Travel notes from my Australian Tour

Gosh, I’m zorched, living a life out of a suitcase on the yellow brick road in Oz. Two presentations today, flying, driving, walking, running. It’s a whirlwind tour. All my travel photos are taken from car windows, airline windows, airports, or at weather stations.

Coming to WA soon. Check the schedule here.

I want to take a moment to thank many people. I’m sure already I’ve forgotten some. Apologies in advance for such oversights. First, the people of Emerald, Queensland.

Downtown Emerald, QLD, Australia at sunset, just before our evening talk

Your town gave David Archibald and myself a very warm welcome. I felt right at home. As I said in the landowners meeting that afternoon, your predicament with land use and the government cries out for some measured, reasoned, and effective protests.

Thanks to Mr. David Stockwell not only for his talks, but also for his hospitality.

Also, thanks to the people of Noosa, Case and Peter, and the organizers of the Gold Coast (especially to farmer John and his son in law) for the exposure to footy and hospitality.

Hobart, despite my luggage loss was interesting and entertaining. Some greens laid out the welcome wagon via press release for us to local media, who ran it up unquestioningly. I guess the local greens must have really seen a threat if they had to go to all that trouble:

Community members speak out in response to the news that “Watts Up with the Climate? Australian Tour” speakers Anthony Watts and David Archibald are coming to Hobart to spread misinformation about the climate at the Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre, UTAS, Hobart, 6.30 pm on Wednesday 23rd June.

Of course, they wrote this PR not even knowing what we were presenting, and of course, they didn’t attend. Heh, such closed minds.

Even so, we had a great turnout in Hobart. Note: negative publicity helps too.

I found this banner in downtown Hobart quite interesting:

Some 47% of Tasmania is protected preserves forests, and they want more. Seems excessive to me. Kids, if you want to save the Tasmanian Devil, I suggest you worry about the real immediate and present danger: The Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Banning furnaces and fireplaces won’t matter if there are no Devils left to habitate the forests. IMHO, all your campaign will do is piss people off enough to wish the Devil is gone. But that’s just an opinion of a visitor who you hate in advance.

In Adelaide, special thanks to Ian for the fine gift of the fruits of the land. Also to the two ladies that drove 11 hours just to hear our presentation that night – David and I have never been more honored.

Today David Archibald and I flew via REX Airlines to Mt. Gambier for a noon presentation. I hoped the airline didn’t perform like it sounded. After landing and renting a red micromobile (no Gore-esque stretch limos for us), we drove to south Mt. Gambier. I gazed at the extinct volcano known as Blue Lake, much like Crater Lake in Oregon:

…and of the lush greenery in South Australia. It is quite a marvel when my distorted USA view sees it all as brown. Special thanks to our earthmoving friend from Mt. Gambier who came up to us afterwards with his kind help.

We drove from Mt. Gambier across the lush farmlands of SA to the state of Victoria, gaining back the confounding 30 minute time zone difference in the process when we crossed the border:

Tonight, 25 June, I David and I made presentations in Hamilton City VIC at their new hospital conference center. We had excellent newspaper coverage and attendance, and the facility was superb for making our computer presentation easy.

I’d also like to thank Paul Collits for his introductions, plus Pat Healy for his organizational help (hope you feel better soon). Kudos to Pam and Peter Small for their fine hospitality.

Per our dinner conversations tonight, I leave you with this image from the USA:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2331/2261387041_98b65a13b7.jpg

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43 thoughts on “Travel notes from my Australian Tour

  1. Anthony love your site and the fact that you have taken the time to visit Western Australia.
    If you have 3 or 4 hours available on Tuesday let me know and I will take you on a boat ride (weather will be clear and sunny and cool with almost no wind) I will take you out to Rottnest (15-20 km offshore from Perth) where the aboriginals managed to walk to about 10,000 years ago long bafore the lunatic fringe thought of AGW. I would love to take you and David Archibald across to Rotto with a good friend of mine (and hard core sceptic) Stefan Frodsham and we can have a beer at the Quokka arms and wonder what Rottnest and Perth will look like with a 20 foot sea level rise.
    Let me know by return email
    Regards
    Noel Davies

  2. Yes, the Australian tourism board spreads so many images of the red centre around it’s a surprise to many to find just how green and lush much of the country where people live is. The USA would have the same problem if they only used images of Arizona to promote the country.
    Hope you got to see some wild ‘roos – too many visitors don’t get the chance, but with that much country driving it’s a dead cert that you saw at least a mob or two.

