Author Archives: Lisa Beecham

Save our Macleay River Update

SOMR’s Paddle with the Macleay River Festival:

It went smoothly with 18 boats registering including the Dragon Boat. An easy paddle past the Riverside Park up to Euroka Creek, where drinks and home made cakes were waiting. Paddlers could relax and chat on that beautiful part of the riverbank before heading back as a “flotilla” where they received a great reception from the Festival participants. The festival was short on river activities, with those that were there receiving a good response .

There was a lot of interest in our Information Stalls (both at Euroka Creek and Riverside Park) with some new members signing up

All in all we felt it was worth the effort and would be happy to repeat the exercise next Festival.

However we are planning to organise another one of our “serious” paddles, probably next Autumn so as not to clash with the River Festival in Spring. This will be from Bellbrook to Nook Creek, taking about 4 hours.

Other news:

  • No news on the Hillgrove Mine front regarding the outcome of their EIS for a proposed underground mine at Clarks Gulley. Things seem to be progressing slowly as is the way with many stakeholders being involved.  A decision was to have been made in March, so we are conducting a ‘watch and wait’ position. Our enquiries will continue.
  • We have purchased a copy of the Dunn & Bradshaw report on the structure and composition of the Hillgrove Company. We can make it available to anyone is interested in reading it.

We are working with Southern Cross University who are adding their research on the river to that of University of New England.

Related issues:

  • We have put in a submission opposing the Baird government’s proposed land clearing laws and encourage anyone concerned about maintaining or improving our remaining vestiges of biodiversity in this state to join the campaign. You can ring Baird directly on 85745000 or email him through their web portal For more information you can contact Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC who is running the campaign. We feel this is relevant to our mission.
  • Another relevant campaign is to stop the privatisation of bodies like ASIC. To sign the petition go to the GetUp link:

     Not much time left to act on these two causes, so don’t delay!


2016 Paddle On The Macleay River

SOMR 2016 Paddle On The River

Celebrate the Macleay River Festival by being part of the action!  Register for this event from 8.30am at the river end of Forth Street.  $2 per boat.  Paddle starts at 9.15am.  Paddle up the river, have morning tea [gold coin donation] & return as a flotilla to the crowds at the Macleay River Festival.  Click on the link below for your registration form.

2016 Paddle On The River Registration

Macleay Contamination Working Group Meeting

8th July 2016     –     by Rupert Milne Home

On 28th June a meeting hosted by Office of Environment & Heritage, was held to inform and address contamination in the Macleay River. It was attended by some 20 State and Local Government, University, Health, Oyster farmer and community representatives. Longer presentations were from Derelict Mines, Macleay Eco-health and University of New England (UNE) with shorter ones from Kempsey Shire Council, NSW Food, Southern Cross University (SCU) and an emailed summary from Hillgrove Mines was read out.

Presentations and discussion focused on antimony (Sb) and arsenic (As) contamination sources and levels in the upper, mid and estuary parts of the catchment and specific sub-catchments. GHD consultants, engaged by Derelict mines, presented their desk-top assessment of the impacts of historic mining and which sub-catchments pose what level of risk. The findings of this report will help guide where investment should be directed to reduce the impact of historic workings.UNE updated the group with their research into the uptake and transfer of As & Sb into plants and animals and, perhaps in association with SCU, had developed a research-funding proposal to further their research into the levels and risk factors which influence the contamination levels and associated potential toxicity/danger levels.

Group discussion ranged from naturally occurring levels, historic and uncontrollable point sources, how the ‘total’ and ‘available’ levels of As & Sb varied, as well as education on the use and management of contaminated waters by Councils, farmers and rural land-holders.

The main point of the meeting was:- Who could and would fund the research and what information did the potential funding bodies need to know so that the impacts could be effectively mitigated, controlled or managed. – Naturally, potential funding sources want useful information!

Out of all the representatives there, only Kempsey Shire Council advised they would contribute. A few others advised they would ask their department heads, as they could not ‘unilaterally’ make that commitment. Derelict Mines declined to commit funding until further discussion and review of the research proposal against its funding guidelines and priorities of limited funding.

It was further resolved that: Letters asking for direct support be sent to various departments who were unable to attend the meeting and/or had a potential interest in the results. SOMR, being the only independent ‘community’ based organisation there agreed to carry out some lobbying for support and posting information in our media outlets.

The meeting was important in forming a more comprehensive understanding of the contaminants in the catchment, gathering concerns of various bodies and working toward a more integrated approach to managing the issues.