South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Declaration

people of the catchment

To proclaim 'The South sister Declaration' it is necessary to identify who is making that declaration.

It seems apposite for us to be identified as 'the People of the Catchment', the catchment being both the water catchment and the visual catchment of South Sister: so, those people who live within sight of South Sister as they go about their daily round.

A sight described by Forestry Tasmania in 2003 as 'largely undisturbed forest and mountain scenery from all viewpoints, with South Sister outcrop as the major focal point', or by a local inhabitant as 'a rugged range whose crags and peaks overlook the sea, the town and Plain below, kirtled in eucalyptus sombre hue with leaves that quench the leaping sun, and feed the creeks and wandering river flow'.

In 2004 we are the latest in the line of People of the Catchment, human beings whose daily lives are enriched by the physical presence and spirit of the mountain, sometimes by an intense awareness of its presence, at other times by a casual and unquestioning acceptance of beauty in the fabric of their life - fortunate people indeed to experience such beauty as an ever-present part of their daily life and to derive such energy from their surroundings.

In making this Declaration, however, we are aware that others who do not live within the catchment nevertheless share the beliefs and aims of the Declaration - we welcome them too as People of the Catchment.

The South Sister Declaration

This Declaration is a statement of certain Beliefs and Aims of the People of the Catchment in respect of the natural environment surrounding St Marys, triggered by the proposed logging of South Sister by Forestry Tasmania as for January 1, 2005. The Declaration was stated at the Campaign Launch of 'Save our Sisters' at St Marys on Friday September 2004.

  1. Small erosions are the way extinctions begin, the start of the process by what is common becomes scarce.
  2. The protection of water supply and water quality is basic to the survival of the community.
  3. Maintaining the abundance and distribution of common species is as important to the community of the living world as maintaining the existence of endangered species.
  4. What we seek to protect does not derive from man's efforts, but can be protected by men of goodwill.
  5. The future of our local human community is inextricably connected to the future of the local mountain community.
  6. We recognise and support values other than those which are considered valid only if they can be regulated, classified, counted, measured and valued in terms of money and utility. We believe our natural places have values other than product.
  7. We wish to pass on our local natural places in good health as a bequest to succeeding generations.
  8. Our natural surroundings create their own energy, energy which enriches us as human beings.
  9. The natural places which surround us from the territory or catchment within which we feel we belong, a catchment whose boundaries are determined by history and our ongoing daily associations, not lines on a map. We wish to protect those places to the fullest extent.
  10. A townscape includes the surrounding natural places which are an essential part of the amenity of the town.
  11. We support local sawmilling for the supply of local timber to the local community.
  12. To protect and preserve the existing nature values, biological and geological diversity and the water catchments of the mountains and passes surrounding St Marys - Mount Nicholas, South Sister, North Sister, St Marys Pass, St Patricks Head, Mount Elephant and the Gray Hills - and to protect the beauty and amenity of the surrounding environment to those who live within it. We believe they should be given conservation status of the order of National Park, State Reserve or Nature Reserve, and that this status be accorded to the entire area including land between the named places and the reverse slopes extending to the coast to provide ecological connectivity and to ensure the uninterrupted continuity of the natural evolutionary process of the area, and that this area be known as the 'St Marys Conservation Area'.
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50419-4417 (1, 5, 16, 274)