Monday, 10 December 2012


The number of community members outside  Metgasco's Glenugie drill site increased this morning because of the expected arrival of the drill rig. The crowd continued to grow throughout the day.

During the morning a truck carrying equipment and a number of other smaller vehicles approached the site.  These were delayed for some time because of an accident with a bicycle and traffic congestion near the site.

Community members entered into the spirit of the season singing carols around a Christmas tree which had been placed in front of the entrance to the drill site.  The crowd  effectively blocked the entrance so that around 4 pm the Metgasco convoy left the site.

It is expected that they will return tomorrow - presumably with an increased police presence.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


On Tuesday 4th December the vigil outside Metgasco's  coal seam gas well site at Glenugie became a blockade when trucks carrying fencing arrived.  The number of protesters grew as the news spread.  Six local police were in attendance to clear a passage so that the trucks and other vehicles could enter the site.  Waiting on the site for the equipment was one Metgasco employee – reported as being Stuart George, former Richmond River Councillor and son of Thomas George, Member for Lismore.

Metgasco convoy

 The first major impediment to Metgasco was a campervan  parked on the side of the road and blocking access to the site gate.  Having misplaced her vehicle's keys, the owner was unable to comply with a police order to move it out of the way.  Eventually a recovery truck arrived from Grafton.  The camper was winched onto its tilt tray and driven out of the way.

Protesters blocking access

Once the access was clear, protesters moved in, milling around and blocking the way.  The leading utility moved forward steadily, pushing the protesters back.  While this was happening, local resident Deb Whitley locked herself on under the second truck which was some distance down the hill and away from the police.

Deb Whitley locked on.

Releasing Ms Whitley took some time. The police were unable to cut her free; an ambulance attended for a short time and then a Police Rescue unit arrived and managed to release her.  The arrival of about eight riot police in a van saw additional pressure put on the protesters to move out of the way.  After some discussion, they did so and the Metgasco convoy drove onto the site at around 4.15 pm after  being delayed some hours.

Since then a vigil has been maintained at the site.  The drilling rig is expected to arrive within the next few days.