SHERRIE Yeoman travels all over Australia to protect the environment and Indigenous cultural heritage.
Growing up on a farm in Doreen, Ms Yeoman has always had a love of the land and natural environment.And now the time has come to use her environment activism to protect trees closer to home.
Ms Yeoman is trying to save two 500-year-old gum trees on the property she grew up on – which face the axe due to the duplication of Yan Yean Road.
Up to 3000 gum trees in Doreen also face clearing due to the road works.
“These trees hold an enormous amount of carbon, you cut down these trees – it’s exactly what we shouldn’t be doing,” she said.
“They’re saying we have five years to turn around what’s happening on the planet, and you could call it scare mongering – I don’t anymore.
“When governments are taking this on board – the time to act is now.
“I’ll be chaining myself to the Doreen gums if I have to.”
Ms Yeomans is currently protecting 800-year-old Djap Wurrung trees that face bulldozing in preparation for a $42 million upgrade to the Western Highway, near Ararat.
When the North Central Review interviewed Ms Yeomans in Doreen, she was about to travel to the western Victoria to camp out with protestors and continue the blockade to protect the trees.
Two hundred and sixty trees sacred to the Djap Wurrung people face clearing including a significant 800-year-old birthing tree – where more than 50 generations of Aboriginals gave birth in the hollow of the tree.
This isn’t Ms Yeoman’s first time defending the western area of Victoria.In March this year Ms Yeoman joined 300 other protestors who camped out near the Western Highway to prevent bulldozing equipment coming through.
“There were 70 police officers out there, it was a fairly full on situation,” she said.
“We stood across the gateway to prevent the equipment coming through – we were chanting ‘always was always will be Aboriginal land.’”
Ms Yeoman said the State Government had stated the tree clearing and highway upgrade would save a two minute drive.
“I’m sorry we need to change our priorities, the environment has to take first place,” she said.
Ms Yeoman has also protested in NSW – chaining herself to a 200-year-old Morton Bay Fig tree in Lennox Head for eight days and nights – a tree that was saved five times before it was cut down by council when Ms Yeoman was overseas.
“Even though I’d been assured by environmental heritage officers that the fig tree would be protected, the council came and cut it down three days later,” Ms Yeoman said.