Greenwash: Big Jamboree in Sleepy Hollow
Thinking people all around the world are coming to the inescapable conclusion that the whole God-damn place is run by a cabal of Corporate Psychopaths. If you count yourself amongst the cognoscenti who share this unshakable belief, you may be interested in a gathering soon to take place in a small town in the centre of Victoria. Speakers are coming from all corners of the globe and all around the nation, joined by a plethora of local luminaries, all sharing a common desire to find answers to the burning questions of our time, and to celebrate the enormous strides already taken on our journey into the unknown.
So why, you may well ask, is this momentous event taking place in the little town/large village of Castlemaine, nestled amongst the rolling hills and bucolic scenery of rural Victoria? A little history may help.
As you are all no doubt aware, if you passed Grade Four Australian History, the goldrush put Castlemaine on the map (wiping the local Jarra people off the map simultaneously). All the gold soon ended up in the coffers of The Queen of England, to be frittered away on golden trinkets and gilded carriages. Every sword had a gilt hilt. It was the Age of Gilt, but not of Guilt.
So the freewheeling, fun-loving diggers had to find a more conventional method of filling their pockets and their bellies, a method that involved gainful employment. Thus was born the mighty Thompson’s Foundry, an industrial giant that has dominated the town and fed and clothed the lumpen proletariat almost to this very day. Not to mention supplying the entire country with top-of-the-range steam driven locomotives, the chosen vehicle of British Colonialism, built for the express purpose of subjugating half the nations of the world, including our own.
The first steam trains were painstakingly crafted by hand out of natural timbers, but proved to be unsatisfactory in the extreme Australian conditions. The first Iron Horse rolled off the assembly line way ahead of its time, a gleaming symbiosis of British Engineering and Aussie sweat. But it soon came to a stand-still. The railway line to Castlemaine had not yet been built, indeed, was not even on the drawing board. Undaunted, the good burgers of this wealthy and important town soon convinced the bean counters of Spring Street to divert the proposed Bendigo line on a circuitous route, through said rolling hills and bucolic scenery, right past the door of the notorious Midland Hotel, to this day the social hub of this bustling town. It was a grand vision that says much about our pioneering forefathers (and very little about our pioneering foremothers).
Castlemaine was steaming ahead but, alas and alak, history tells us that the ups, downs and vicissitudes of destiny would intervene in our seemingly inexorable progress. The fickle traveller would soon be bedazzled by the next shiny new mode of conveyance: the motorized vehicle, or ‘car’ as it is referred to in the vernacular (pronounced k-R). Those tooting vanguards of civilization that served us so well were left to languish, rust and decay.
As luck would have it, just when we were on the bones of our collective arses, just as the once mighty Foundry, mother to us all, began to groan with the heavy burden of neglect, an enterprising young fellow whose name escapes me, recently retrenched from life-long employ, came up with the brilliant concept of an Austrasized version of the immensely popular Chinese Spring Roll. He made a roll tough enough to hold in one hand at the footy and munch on between guzzles of V.B. without the eye ever needing to stray from ‘the action’; a roll that could be chucked a long way without disintegrating; a roll bland enough that anyone could stomach it. The Chiko Roll was born! An invention way ahead of its time, fifty years before the word fast-food entered the lexicon, when McDonald’s was just an old farm.
And where better to produce en masse the vast quantities of product for which the discerning consumer clamored, than The Foundry. Castlemaine was back on the map, claiming its rightful place at the vanguard of innovation. But, alas and alak, the twists and turns of outrageous fortune would take us down a totally unforeseen pathway, on a bicycle.
The ‘70s arrived without warning. Hippies and ferals descended on the place without footwear, artists moved in without invitation, all agog at this Shangri La sadly overlooked by the modern world. The newcomers did not like Chico Rolls, not even a little bit. The once mighty Foundry fell into neglect once more. But not for long, this town breeds entrepreneurship like Daylesford breeds mosquitos.
The Foundry was resurrected as The Falafel Factory. The falafels were good … very good. They were very good falafels. The town grew and prospered once more on the blood, sweat and tears of the toiling masses.
The schools filled with children, the shops began selling vegetables, sourdough bakeries popped up on every corner. Life was good. But man cannot live by bread alone, and women know what side their bread is buttered on. There were mutterings and rumblings outside the sourdough bakeries. Speech began to be peppered with words like ‘permaculture’ and ‘resilience’ and ‘relocalisation’ and ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’. These were unfamiliar words that were hard to get your tongue around. Heretics began to question the very need for a falafel factory, endlessly churning out product for the export market. Surely there was more to life than the mindless drudgery of factory life? Our proud history whispered in our collective ear’oles, “you were born to lead. Sieze-the-day! It is your destiny.”
As one, we threw off our shackles with gay abandon and woke up in the very same moment to the inescapable truth; our shackles were in our minds. It was time to throw off the yoke of servitude, the straitjacket of mediocracy, the chains of slavery, and all the other clichés we could think of, and build a better world from the ground up, mudbrick by mudbrick.
This was a world where Corporate Psychopaths are treated just like everybody else; a world where the ‘economy’ is just another word in the dictionary of life, not a State Religion; a world were everyone calls each other bro’, … even girls.
Thus was born, like the seed that becomes a mighty oak, like the drop of water that becomes a mighty ocean, like the spark that starts a mighty inferno, like the bee that pollinates a thousand metaphors, The Local Lives Global Matters 3 Day Conference. Enjoy!
Local Lives Global Matters is inspired by worldwide Economics of Happiness conferences. Presentations, workshops, panel discussions, plenaries, story-telling, art, music, film and site visits will showcase local in initiatives and kick-start new ones. Listen and learn from people doing similar things around the world. Organised by active community people living in Central Victoria, namely Mt Alexander Shire, Hepburn and the Greater Bendigo region, partnering with Local Futures / International Society for Ecology and Culture, OASES Graduate School, Borderlands Co-Operative, New Community Journal, and a growing number of regional community groups. Castlemaine (VIC) 16 – 18 October 2015 – locallivesglobalmatters.org