It's easy to see why people flock from the cities to retire in Forster, it's one of the prettiest towns I've ever seen. Families have been coming here every year for holidays for years, dad gets the tinny out and the whole family pile in and spend warm summer days fishing on tranquil Wallis Lake.
Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love, herself emerged from the sea in an oyster shell giving birth to the word "aphrodisiac". Forster is only 300 kms from Sydney and is home to some of the best oysters in the country and Barclays Oyster Farm is the southern hemisphere's largest producer of Sydney rock oysters. We had some last night, they were expensive because it's coming up to Christmas but large, fat and delicious.
The twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry are separated by water and joined by a large concrete bridge. The twins sit on opposite sides of the entrance to Wallis Lake which is 26 kms long. The area has five national parks, ten state forests, rolling hills and valleys, a triple lake system, numerous rivers and 27 beaches.
An Aboriginal lawyer says that Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, should stick to music because he makes very poor decisions about culturally sensitive land. He's rejected an application to protect Alum mountain from the Pacific Highway upgrade at Buledelah.
It seems the problem concerns three trees. Warimi Dates describes the area as "blackfella church" and says there are two very significant trees and a third is the guardian tree which looks over the other two. He says that already the clearing work on the lower slopes has destroyed a healing stream.
Warimi says he's prepared to die protecting the trees that stand in the way of the by-pass. "I've said it before, if a dozer comes near the three sacred trees, I'm quite willing to fight to the end" he said.
I read the comments of a young woman who had lived all her life in Buladelah. She said she used to run up on the mountain and said it was such a beautiful place, it was sad that it was being destroyed to make way for a massive multi-lane freeway. But she changed her mind when her father said that there were too many deaths on that terrible stretch of road and the by-pass was badly needed.
Apparently there is an alternative route around the trees but I suspect the RTA is determined to proceed full speed ahead. Pity.
The case is crrently in the Land and Environment Court in Sydney. Tenders with RTA for work on the by-passed closed recently with construction work due to start early in the new year.
Not far from Forster is a beautiful outdoor church called Green Cathedral. It's a quiet spot right on the lake and church services are held every Sunday. It's a lovely place for quiet reflection. People are asked to offer up a quiet prayer for peace in the world at the "Peace Pole".