The main players in the saga of the Yellow Brick Road are denoted above, with Lara patting her pet, Bashful Bryan, while being looked on by Greg L’E (who is down on his luck); Will the Tinman; and DoBy the sneaky little Terrier in waiting.
At the beginning of the story when Lara meets Greg, L’E there is a fork in the Yellow Brick Road. Lara and Greg L’E decide which of the branches to take, (the one with the foxglove infestation of course), and eventually find themselves at the Emerald City, beneath the imposing vista of Projection Bluff. However all is not what it seems and their dream of instant fortune is stricken by the grave malfeasance of the Nome King.
By early 2012, Lara finds the Yellow Brick Road in ruins at the hands of the evil Nome King. It is presumed in the legend (Return to Oz) that after she defeats him, the Road and the Emerald City is restored. What will be the outcome?
The Nome King
Now for the real story …
In 1931 a surveyor’s map …
… clearly shows that the road to my property (Lot1, Folio 290528) indicated a number of aspects, viz:-
• The road specifically led to a privately owned property in the name of Donald Burns
• Along both sides of the road there were also privately owned properties
• The road had been used by private logging operators since circa the 1890’s and during the mid-1900’s by private sawmill operators Sulzbergers and R.P.Furmage
• The same road was used for access to at least 3 private activities on Lot1 Folio 290528 during the past 60 plus years as noted in the attached diagram relating to Mountain Road and its uses by private individuals.
In April 2010 Forestry Tasmania advised that they planned to log Coupe BA388D and noted that Mountain Road was in fact owned by them, and I, as the current owner of the original Donald Burns property of 1931, had no legal access.
In a letter to my solicitor on 10 May 2010 an officer from FT Mersey District stated categorically:-
• ……. that the maintenance of Mountain Road (to the intersection with the spur road leading to the south known as Mountain Road1) is the responsibility of Gunn’s Limited.
In an email of 13 July 2010 my solicitor further stated:-
• Specifically, the title to the land over which Mountain Road traverses, is in the ownership of the Crown, not FT. I confirm there is an endorsement on the plan attached to the title (viz: Portfolio 1357910) that the land in the title does not include “hatched portions or roads”.
• If the road is Crown Land we would need to ascertain whether it is included with the land under Instrument C446473 Creating a Forestry Right for Gunn’s Plantations Limited as appears on the adjoining Certificate of Title.
In an email of 12 August 2010 my solicitor informed me that:-
• The surveyor I consulted now informs me that Mountain Road is a reserve road and it follows that (if the road is on the true position) it would not be under the control of FT. This also means that FT cannot grant a licence or easement in favour of another party.
In an email the following day he further stated that:-
• The point is FT does not have a right to decide if other parties can use the road, and certainly, FT does not have the unilateral power to grant you an easement or licence to use the road. These matters rest with Crown Land Services
On February 12th 2011, a delegation from FT Mersey visited my property. Among the many topics covered the District Officer firmly stated that:-
• The Gunn’s Joint Title of the coupe (Portfolio 1357910) …….was a hatched area far distant from the coupe and did not include the BA388D coupe…... and then went on to explain that in 2001 FT had established a Joint Venture with Gunn’s which incorporated the distant acreage. This was due to the need for Gunn’s to supply capital funding.
In an email to FT Mersey on 18 February 2011, which copied the above FT statement to Gunn’s, I stated that:-
• A Joint Venture has many interlinking obligations and responsibilities. For example the provision of funds by Gunn’s to support a failing FT might have a reciprocal clause of provision of timber from all areas in the JV - perhaps even under discount pricing terms. More importantly JV’s usually have liabilities that are Joint and Several…so if FT was conducting activities on “their acreage” which breached legislative requirements under the FPC or the FPP, or the basic tenets of FSC Accreditation, then those breaches would normally be directly applied to the other JV party and remedies jointly applied. Accordingly I intend to seek the basic principles and liability linkages included in the 2001 JV under RTI legislation.
