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Shirley Storey who, with her husband Peter (who died in 2006), is credited with establishing the Tasman National Park, has died aged 87. The Storeys also played a pivotal role in the campaign to save the Franklin River and were ardent campaigners for Tasmania’s native forests. A memorial gathering was held for Shirley at Koonya, on the Tasman Peninsula, last Sunday.

Shirley and Peter organised the unprecedented statewide door-knock, with 1,000 Wilderness Society volunteers, advocating a NO DAMS write-in, which led to 33% of voters doing so in the state referendum in 1981. That result was seen as a turning point for the campaign to save the Franklin River which succeeded less than two years later. (Shirley’s account is attached below.)

The Storeys lived in Triabunna and moved to Koonya where they took up the campaign to protect the magnificent scenery and wildness of the Tasman Peninsula, resulting in the Tasman National Park being declared. This park now includes the Three Capes Track.

“Shir and Pete Storey are overlooked heroes of both the Tasman National Park and the saving of the Franklin River. They hold a special place in the hearts of the modern movement to protect Tasmania’s wilderness beauty,” Bob Brown said today.

The Storeys are survived by son David, his wife Kathryn and their children Tom, Ben, Lara and Emma

Quote from Shirley Storey (2006)

“…that we were going to have referendum started on the actual day that the government stated that we were not going to have a choice, and it just so happened that I was the only person in the office who was considered respectable enough to put into the gallery, and the gallery was packed, of course, with greenies who were protesting, and they sneaked me in there, and I was already schooled on what I had to say, and at an appropriate moment I had to stand up and say: ‘We demand a fair and democratic referendum’ and pandemonium broke out and of course we were all evicted from the gallery immediately, and it was only within a day or two of that that we actually sat down and decided that a referendum was appropriate and Pete and I insisted that the only way to run this was to actually door-knock, letter-boxing was not good enough, that we actually needed to talk to people and show a friendly face and not necessarily, you know, to preach to people but at least to actually present the leaflet we were putting out and say to people ‘Hey have a read of this, it is important that you know about it’ and so Pete and I basically motivated, perhaps because we had done the membership and had got a lot of people starting up new branches during the months that we ran the Wilderness Van in Triabunna, we sort of knew a lot of people and we really had contacts all over the state, and we had 35 different areas where we set up groups of people and did seminars and talked to them all on how to deal with fierce dogs and fierce people who thought there ought to be dams all over the place. And the goal was to get one thousand people, Wilderness Society members, out there actually talking to people on that day and that’s basically what we did. And it was kind of a really stirring sort of campaign I think that actually ended up getting that write-in, and let’s face it – conservative people – eh – Tasmanians? and they actually wrote – we convinced them that it was OK to do that.”

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