Bunyip Whispers in The Dreamtime

© Suzanna Joy


Chapter 8

Gathering

(DISTANT SURF +PLUS OCCASIONAL CAR ON DAVID LOW WAY)

Narrator

(PARROT NOISES EG LORIKEETS)(BABBLE OF ARGUMENT AND PEOPLE TALKING OVER ONE ANOTHER) It was pandemonium in the moonlight on Peregian Beach. In among the trees the Gathering was going apace. Anna joined in the gossip. She could hear snippets of the animals, slipping and skipping into conversation. Miss Ko, the most beautiful and eligible koala, was almost spitting with fury.

Miss Ko

... well, how would you feel when you arrived home to find your house was gone, and nothing in your street was the same? You too may feel sad, angry, worried, confused and even depressed. Thatís what. Then imagine what it's like if you can't find a shop to buy any food. You would become hungry, and if you didn't find a loaf of bread hidden in the garden shed you would begin to starve to death. Succumb to one of the illnesses!

Narrator

Butcher Bird soothed her with his mellow fluid notes (SOUND ).

Butcher Bird

Look, we live in paradise! See my friendís green pyjamas?

Narrator

He waved his wing at Parrot. (SOUND EFFECT OF LORIKEET CHATTERING SWEETLY)

Butcher Bird

Now lets have some fun!

Wombat

(MOAN) Don't expect ME to do everything. This is serious! This a gathering of all us animals -- even Bunyip is on our side.

Can't you put some sense into their heads?

Bunyip? Bunyip, Iím talking to you!

Bunyip

No, I'm off to work on other issues that may affect our future. And I want to go back to dreaming.

Narrator

Refusing to cooperate, the Bunyip disappeared into the throng.

The Parrot, incandescent with colours, was chattering to anyone who would listen

Parrot

People- People - Humans, They smell chicken roasting at a fast food joint, and think that is the best smell there is!

Then they are tempted into buying my unfortunate cousins for their next meal;.

Humans never realise that the fastest disappearingist, most fragile and most beautiful smell on this continent; - is that of rain on dry ground!

YES ! Mr WOMBAT that water bottle that you are holding: that contains our most precious commodity.- The unique element of our creation. Water.

So good for the nectar. LURVE those wattle trees!

Wombat

Anna you have the floor!

Anna

(SPEAKS WITH PLEASURE THRILLING HER TONE). Ah, the scent of the earth when the first shower comes after a drought!

Not to mention the welcome sound of the rain on a tin roof.

Wombat

Yes, Pademelon, you were sayin'?

Pademelon

The farmers complain and complain about the lack of rain.

Narrator

Woylie was hiccuping with emotion.

Woylie

Why down in Melbourne theyíve had a six year drought. Up here in the hills the farmers moan about the lack of water. But they cause it themselves. They plunder. They don't replant the glorious forests. Their ancestors cleared this land over the years for their cattle. This has led to desertification ...so now there is not enough grass to retain the soil.

They just won't listen to the solution to their problem. Can you help us and spread the word to the local land councils?

Wombat

What were you saying to the wallaby, Quoll?

Quoll

You are not talking at their level!

Narrator

The Bunyip reappeared and joined in the discussion.

Bunyip

We can see how the area fills up, first with the discoverers and the farmers, like Telegraph Road, by Dire Straits... (HUMMING THE POPULAR SONG)

Yes, Anna has been explaining to me about the money. It is a kind of barter, an exchange system. But what is it that money and power do? Land becomes popular. People come and discover paradise. They want to be here. Then they want to make it easy in paradise. Easy to get here. So transport increases, and then pollution. Easy transport brings in more people who don't care. People end up just wanting money, and then they make even more. It becomes a way of life, and they forget its real place in the scheme of things.

Paradoxically, they come up here because it seems like paradise... and trash it.

Narrator

An electric blue kingfisher chirped quietly:-

Kingfisher

I think they'd miss us if we weren't there. Why, Iíd miss me if I wasnít here!

