34 years ago
Mark & Pam McDermott are a wonderful couple that reside in Strahan owning and operating Sharonlee Motel and Marsden Court as they have done for...well lets just say a decade or two...ok three.
Pam & Mark were young adults when the Franklin/Gordon controversy took place in Western Tasmania. They of course became embroiled in it and often found themselves among company that was not at all agreeable with their opinion that perhaps the proposed Franklin dam wasn't such a good idea.
Mark and Pam are of sound character so even while being subjected to considerable pressures, threats and even menace they remained firm and true to their belief helping usher in a new age that placed wilderness conservation into the thoughts and minds of many.
I have come to know Pam and Mark over the last few years and shared discussions about that time of great change so was astonished to learn that Pam had never been to one of the now famous sites that in the early 1980's made history changing the thinking of a generation, changing government and politics, and yes, the greens political party was formed.
So, after enjoying the ambience of The Paragon we drove off the bitumen south of Queenstown, looking at abandoned Mining and Pining heritage sites, Huon pine forests passing the World Heritage Area border and continued into the Franklin/Gordon Wild Rivers area. It was much fun and laughter but then suddenly we drove to what feels like an epicentre of the significant events that brought about the aforementioned change.
Joy and I fussed around preparing drinks and snacks for a few minutes leaving our guests to look around. When our attentions turned back to offering these refreshments Pam and Mark were just standing, staring at the equilateral shaped logo that became symbolic to so many. Pam spoke softly of the emotion felt and it was obvious during those few quiet moments staring, remembering, appreciating...just being there immersed within this pristine environment reflecting. There is an immense feeling of solace being here, a tangible awe of natural order heightened by the artful representation before us painted here years ago. I thought of the multitudes of Franklin River rafters that were passing by just a few hundred metres from us wondering how many of those people fully appreciate the significance of the environment they were experiencing as opposed to how many were simply enjoying an outdoor activity at an expeditionary level.
Well, I said I can think of two river rafting guides that have a deep soulful connection here, those great ambassadors of conservation; Water By Nature/Franklin River rafting.
We arrived back at The Paragon for dinner before the Mountain Heights-Wildlife Nights experience.
Several ring tail possums and a dozen or so brush tail possums every second one with joeys now clinging onto their backs. We were lucky enough to sight two Devils that night and pleased to note both being very healthy. Managed to catch this cheeky specimen in daylight!
Arriving back at Mt Lyell Anchorage around 11pm sleep came easy after what was a long, very enjoyable and deep experience.
Thank you Pam & Mark at beautiful Marsden Court Strahan for coming with us.