Torquay in winter sunshine

and headed back inland. We wanted to volunteer at Common Ground Project, a ‘not-for-profit community farm that promotes food security by creating fair access to locally grown, healthy food.’

which is managed by these two bright sparks, Ivan and Greta.

We were offered beautiful food, shown a goodly camp spot, and had a chance to learn more about how their regenerative farming practices are feeding people in the community. The next day we rode towards Deans Marsh, in the traditional lands of the Gadubanud and Gulidjan peoples, thus leaving Wadawurrung Country for the first time since our first day’s ride back in early July.

The road offered up these wood blewits (Clitocybe nuda) before we arrived in Deans Marsh,

where some lovely locals Sian and Ads showed us a beautiful place to camp. Then in the rain we left to climb our biggest hill of the trip so far.

From Deans Marsh (elevation 155m above sea level) we pedalled for more or less 12km up hill, stopping for drink breaks,

encouragement cuddles,

and to take layers off.

Then we arrived at the top. Yippee!

The ten kilometres down hill was heaven. We soared and glided, laughed and whooooped out loud. Woody was learning what Zeph learnt on our first adventure – ‘a hill is just a hill.’ At the bottom was lovely Lorne, a place to pitch our tent and, as we discovered, another snap lockdown starting that night.

We headed for the nearby jetty, 2km from our home camp, and fished our way through the lockdown.

Zero had developed gunky eyes, which he nursed by staying quiet on the jetty, letting the sun treat him.

Blackwood pulled up an array of fish including this Australian salmon (Arripis trutta) which we enjoyed for dinner,

Blue Wren caught Port Jackson, Banjo and Draughtboard sharks (Cephaloscyllium laticeps) on his hand line and threw them all back,

and Magpie went after crabs (Ovalipes australiensis), which were delicious out of the billy.

A jetty engenders a special kind of community. It is a place for learning, marvelling and praising what the sea has to offer, and it is a place for connection and for song.

Public amenities are really the great civic remnant of a pre-corporatised world. These colonial structures are so often incorrect in today’s world where colonialism’s new face – paternalistic corporatism – is ashamed of yesterday and seeks utopia in a post-human tomorrow. We’re as happy to wild shit as find solace in public amenities. When you live outside it gets down to practicality – available ecology or architecture, digging tool or flush away your precious nutrients?

Another public amenity built in the pre-corporate colonial era is the Great Ocean Road, built by returned soldiers of the First World War. All the plaques along the road confuse whose Aboriginal country we’re riding on but are clear on the story of the mayor of Geelong’s project to have traumatised men return from France and construct a picturesque coastal road like in mother Europe. This road, emptied of tourist traffic, has been a cyclist’s joy.

Wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum L.) grows in abundance where the disturbance of settler road meets oldtimer coastline. This feral, uncorporatised food is a prize to neopeasants and gallantly sings into the trauma of our shared ancestries.