Narrator

Powerful Owl whooped:-

Owl

(SOUND EFFECTS) Every time a baby is born a tree must be planted.

Narrator

Wallum sedge frog croaked:-

Froggie

(SOUND EFFECTS) I overheard a bunch of them talking about the summit in Johannesburg in August 2002.

I was hopping along beside the path and one of them nearly trod on me. Did anyone get the message then, about greenhouse gas emissions? I don't think so. Better late than never, NOW the media is encouraging discussion about it.

Narrator

And a wallaby snickered:-

Wallaby

The crocodiles say save the earth eat more people. (OUTBREAK OF ANIMAL NOISES))

Wombat

(INTERUPTING TRYING TO RESTORE ORDER TO THE PROCEDINGS) Well now.....Miss Ko! What can we do IMMEDIATELY to drastically change the situation here on the coast?

Miss Ko

(GIGGLING) I could pee on them.

Wombat

Hmmm, not quite what I had in mind. What d'you say Pademelon?

Pademelon

(SHOUTING)I heard they sent a man to the moon! Sent ONE man, I say send 'em all!

Wombat

I saw you wave your wing Mr. Kookaburra, would you like to have a say?

Mr. Kookaburra

(AUTHENTIC SOUND PLUS BLEND LAUGH BITTERLY) Who could ever have predicted the extra ordinary growth of human stuff on this Sunshine Coast, which is now crawling with humanity? Humanity that is so inhumane, so intensely focused on getting more bang for the buck, and "What's in this for meĒ, attitude.

Narrator

The crested pigeons cooed:- (SOUND EFFECTS)

Pigeon

He should know! I hear him from where I am, sitting on the telephone lines overseeing the bird kingdom.

We hear Mr. Kookaburra all the way down Howard St. from Koala Park. You know the place where the sugar cane train used to run?

Nambour is okay, but mighty claws are jagging at the edges.

Bruce

Hey Anna, this is FUN. I love these animals. I wonder what I can do to help.

Anna

I thought you would like them. These are my friends!

(NOISE FROM ALL THE ANIMALS.)

Narrator

The wombat reached for Bunyip's walking stick and waved it in the air.

Wombat

(FEROCIOUSLY) Order, order! Pademelon, your turn to speak.

Pademelon

Yeh, Bunyip knows. I mean, what ARE our first priorities?

Narrator

The sedge frog acknowledged Bruce as a newly acceptable human in his world.

Froggie

(ASIDE)Nice to have you as one of us, Bruce. (TO THE GROUP AS A WHOLE) What do you mean? Priorities?

Parrot

Well, I hear that Bruceís father is a prominent member of the landed gentry!

He represents the interests of the Sunshine Coast farmers and is high up in the local tribe.

Maybe - when he hears about Bruceís conversion he will be moved to take action,

He can present it straight into the human central governing place.

That will bring about those IMPORTANT changes that are so needed everywhere!

the central governors MUST decide what to do first.

Bruce , I think you owe us at least that, for the hole you put in the bush up near Anna's place.

SPEAK TO YOUR DAD BRUCE!

Anyway, I've done my rantiní and raviní for today.

Wombat

And whereís that central place?

Bunyip

The humans gather together for their ruling organization in Canberra down amongst the Snowy Mountains.

They are so detached from us that they don't realize what is going on here in our territory. There has to be a way of getting them to see our paradise... and us, even if itís by trickery, before itís too late.

Anna

Give you something to think about hey Bruce?

Bruce

Right on, sister.

Bunyip

Before we finish, can I tell you the message from Ole Tib? He knows that it will be better if we have a political fellow to talk for us at the main meeting on the continent. He reckons that a top priority is to remove the fuel subsidies that are making oil and gas companies fat at the expense of the ozone layer.

Froggie

Croak!

Wombat

Wallum sedge frog I see your hand up.

Froggie

We must have standards!

Bruce

(GROAN) Oh no, not standards. Doing the dishes, washing clothes, that's boring.

