Ian Gaillard splits his time between Iluka and his farm in Keerrong Valley; nearing 65 years of age, he still works as a carpenter to earn a living.
Pre 2010, when he first became aware that a Queensland-based company was drilling exploratory holes looking for gas about three kilometres upstream from his Keerrong Valley home, northwest of Lismore, he had no inkling of what the following years would bring to his life.
“At first I thought, ‘gas, that would be cheaper’, but when he started doing some research and discovered the “fracking story”, he became concerned.
“And when I found out how much chemical is poured down the whole, I became very alarmed.
“Like anywhere, water is essential to life and clean water is very important.”
In 2010 he attended his first Lock the Gate meeting and, not long afterwards, he was made the regional coordinator, “in my absence”, he laughs.
“But it was good because it gave me a larger organisation through which to speak out about local issues.”
And the rest, as they say, is history – the anti coal seam gas (CSG) movement eventually changed the course of history in NSW when the government enacted a buy-back of CSG licences; it could be argued that a similar public outcry on environmental issues had not been listened to with such effect since the Franklin River protests in the 1980s – a movement that saved the Franklin from the Hydro Tasmania-proposed hydro-electric power scheme.
This Sunday December 11 the documentary, The Bentley Effect, is being screened at the Iluka Community Hall, and Mr Gaillard plays a starring role.
A near six-year labour of love from local director and producer, Brendan Shoebridge, the film chronicles the anti-CSG campaign from first hearing news of ‘good, clean energy’ resources, to the fateful showdown at the gates of Bentley, near Lismore.
On the film, Mr Shoebridge says: “The first priority was to ensure it was entertaining, but I didn’t want to make a film that people would simply watch either. I wanted to offer the audience an experience, the next best thing to being there on the blockades.
“It also had to inspire hope and stay true to what played out.”
Following the screening, Messrs Shoebridge and Gaillard will discuss the film with the audience.
“It’s an important local historic event,” Mr Gaillard says, “about the grassroots campaign, entirely in the Northern Rivers, and features a lot of local people and from all walks of life.”
Doors open at 6.30 pm. Tickets will be available at the door and online. For more information about the film, visit the film’s website www.thebentleyeffect.com.