  3. I heard that Kevin Rudd was so dismayed by your presentations that he immediately resigned his office in response.

  4. Thanks for the updates, Anthony! I’ve always enjoyed my dealings with the Aussies, some of the nicest people anywhere! Your stories confirm what I’ve felt for many years.
    Travel safely, and we’ll look forward to having you back safe & sound Stateside.

  5. I love Australians! Always have. We have so much in common, being the descendants of unwanted cast-offs from mother England. And look at what we’ve both accomplished in only a couple of short centuries.
    Kudos to Anthony, David and the rest for accepting this grueling assignment in the interest of spreading the truth. If not for people like them, most folks would still believe that down is up, white is black, evil is good — and CO2 is a terrifying demon, instead of being the harmless and beneficial trace component of the atmosphere that it really is.
    Thanks for being a beacon of light in a sea of MSM darkness.

  6. Tasmania is infested with greenies. The state is doomed. They never work, just organise protests and spread lies about the forestry industry. Mainlanders call us two-headed, but it is their vermin that has infected the state.
    Our government did a deal with the greens to form a government, they quickly stuck their noses into the trough.Hypocrites of the worst kind.
    http://www.blogotariat.com/node/192832

  7. Yes, yes, I know correlation is not causation, but, as wws mentioned – Anthony goes to Oz, Rudd loses job.
    May we book you for a flight to Washington DC, please? I think it’s a theory worth testing.

  8. I felt right at home.
    I’m glad. After losing your luggage must be good to have that.

  9. Congratulations to all of you! WELL DONE!!! You’re reaching the world the hard way; and many would say the best way. Hope the local media have been taking a friendly note at each stop and are also having a good (if only minor) impact spreading your message.

  10. I was on the USS Kennedy during a port call to Freemantle, Western Australia circa 1983. (Best place on Earth 10,000,000 flies can’t be wrong.) I took a bus tour of the area an visited an old olympic swimming training area, some caves and a bluff overlooking the city. While on the bluff an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked if I was a “Yank” off the ship. I said yes and he proceeded to thank me a number of times for saving Australia from the Japanese in WWII. I said he was welcome several times. It brought a small tear to my eye, a lump to my throat and large fondness for the Australian people in my heart.
    If you get a chance take the tour up the Swan River to visit the wineries. Lots to taste.

  11. Well done! I have dual UK (Welsh) / Australian citizenship and I hope your tour has enough of an impact to influence a little the coming Aus. election. The new prime minister, Julia Gillard was born in Wales (Barry – made famous by a recent sit-com “Gavin and Stacy”) which has a strong history of militant socialism. Ms. Gillard seems to come directly from that political legacy of economic illiteracy. Her re-election would seriously threaten the economic well-being of a resource rich country, not least by the introduction of a ‘cap and trade’ bill to which she is committed.
    With luck, the good sense of Australians will prevent this disastrous scenario.

  12. Red micro-mobile? You’re saving all that “oil money” to buy beach property next to Al Gore? 🙂

  13. Sounds like you got your luggage back. That at least is a blessing. I hope Barrie Harrop didn’t show up in Adelaide. He is one of the true horse’s butts of all time. [Consult the urban dictionary for Barrie Harrop or harrop].

  14. The highway shot looks like you’re driving on the wrong side of the road. I hear they do that on islands like Britain, Japan, and the Bahamas.
    Great shot of an old Allis.
    I do wonder if it has right-hand drive?

  15. Yes Mike, Right hand drive, and we drive on the left. Why? I don’t know…
    Anthony, 11 hour drives aren’t that big a deal here – I giggle when “Foreigners” come in and are aghast at the distances we routinely travel! I’ve done Brisbane to Adelaide by car for a day and a half stay. That’s well over 2,000 km each way. 1,000 a day, it’s less than a week away!
    What have McDonalds and Australia in common?
    They’re both run by a red headed clown…
    Cheers, thanks, and keep up the good work.
    Tim

  16. I’d submit (I think I read this on the internet, so it MUST be true) that the penchant for driving on the left has it’s roots in medieval times, specifically from things like jousting. If you pass on the left, then the right side (the weapons bearing arm) is free to flail at your opponent. Of course, Dr. Mann would likely dispute this, considering his contention that nothing at all happened in medieval times. . . .