Narrator

Bruce's complaining tone caused a shuffling, fluttering and twittering among the host of creatures. (SOUND EFFECTS)

A glossy, black cockatoo swooped down from the gum tree and settled next to a burrowing skink.

But Anna was adamant:-

Anna

Yes, it is the simple things in life that keep us sane. The things we do with our hands help us to define ourselves. It isn't near as bad as you think!

Wombat

Yes Quoll?

Quoll

What about the Kangaroos?

Woylie

(DESPAIRINGLY)What about the roos indeed! When did you last see one?

Narrator

The woylie spoke despairingly. Meanwhile Bunyip was summing up.

Bunyip

I hear you! Planet earth is like a self-correcting organism.

The final warning from the Southern spirits in the Antarctic has to do with global warming, long and unrelenting. (DIDGERIDOO)The Didgeridooms have begun playing a grim warning about the selfishness and self centeredness of the earth humans. If they continue too much longer without making changes, it would take another ice age to fix the problem!

Wombat

Is this as good as it gets? We understand how you feel. Where can we find transformation? What about... How can we evolve...become...cultivate our emergence? Now don't you all despair. There ARE solutions.

Anna

SOLUTIONS FOR THE ENERGY DECENT FUTURE! Let us consider the important new concepts of Relocalisation and Permaculture?

Powerful Owl

Relocalisation?

Wombat

Who said that? Pademelon?

Pademelon

What's that?

Bunyip

It's a response to energy change. The Relocalisation Network supports and connects Local Post Carbon Groups as they work towards relocalising their communities. Rebuild Rail. It does less damage than these Trucks.

Wombat

Use Permaculture, and encourage local production of food, as opposed to transporting great distances. Biodynamics.

Anna

Yes, these are our buzz words. Permaculture and Relocalisation will help us to get together to be more heartfelt and friendly with one another. There will be less loneliness and fear of neglect in old age.

Wombat

Let the community regroup. Self empowerment. Things are actually gonna be better for the aging folks. Increase their sense of security.

Mr. Kookaburra

(CHARACTERISTIC LAUGHING)Better! Good. What's this Permaculture?

Anna

Take a run out to look how the local shire has invested some money. The Maroochy Shire is encouraging a green solution in Yandina Permaculture area. They are demonstrating a little bit of sustainable development.

Froggie

I hear there is one in Noosa too!

Wombat

What about the SCEC?

Anna

Sunshine Coast Environment Council your local environmental network are always in need of assistance so if you have time money or skills you can spare please contact them...

Bunyip

Take a look at Holmgren Design Services on the web, How to save the world. One Man One Cow One Planet. Sustainability.

Wombat

Butcher Bird, you usually have plenty to say!

Butcher Bird

I love sounds and words of course!

Keep alive the birdwing ...ORNITHOPTERA RICHMONDIA butterfly alive. I love diversity of food. The butterfly only has one foodstuff. The vine (PARARISTOLOCHIA PRAEVENOSA) can be planted by anyone, and it lives for 120 YEARS!

Platypus

(COMPLAINING)Oh go on! Butcher Bird Just 'coz you've got that beaut singing voice! There you are using big intellectual terms as usual!

Parrot

(JUMPS IN THE FRAY)Awwwww! Butcher Bird you're only saying that because you love to eat them.

Narrator

Wombat gestured for the Quoll to comment.

Quoll

Can you bring that down to my level?

Platypus

If the big companies continue to have their way much longer there'll be no more lobbies in the creeks around Maleny. The people in the Mary Valley, many of whom are doing the right thing by us, are being punished by the politicians placating the people in Brisbane. They want to build a dam instead of working out a way to conserve water locally.

Wombat

Platypus can you tell us about water usage?

Platypus

A REVOLUTION IN EFFICIENT WATER USE.

Froggie

Water what? Waterwatch?

Platypus

Yes, but it has to go much further than that. New houses can be built along new revolutionary lines.....all we have to do is persuade the government the builders and the architects!

