Brisbane to Sydney by Kayak - Oct-Nov 2008

Background Information

Steve Posselt will arrive at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 1st November at 1pm.

Last year Steve paddled and dragged his kayak from Brisbane to Adelaide. This year he paddled up the Brisbane River, dragged the kayak over the Conondale Ranges, paddled the length of the Mary River and returned to Brisbane via the ocean.

In less than a year he covered more than 4000km.

Steve Posselt is a 55-year-old civil engineer who has been active in the water industry for 37 years. He has been learning about rivers and trying to educate people about their importance.

Steve believes rivers are fundamental to the health of our country and ultimately to our own viability as a species. What he sees though, is that they are treated as drains to provide water for whatever we want. Because of this, many of our rivers are indeed becoming drains with their complex ecosystems threatened.

In 2007 he paddled his three-wheeled kayak 2170km, dragged it 1080km where there was no water, and finally made it from Brisbane to Adelaide after four months.

In 2008 he suspended writing his book about this journey and set off up the Brisbane River, over the Conondale Ranges, down the Mary River and back home to Brisbane. This was to show support for the people trying to stop the Traveston Crossing Dam.

The campaign to save the Mary River has moved him deeply and he cannot stop the fight. Peter Garrett has limited powers but he can stop the dam under the EPBC Act (Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation).

The Mary River turtle is unique in the world. It can stay submerged for days breathing from special sacs in its bottom. It has only seventeen breeding areas in the whole world, all of which would be destroyed by the Traveston Crossing Dam.

The Queensland lungfish is a descendant of the first air-breathing animal, the intermediate stage between fish and amphibians. It is older than the dinosaurs. It does not live anywhere else in the world. The section of the Mary River slated to be dammed is the only natural habitat left. Native to the Burnett and Mary Rivers, it has been translocated to the Brisbane and Logan River, both of which are being increasingly threatened by population density in the relentless growth of South East Queensland. The Burnett River was dammed a few years back and the dam did not pass its environmental audit. No penalties were imposed because of this.

Steve has a support crew who will follow him, make and break camp and be the contact point for all media. These are John Schulstad, born in Woodburn but living in Perth, and John Williams from Hervey Bay.

Media Release

Living fossil damned by travesty at Traveston Crossing

Brisbane, Thursday October 2nd 2008 - Long distance kayaker, Steve Posselt, will land his famous amphibious kayak in Byron Bay/Ballina on October 9th/10th as he makes his way to Sydney to save the last remaining breeding grounds of the prehistoric lung fish. Older than the dinosaurs and ancestor to most land animals, this living fossil is under threat from the proposed Traveston Crossing dam on the Mary River.

On Saturday 4th October, Steve will set off from the boat ramp on Riverside Drive, Brisbane on a 1000km journey to Sydney. He will deliver letters and a petition signed by thousands of people to the Sydney office of Peter Garrett, the Federal Environment Minister.

"Peter Garrett can protect this ancient and vital species of Lungfish from the greed of the Queensland government. He can save Australia from acute international embarrassment." said Mr Posselt.

Aged 55, Steve Posselt gained international recognition for his journey from Brisbane to Adelaide, following the great inland waterways of the Darling Murray River system. A lifelong professional water engineer, Steve is now dedicated to reversing the years of damage poor water management has done to the continent. He believes the Traveston Crossing dam must be stopped before it destroys the last wild river in Southern Queensland.

"Traveston Crossing dam will obliterate lungfish breeding grounds," he says. "This creature is much older than the dinosaurs and does not live anywhere else in the world. The section of the Mary River to be dammed is the only natural habitat left."

Cr Jeff Johnson of Ballina Council says that "Steve's journey to Sydney will put pressure on Garrett, the environment minister, to protect this species that has world significance."

"With increasing development and population pressure local communities need to look at options including demand management, water reuse strategies and decentralization. Resource management will become increasingly important as the local population continues to increase" Cr Jeff Johnson said.

Steve will arrive in Byron/Ballina on Thursday/Friday 9th/10th October, weather depending. The trip to Sydney is expected to take about 4 weeks.

Steve will be back in the area later this year to give a presentation about his journey and the importance of our river systems and the Lungfish.

Steve on Engineers Media