1981: Wandiligong. Campaign against the aerial spraying of 2,4,5-T

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The Wandiligong Preservation Society organised a protest campaign and despatched letters to Members of Parliament and the Forests Commission, calling for cancellation of the spraying operation until a detailed scientific investigation could be carried out into the effects of spraying 245T.

This was rejected by the Forests Commission so the next course of action was to seek an Interim Injunction Order against the spraying from the Supreme Court in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, a committee was gathering community support, signatures and money to pay for the estimated $3000 in court costs – all of which were readily forthcoming.

A pregnant Wandiligong mother and two other residents were preparing to appear in court when it was confirmed that the spraying operation had been cancelled for 1981.

The decision was celebrated but all were aware that the problem was not completely solved. What about next year, and the next? So a meeting planned for Saturday, August 1 went ahead. Despite the relaxation of immediate pressure 100 people and 50 apologies were registered at the meeting in the MU Hall. People came from Glenrowan, Carboor, Bobinawarrah, Wodonga, Kiewa Valley, Bright, Rosewhite, Wandiligong and a busload from Beechworth and Stanley to show their concern.

At this meeting a structure was set up to collect information and data on the effects of herbicides on people and on the environment. To date there has been no further attempt to spray the district with 245T but the local people are prepared for any future developments.

This episode shows the strength of community concern and on a larger scale, a small community involved in the national and international debates over the use of dangerous chemical sprays such as 245T and Agent Orange.

Legislation banning the aerial spraying of the herbicide 245T was enacted and is still in force today.

Source: Wandiligong – A Valley Through time