  17. Re Tasmanian forests preserves — the funny thing is they are not wilderness at all but have been homelands to humanity for millennia:
    http://westinstenv.org/histwl/2010/06/25/plain-facts-tasmania-under-aboriginal-management/
    And locking them up does not “protect” the a-historically fuel-laden Tasmanian forests from catastrophic holocausts, such as the 1967 Tasmanian fires which burned 652,360 acres and left 62 people dead, 900 injured, and over seven thousand homeless.
    Too much Kool Aid, not enough coffee. It’s a worldwide problem.

  18. Timiboy and Windrider.
    Everyone rode horses on the left to leave the sword arm free (90% right handed).
    The French revolutionaries (1789 and onward) decreed a new beginning for the calendar, weights and measures i.e.metric ( lol Mars mission) and the side of the road to ride on. Left sided driving persists in UK and many Commonwealth countries and in much of Scandinavia into the 60s.
    USA is one of the few countries to persist with Imperial measures, lbs, gallons, miles.
    The UK is hopelessly confused ; officially metric (E.U.) but colloquially imperial.
    Our kids are functionally innumerate as a result.

  19. Anthony, the Greens have been a force in Tasmania for a while. This is partly because it had a major controversy over dams and hydroelectric power in the 1980s. But also Tasmania has an unusual (Hare-Clark) voting system which I a former university lecturer struggle to understand; but it makes it easier for minor parties like the Greens to gain seats and form coalitions.
    You noted the media’s compliant treatment of your Green critics. This is endemic to the Australian media and is probably a worldwide phenomenon, and a very frustrating one. If they can be so critical of any harm real or supposed to the environment, how about some reasonable questioning of the Greens too.

  20. We drive on the left because we have a long history of ignoring the French, and if oil is banned, we may still need swords given our chainsaws will stop working. At least in Oz, they still drive on the ‘right’ side of the road, although I’m not entirely convinced about right turns at lights in Melbourne.
    But I love Oz, and also want to go back and see more of it. It’s just.. huge. Flew to Melbourne via Singapore, and remember Captain announcing we were crossing the coastm, many ours later, we’d flown over the narrow bit.

  21. RE: “Coming to WA soon. Check the schedule”
    Of course, that means Western Australia not Washington State as it would imply if used in the USA.

  22. The greens who laid out the welcome wagon need to get their facts straight,
    Real science is conducted through peer-reviewed publications in respected journals”, said Phil Harrington from Climate Action Hobart. “If these people had any credible science to present, they would be presenting it through such a journal as well as going on a national speaking tour.”
    I take it they have not been informed that skeptics have extensively published,
    750 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming Alarm

  23. Lost in translation; regarding the furances’ photograph, the furances referred to here are the ones planned to be used to generate electricity by burning wood and woodships derived from native forests. This is not the same as the use of furances, a term I believe is used in North America, to heat homes and apartment buildings.

  24. Great to see you in Hobart. Very good seminar except for the chap who obviously new his stuff but wanted to find fault with the minutae instead of seeing the elephant in the room. However the theatre should have been packed solid, still a lot of work to do.
    The Tasmanian Devil poster alludes to Gunns and the burning of the National Forests to produce energy not AGW.
    Sometimes the Greens can do a worthwhile job if only they would get off the AGW bandwagon and use there influence for a proper cause. Like the LibDems in UK they have only got into any power here by making political deals, nobody really votes for them. It would be interesting to see that if the Climate Sceptic Party got powerful whether the left would try to infiltrate that like they have done the Greens.

  25. Hi Anthony
    sorry I missed your Brisbane visit. No doubt you have heard about our drought-breaking widespread rains over Eastern Australia and 100 year floods last summer, coming on top of good but not as widespread rains the previous summer. And the subsequent once in a century event of Lake Eyre filling in two consecutive years. The astonishing thing is we have had this long-awaited Big Wet summer in an El Nino year! usually associated with drought across eastern Australia. I’m old enough to remember the 60s and 70s when Big Wets were more common. I suspect this change in the last few years heralds the change in the PDO, and lookforward to more wet summers.