On 3 March 2011 I received the following response from Gunns, viz:-
• The coupe referred to in the email is BA388D which I understand is a native forest coupe proposed to be harvested by Forestry Tasmania contractors and regenerated back to native forest. The coupe forms part of a large land title of which Gunn’s Plantations Limited lease a small proportion for the purposes of growing what is now a semi mature plantation. The Gunn’s Plantations Limited lease area is completely commercially, legally and geographically independent of BA388D. The confusion has come about because Gunn’s Limited have this lease interest formally recognised against the land title in much the same way a bank registers a mortgage against a title, except that in this case Gunn’s Limited’s interests are limited only to a specific portion.
• Therefore, in summary, the Joint Venture (more correctly referred to as a land lease) referred to within the email below does not exist is (sic) any context for the coupe BA388D, nor does it exist for any other area of native forest on the Forestry Tasmania land title in question.
On 4 March 2011, I responded to Gunns, inter alia, as follows:-
• I have limited knowledge of your activities but I suspect I do know what the legal ramifications of having “a bank mortgage registered against a title” means.
• FT was quite specific that the Joint Venture was put in place because FT was short of cash and Gunns was to bankroll them. That is why you are described therein on the title as the “mortgagee” = YOUR words.
• So the question is, under the JV that you clearly have with FT, and under the Title where you are clearly described as the “mortgagee” (your words) what happens if FT defaults on its obligations e.g. do you acquire the FT acreage, and if you default, does FT acquire your acreage?
• And if you both go bust, which seems to be happening, does it revert to the people of Tasmania?
(I had no written response directly to those questions).
In a letter dated 7 June 2011 in response to my RTI request of 5 April 2011 the now departed Hans Drieslma unequivocally stated that :-
• …… the Forestry Right of 2003 applying to Portfolio number 135791 did not encompass Coupe BA 388D. The Forestry Right just included the “hatched areas” and “not including the roads.”
In a letter from Bob Gordon dated 22 November 2011 he stated:-
• As a result of State Forest dedication (in1991), the Reserved Road was extinguished…and the road is considered to be a Forest Road….
• Public access … including Forest Roads must be managed in accordance with Section 20B of the Forestry Act 1920 which under subsection 20B(3) allows the Corporation to a person a fee for the right to use a Forest Road
A letter dated 20 February from Minister Green stated, inter alia:-
• Mountain Road was designated a forestry road in 1991. Forestry roads are not public roads…..construction and maintenance is not funded by the taxpayer but by Forestry Tasmania from the sale of wood products.
And to complete the picture I read the fulsome expose of Laurie Levy on 16 April 2012 entitled “Gunn’s Forestry Right Questioned” (TT here).
Is everybody now completely confused as to the real truth about the “Yellow Brick Road”?
I would opine that, based on my solicitor’s various advices; the 10 May 2010 letter from FT Mersey re Gunn’s Mountain Road maintenance responsibilities; and various communications from Hans Drieslma, Bob Gordon, and the Minister; when combined with the Laurie Levy 16 April expose, that I have been deliberately misled by each and all of:-
• FT Mersey
• Hans Drieslma
• Bob Gordon
• Bryan Green, and
• Lara Giddings (who has been a silent witness and knowing accomplice)
It seems the gross malfeasance of the Nome King has been omnipresent during the past 20 plus years.
I am now able to see why Lara is so determined in her quest to defeat the Nome King. But will Bashful Bryan, Will the Tinman, Greg L’E, and sneaky DoBy help her????
Just a final thought. The following extract from Frank Clune’s historical account of Martin Cash contains this epiphany of just how little Tasmania has changed in the past 175 years since he (Frank Clune) made this description of governance in Van Diemans Land of 1837, viz:-
‘The colonial government of petty aristocrats rotten with greed and miserable intrigues, had no policy of encouraging the spirit of independence among the lower orders by making arable land available for farmers with small capital. Their callous attitude was driving the mass of the population into a condition of poverty despair and sullen hatred”
Change a few words and as Yogi Berra, New York Yankees famous catcher of the 50’s once said,
It’s deja vu all over again!
• Use of Nome rather than Gnome ((Wikipedia here)