Wombat

Can you add to that Lobby?

Lobby

Estimates suggest that the average Australian household uses around 140 litres of drinking water every day in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. (Waste water from non-toilet plumbing systems such as hand basins, washing machines, showers and baths is known as Ďgrey waterí. It's reusable.

Platypus

Now, flush the loo and there you are, sending your waste on a long-distance trip, which will eventually to pollute the land or stain the sea.

Lobby

Essentially weíve created this habitat. Our current system is fundamentally out of date.

Platypus

Pointless isnít it?

...if you think of it scientifically it doesnít actually make any sense, because about 80% roughly of a townís sewerage scheme...80% of the cost is locked up in transport. All of the pipe work that takes it from your house to the treatment plant, which could be kilometers away, is enormously expensive. Itís energy intensive because often thereís cuts with excavators and so on that are going through rock six or seven meters down. You can imagine the added pollution -the greenhouse cost of that. As well as the devastation to landscape and habitats. It doesnít make any sense at all.

Lobby

Dean Cameron of Biolytics in Queensland has a technology that makes your house self-sufficient and includes recycling water on your own property.

Itís so easy to harvest rain water and for the tiny amount we drink we can actually also use it for up to 80% of our total water needs. Then we can easily supply that little 20% that we need for genuinely potable water.

Platypus

Every stuff is good. Even the material thatís produced from the breakdown of toilet waste -- faecal material and paper, as well as food waste -- produces humus, and that humus has wonderful properties for filtration.

Lobby

Itís phenomenal.

Bruce

Pigeon and Parrot, what are you chattering about?

Parrot

Did you hear about the Inconvenient Truth?

Pigeon

What Mrs. Kookaburra has been playin up agin?

Parrot

Aww, you - this is a movie by Al Gore! Some humans have given up waiting for politicians to act.

Al Gore's Road Show is taking the news to the grass roots all around the world, and asking them to talk to their politicians.

Anna

Take a look on the internet.

(THE BABBLE OF THE MEETING CONTINUES, VARIOUS GROUPS OF CHARACTERS EACH TALKING ABOUT THEIR VARIOUS ISSUES. NOW AND AGAIN WOMBAT CALLS FOR ORDER. THE WHOLE BABBLE FADES UNDER AS WE FOCUS ONLY ON ANNA & BRUCE TALKING TO EACH OTHER)

Bruce

Weíre not getting anywhere fast, are we Anna? Iím so worried.....

Anna

Hang on.....Didnít I hear parrot say your fatherís a bit of a bigwig with the farmers?

Bruce

Yeah....heís the president of the Australian farmers federation.....never had any time for the family Ďcause oí that. We missed him a lot. Meeting here, meeting there, never at home, not much fathering from him...

Anna

(SPEAKS OVER HIS LAST SENTENCE)

Look, heís gotta have some pull in Canberra, donít you reckon? Díyou think you can get him to speak up for us down there? Or in Brisbane, with the state government? To try to stop that insane dam at Traveston, for example.

Bruce

Yeah, hurting a lot of families, that one, and itíll wreck the country....thatís something the old man oughta understand. But.....you know...he and I havenít been speaking for a while......years, actually.

Anna

Come on young man, let's face it. This is bigger than whatís between you two. We need all the help we can get....

Bruce

Youíre right.....Iíll give it a go. You know, maybe itíll do something for the two of us as well....bring me and my Dad back together, sort of. Help us to start talking at least.

And Anna....err....aw, how do I put this....er...oh heck Iím so clumsy with this...Anna.....would you.....how you feel about....you know, with me learning a new lifestyle and all...(blurts out) ..would you go out with me? Just the two of us?

Anna

Weíll see Bruce, weíll see....letís get back into the meeting for now...and weíll tell Ďem weíre going to try to get the farmers on side through your dad. Come along my dear...give us your arm....

(BOARDFADE)

BACK ANNOUNCE CREDITS