  26. Hi Anthony
    I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation in Adelaide. Thank you so much for the time you are putting in for the cause. I had hoped to come over and say Hi at the end, but there was a few talking to you and a couple waiting and I had to get home to the wife and kids.
    Not having the opportunity to thank you personally, I just thought I’d drop a note here to do so. I visit your site every single day, and although I’m not able to understand all the articles that are posted here, I still enjoy reading them.
    Funnily enough, I was going to ask what was in that blue bag you were given at the end of the night, but now I know… fruits of the land. How thoughtful some people are. I’m sure those gifts of appreciation don’t quite stack up to the big oil money you are accused of receiving by some parties, but by the same token, gifts of thanks I’m sure are worth more in some respects.
    Again… thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to visit us down under.
    Lee in Adelaide.
    REPLY: Thanks Lee. Sorry I didn’t get to meet you. – Anthony

  27. Thanks for the post Anthony, the banner at the Hobart’s wilderness Society is related to suporting a Green senator’s proposal to remove wood fired power stations from Australia’s renewable energy scheme. Despite 97.5% of high quality wilderness reserved in Tasmania, the Wilderness society campaigns against the forest industry and the use of wood products from our native forests, and a plantation based pulp mill approved for Tasmanian’s largest heavy industrial estate.
    The Wilderness Society had a large delegation at Copenhagen and recently at Bonn at the UN’s Climate conferences and is also part of the Climate Action Network Australia, which also includes the WWF that as an international group actually supports wood fired power. http://assets.panda.org/downloads/biomassreportfinal.pdf sets a target of 15% for OECD electricity supply.
    The WWF also set a target of 10% for forest reservation and as you correctly point out 47% of Tasmania Forests.
    But as usual the wilderness society conveniently ignore the facts see http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=4258

  28. Timiboy – just so you know, those of us in Texas are just as used to the long drives as you are! It’s not that hard to drive 12 hours in one direction and still never cross a border.

  29. wws – For some farmers in Australia, 12 hours isn’t long enough to get them off their farm. 😉

  30. The faux environmentalists prefer to see the native forests go up in flames in very intense bush-fires, wiping out all life on and immediately below the ground; and in the tree canopy. It increases the number of endangered species.
    Pragmatists manage the fuel load by thinning out the timber and doing fuel-reduction burns (also to be taxed in future) so that when a fire starts, it is “cool” and a great deal of the wildlife has time to seek shelter or to run through the fire front and survive.

  31. wws,
    When Skylab came down, I was at school with a fella who’s Dad owned the property it landed on. The place had a similar land area to Great Britain, but they could only run less than one sheep per acre! The scale of this Great Land is just something else – My state, for example (Queensland) is roughly 2,000 km North to South, 1,500 East to West. We pack a massive 4.5 million people in here. It can get damn lonely out there! 🙂
    Cheers,
    Tim

  32. Atomic Hairdryer: When were you last in Melbourne? I thought they had (mostly anyway) finished with their strange right ‘hook turns’. These were made to cater for safety with the tram system. A lot of the junctions in the city have been reorganised over the last few years.
    Best wishes for the rest of your tour Down Under Anthony.

