The History Behind the Battle of Terania Creek


The Terania Creek Protest 1979. Photo by David Kemp via Visual Arts Hub

Have you ever wondered where the term “tree hugger” came from?

In today’s interview, I talked to Dr Vanessa Bible about the history of Terania Creek, where non-violent protesting started in the environmental conservation movement in Australia.  

Standing in the way of bulldozers as they attempted to demolish more rainforests, protesters litterally hugged trees and refused to let go. Later on, this method of protest was referred to as “tree-hugging”. This method led to future protesters chaining themselves to trees to cease demolition. 

Terania Creek is located in Nightcap National Park in NSW and has been impacted by recent bushfires. Today this historic site is a picnic area and has hiking trails to a waterfall. 


Dr Vanessa Bible is a lecturer at UNE in peace studies and history. Vanessa’s principal research interests lie in the field of the disciplines of Peace Studies, Environmental History, and Human Geography. She has also written a book on the history of Terania Creek that is available through e-reserve on the UNE library. 


Banner via Australian Geographic:

Download the episode here