This clip chosen to be PG
Bob Brown paddles along the tranquil final stretches of the Franklin River. This is as it must have looked even before the first Europeans arrived in Tasmania.
Elegantly shot conclusion to the film, and a neat final summation from Bob Brown about nature and progress.
This clip shows part of the journey that Bob Brown and forester Paul Smith made when they paddled the Franklin River in inflatable rafts in 1976. The clip includes images of the surrounding Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park wilderness in south-west Tasmania. Bob Brown’s narration gives a personal account of the River. He outlines what he believes characterises wilderness and describes the Franklin River as a place with these qualities. He expresses his frustration and indignation at the damming of Lake Pedder and reflects on human progress and development.
Educational value points
- The Franklin River is one of the last wild, unchanged rivers in the world. Located in the Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in south-west Tasmania, the River extends 110 km through uninhabited wilderness, meeting with the Lower Gordon River, which flows into Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania. The Franklin and Gordon rivers were listed as part of Tasmania’s World Heritage Area in 1982.
- The Franklin River became internationally renowned during a historic campaign between 1978 and 1983 to conserve it that was supported by a number of well-known identities such as Prince Charles, David Bellamy and Spike Milligan.
- Depictions of the Franklin River and surrounding wilderness were used successfully in the conservation campaign to save the River from being dammed by the Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania. The famous photograph of Rock Island Bend, taken by Peter Dombrovskis, Tasmania’s most prominent wilderness photographer, was used by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society in an advertising campaign that attracted national and international support.
- The conservation campaign was the largest in Australian history. The Tasmanian Liberal government, led by Robin Gray, supported the proposal to dam the Franklin River as part of the hydro-electric power scheme. The campaign to stop the dam lasted more than 5 years from the announcement of the dam proposal in 1978 to 1983, when a ruling of the High Court of Australia eventually stopped the development. A number of other rivers had already been dammed as part of the scheme including the Huon, Serpentine and the Upper Gordon Rivers, which led to the flooding of Lake Pedder.
- The clip presents a widely supported view that the damming of Lake Pedder was environmentally unsound. The original lake was a unique ecosystem and the only habitat of the Galaxias pedderensis, a fish not found anywhere else in the world. Before it was damned, Lake Pedder featured a distinctive pink quartzite beach 1 km wide and 3 km long. Despite widespread opposition, the Lake was flooded in 1972 and is now part of the largest water storage catchment in Australia. Lake Gordon and Lake Pedder combined have a surface area of 514 sq km and a total volume of 15.2 cubic km. There has been debate over whether Lake Pedder should be drained in an attempt to restore the unique ecosystem that once existed.
- Bob Brown, arguably Australia’s most important environmentalist, is featured. When Lake Pedder was dammed, Brown became determined not to allow the same fate to befall the Franklin River. He became a founding member of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, which played a pivotal role in the success of the Franklin River conservation campaign. Although trained as a doctor, Brown has spent most of his career as a political activist. He is also a long-standing member of the Greens Party, one of the first internationally networked political parties. There are now Greens parties on every continent. Brown was elected to the Australian Senate in 1996 and again in 2001. In December 2005, Brown was elected as leader of the Australian Greens.
This clip starts approximately 39 minutes into the documentary.
Bob Brown and forester Paul Smith made paddle down the Franklin River in inflatable rafts in 1976.
Bob A wilderness is a place not marked by the hand of modern man. A place that’s free of houses and cars, and urbanisation, and industry and agriculture. And the Franklin is one of those very rare places left on the Earth which fulfils that criterion. It runs as it has run for thousands of years and it is essentially in the same state as it was when white man or, for that matter, black man first came to the Tasmanian shore. When I look at the recent destruction of Lake Pedder, I feel frustrated and indignant that that happened. It seems that we are just incapable of doing that bit better, of creating a better world. It seems that we’ve got the technological know-how and ability but we haven’t kept up socially and in a spiritual sense.
Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer Australian wilderness from the documentary The Franklin Wild River as a high quality video download.
To play the downloadable video, you need QuickTime 7.0, VLC, or similar.
You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading the clip:
australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.
All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions.
When you access australianscreen you agree that:
- You may retrieve materials for information only.
- You may download materials for your personal use or for non-commercial educational purposes, but you must not publish them elsewhere or redistribute clips in any way.
- The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.
All other rights reserved.
ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.
This clip is available in the following configurations:
||Optimised for full-screen display on a fast computer.
||Can be displayed full screen. Also suitable for video iPods.
||Recommended if you have a slow internet connection, limited storage space, or an older computer. Not suitable for playing full-screen
Right-click on the links above to download video files to your computer.