  33. mkelly says: I said yes and he proceeded to thank me a number of times for saving Australia from the Japanese in WWII. I said he was welcome several times. It brought a small tear to my eye, a lump to my throat and large fondness for the Australian people in my heart.
    Ah yes, the American penchant for invading places and kicking dictatorial butt, then handing the country back to the people. My Dad did it in Europe in WWII (as did my wife’s Dad as part of the 101’st Airborne). As I look around the world, I see very few other countries (or Empires…) that do that. Haven’t figured out yet what it is about Americans that leads us to not want to take other peoples stuff, even when we have military dominance of a country or region. My college roomies Dad was a Marine in WWII and doing island hopping all the way to Japan. About 5 foot 6 inches tall, of Swedish extraction (most of his siblings born in Sweden, a couple here) and you did not give Arnie any static… Nicest most polite person I’ve ever met, but with one quick backhand he could put you on the other side of the room… Vikings come in all sizes…
    I’ve been to Australia once, for about 2 weeks, and it was 25 years+ ago. It still haunts me. Memories of the Back ‘O Burke and being where the road turned into a dirt track as far as the eye could see. I got out of the car, stood up, and felt like I was gong to fall off the earth. I was the tallest thing to the horizon… A very spooky feeling. I just wanted to keep on going until the gas ran out and then start walking…
    Better judgement sent me back to the last pub I’d passed and I bought a round for The House (all 3 of them 😉 and spent the evening finding out what gear I’d need for such a trek. Including something better than a Japanese rental car …
    God I miss it.
    All from a 2 week visit. Sent my son down as a Student Ambassador about 5 years ago. He came back smitten too… Loved diving on the barrier reef. It can be quite green in the tropical parts…
    For anyone anywhere trying to decide on where to go for a vacation, my advice is very simple: Australia. Of all the places I’ve been, it’s the one I remember most. (Followed very closely by New Zealand, where you really ought to stop on the way in or back… They don’t have kangaroos (nor the face flies…) but they do have a wonderful country. If Australia is California on a continental scale, then New Zealand is Oregon similarly increased…)
    From the Out Back, I drove through the mountains and ended up near the coast north of Melbourne. At “90 Mile Beach”. Parked in the front row and walked over the sand berm to see the “crowd” all huddled together on about 100 meters of beach… and with 90 Miles of beach standing empty and stretching to the horizon… with wonderful warm water.
    Weather Watcher says: I’m old enough to remember the 60s and 70s when Big Wets were more common. I suspect this change in the last few years heralds the change in the PDO, and lookforward to more wet summers.
    The Maya Dresden Codex says that the end of the grand cycle will happen in a deluge of waters from the sky. You may well get far more Big Wet than you have in, oh, 5000 years… Frankly, they have been very accurate so far. (No, not ‘end of the world’, just ‘end of the calendar’ and a restart at the galactic mid-line crossing. But with lots of rainfall as the indicia… )
    wws says: Timiboy – just so you know, those of us in Texas are just as used to the long drives as you are! It’s not that hard to drive 12 hours in one direction and still never cross a border.
    I’ve driven “coast to coast” a few times (more than I can count…) including several that went from edge to edge of Texas. It’s 1/3 of the distance from California to Florida (measured. Several times…)
    So when planing that particular trip, I figure on one day to reach Phoenix (going the long way down California, then a left turn at L.A.) though I’ve gone all the way from home to the Texas border in one hard drive. But for Texas itself, well, I plan on a couple of days just to cross Texas. I stop at my Uncle Ken’s place near Dallas. FWIW, I’ve gone from Orlando Florida to Texas in one 25 hour drive. So basically I divide the trip into “West up to Texas”, then “Texas”, then “East to the coast”.
    FWIW, in driving to the Outback from Sydney, I drove for days on end where the only thing of note was that the trees got shorter (less water). I eventually reached the realization that an on-coming car was a reason for a small party… On one occasion, about 3 days in, I needed to ‘relieve myself’ and left the car in the middle of the lane, keys in it and door open, as I strolled into the trees for a while. Hadn’t seen a car for a few hours. Didn’t see one for a few more after… At the next town I found a pub (the place where I bought the round for the house…) and spent a while. The next day was spent going as far as I could past then end of the road and onto a dirt track in the Back ‘O Burke. Did not see a single car or person the whole day until I returned.
    If you ever really want to know what “alone” and “wilderness” mean, drive to the edge of the world… then walk a ways… I’ve run into a dozen folks a day in the “wilderness” of the USA, not so in Australia even in the middle of a paved highway…
    WARNING: It will change you forever. But in a good kind of way…

  34. Firstly, Anthony many thanks for your ‘get well’ message after your trip to Hamilton. How do you fit all these things in?
    Both presentations were excellent – both the projections and the commentary.
    Pity we hadn’t recorded both.
    Over the last couple of years I have used basic information obtained originally from the New York Times:
    Towards 1900 voices were being raised about an impending cold period;
    by the mid 40’s (my school days) regular radio advice to farmers on how to cope with the drought & hot weather;
    by 1970 the gospel of Paul Ehrlich warned of death by freezing or starvation;
    early this century the ‘heat’ parade was at again.
    Unfortunately for them come 2008 they had to start grasping at straws;
    ditch ‘global warming’ becausing of the prevailing cooling;
    thus ‘climate change’ is an admission that warming has finished and they need many ‘non-regular events’, for something to talk about.
    Thanks again for your work. Pat Healy

  35. E.M.Smith: Coast ‘north of Melbourne’? I think you mean east of Melbourne; that’s where the 90 Mile Beach is. It heads northward much further to the east.

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