The Knitting Nannas vs tree loggers

27 October 2015

Green group of elderly women claim truckers are trying to intimidate them at forest protest by driving too close

  • Knitting Nannas of Toolangi protest against the destruction of native forest
  • They claim they have been intimidated and bullied by pro-loggers
  • A logging truck allegedly drove dangerously past them, speeding
  • Later, an image of a logged tree with spray painted 'hug this' was posted
  • It was posted to their Facebook page by a pro-logger 

 

A group of brave grandmothers who are knitting their way to environmental conservation have complained of being allegedly bullied by state-employed loggers.

The Knitting Nannas of Toolangi, a rural town in Yarra Valley, an hour and a half north-east of Melbourne, campaign against the destruction of native forests in peaceful protest – by knitting.

But the Nannas say responses to them have not been so peaceful, and have complained of bullying and intimidation by contractors at VicForests, a state-run logging company.

Knitting Nannas of Toolangi have complained to police after a logging truck was drove 'dangerously' past their sit-in at Toolangi, where they were knitting by the forest last Tuesday (pictured)

 

After the Knitting Nannas posted an image of the speeding truck to their Facebook page, a pro-logger posted an image of a vandalised logged tree with the words 'hug this' spray-painted across it (pictured)

 

The group have complained to police after a logging truck was ‘driving dangerously’ past a Knitting Nannas sit-in, known by the group as a 'knit-in' at Toolangi, where they were knitting by the forest last Tuesday.

The group told Daily Mail Australia that the logging truck drove at high-speed at around 3pm, sending dust over the group and frightening them all.

‘We were all in shock,’ the Knitting Nannas told DMA.

‘This logging truck rounded the corner of Myers Road and Sylvia Creek Road sending a young child running frightened for his life,’ the group wrote on Facebook.

The Knitting Nannas posted an image of the speeding truck to their Facebook page the following day, when a pro-logger responded with abuse, the group says, and posted an image of a vandalised tree.

An image of a logged tree with the words ‘hug this’ spray-painted across it on a log truck was posted in the thread by the pro-logger, and has since circulated social media widely.

‘Hug this’ is presumably a reference to the term ‘tree huggers’ or ‘tree hugging hippies’, used to describe environmentalists.

The tree is estimated at being around five metres in circumference, and ABC reported it is believed to be hundreds of years old.

The Knitting Nannas of Toolangi (pictured), a rural town in Yarra Valley, an hour and a half north-east of Melbourne, campaign against the destruction of native forests in peaceful protest – by knitting 

 

‘We don’t want to see people lose their jobs, but the native forest logging industry needs to transition into a more economically viable plantation industry,' Knitting Nannas of Toolangi told DMA. Pictured is a separate truck carrying logged Victorian trees 

 

In response to VicForests' apology, Knitting Nannas asked: ‘We ask what type of behaviour he is not condoning. Is it dangerous driving, is it logging old growth trees, is it making a mockery of those who care or is it just the graffiti?’ 

 

‘To think that the pro-logging supporters could make such intimidating and bullying comments blatantly on our page was disturbing to say the least,’ Knitting Nannas told DMA.

Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland said the bullying tactics showed 'brazen contempt for community concern.'

She told DMA that it was not just one offender making bullying comments online, but several posting abuse to the Facebook page. 

Nathan Trushell, General Manager, Stakeholders and Planning at VicForests told DMA that they ‘don’t condone this type of behaviour and we are following it up’.

‘Our contractors are very responsible in the way they conduct themselves but this was a clear error in judgement from the individual involved,’ Mr Trushell said, referencing the person behind the ‘hug this’ picture. 

‘We apologise to anyone who was offended by this photo.’

However, Knitting Nannas were unmoved by the apology.

‘We ask what type of behaviour he is not condoning. Is it dangerous driving, is it logging old growth trees, is it making a mockery of those who care or is it just the graffiti?’

It’s not the first time the elderly activists have been the target of intimidation.

In July, Daily Mail reported that their NSW sister group, Knitting Nannas Against Gas, referring to coal seam gas, received anonymous letters of abuse.

‘Shame shame you fat knitting nanna sl** hang your head in shame and go do something decent,’ the letter said.

Identical letters were sent to three of the Nannas, at their home addresses.

The Knitting Nannas began in NSW with two friends who began bringing their knitting along when they sat in at mining sites to protest.

It has grown to thousands across the globe, with between 40 and 50 groups around Australia.


It's not the first time the Knitting Nannas have been intimidated. In July, their NSW sister group, Knitting Nannas Against Gas, referring to coal seam gas, received anonymous letters of abuse to their home addresses. ‘Shame shame you fat knitting nanna sl** hang your head in shame and go do something decent,’ the letter said (pictured)

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