*Pic: Max Angus ... Image from here
Memories of Pedder ... Max Angus painted ‘Visit to Lake Pedder by light plane’ in 2015. Image from here
First published March 4
Have you ever had a chance meeting that changed your life?
Many years ago I met this extraordinary man, Max Angus. I was sneaking across his property near Binalong Bay to go for a surf, and he caught me red-handed.
He was a cheeky, soft spoken, impressively debonair gent with tweed jacket and beret. We had a long chat. A bargain was struck. I would deliver 90 year old Max and his wife Thedda some stew for dinner, in return for continued access to the beach. That night I did so …
… and added a bottle of my Pinot into the bargain. Max then insisted he wanted to give my kids free painting lessons in return. This was how I got to know Max Angus, his life of environmental activism and extraordinary achievements.
Over the coming days Max was the first to join the dots for me, on what was ultimately the genesis of the Green political movement in Tasmania. Chatting around the open fire cauldron in the middle of his old hut, he quietly lamented the loss of Lake Pedder, how a deep grief had grown and blown like a gale across his friends, an acute sense of loss, a reflection that a part of them and their life had died. He was determined that his paintings, writings and book “Pedder: The Story - The Paintings” would help keep the spirit of Pedder alive for future generations.
Max explained to me how it came to be that many Tasmanians then organised, determined not to let such destruction happen again. The Franklin blockade and decades of activism against senseless uneconomic forestry destruction was to follow, and proposals for rotten, divisive pulp mills. A simple tale of history repeating, Max thought they had won the fight for Tasmania’s wilderness after the Franklin, then again at Wesley Vale, and was disbelieving, disillusioned and deeply saddened by Gunn’s new reign of terror over Tasmania. He implored me to fight for my valley and stop the Gunns Pulp Mill. Along with many other good Tasmanians, this is what I did.
Our last chat was in Max’s Hobart studio when I had finally found for the signing an original copy of “Pedder: The Story - The Paintings,” which I cherish.
Vale Max Angus, a total inspiration. The little time we spent together made me a better man.