The gate that helped start the Lock the Gate movement is now on a farm in Tasmania

Just over 10 years ago, a group of farmers and environmentalists gathered outside the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane to campaign against what they saw as the expansion of coal and gas development. at the expense of Australian agriculture.

The protesters called themselves the Lock the Gate Alliance and said they were prepared to go to jail to stop resource companies from exploring or exploiting their land.

But as with any demonstration, they needed a centerpiece – something to gather around that would do well for the cameras.

A man needs a door

The day before, Darling Downs farmer Rob McCreath got a call from protest organizer Drew Hutton.

Drew called me and said, ‘Rob, do you have an old rusty door that would look great in a photo? “” said Mr McCreath.

“I only had that one because it wasn’t that big so I could put it on the back of the ute.

“I kind of had it in my head somewhere in the house because it’s old fashioned, but I never got into it.

This door is a “Sunshine Mckay” made by industrialist Hugh Mckay at Sunshine Harvester Works in Melbourne in the late 1800s. (

ABC Rural: Luke Radford


“It worked for Gandhi”

The alliance has come a long way since 2011. Lock the Gate says it is now made up of 450 local groups with more than 120,000 members.

Mr McCreath admits that when he was protesting in 2011, he had no idea how big the movement was growing.

“The idea being that it’s non-violent, but you just refused to cooperate, so the principle was to lock the door on the mining and gas companies and refuse to cooperate.

“It got a lot of attention really quickly and I was on Radio National with Fran Kelly and she was asking how many farmers were going to participate. I really had no idea.”

A rusty door with several pairs of legs behind it, protest signs are in front.
The gate at the first ‘Lock the Gate’ protest in Brisbane. (

ABC News


Mr McCreath believes the secret to the alliance’s success lies in the simplicity of the basic concept.

“I had never heard of civil disobedience before, and Drew told us how Mahatma Gandhi used it to protest against the British occupation,” he said.

“It worked for Gandhi. It will also work for the farmers.”

A great adventure

Protest came and went, but the gate remained in place, and when Mr. McCreath decided to move, the gate accompanied him on a 2,000 mile journey.

“We sold in Queensland and bought a farm here, so we brought it with us. There was no way I was putting this one in the offsetting sale,” he said.

“There was a stack to keep and a stack to sell, but this was in the stack to keep from the start.

Residents of Butchulla join farmers in Lock the Gate and Wide Bay Burnett in delivering more than 500 letters condemning fracking.
The Lock the Gate movement has grown considerably since 2011 and now boasts more than 120,000 supporters. (

Provided: lock the door


“I don’t know if we’ll take it with us if we have to move again. It’s pretty well planted in a post now, and it’s doing a job.

“It will certainly last a very long time. It contains a lot of steel, so for hundreds of years it will still be there.

“Maybe we’ll put up a sign: here’s the door, lock the door.” “

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