Voices for the Gaslands: The Jenkyns' story
When John Jenkyn and his family moved from the Sunshine Coast to a 63ha bush block and cottage near Tara, eight years ago, they thought they had found an idyllic retreat.
The Jenkyns were seeking a tranquil environment so that the two children who have cerebral palsy could find some peace and quite and their mother Jo could recover from cancer. But it wasn’t long before their peaceful lifestyles were shattered.
The gas companies moved in on the family, drilling gas wells and building a compressor station and other industrial infrastructure on neighbouring properties.
Surrounded by venting wells and constant noise the family have been left bewildered and fearing that their health is in decline.
The two children have suffered sleepless nights, ear ringing, rashes and unexplained nosebleeds.
John has witnessed the once flourishing bird life his family used to treasure all but disappear. Instead of birdcalls they now hear the constant hum of industrial motors or the roar of passing trucks thundering down their once quite road.
The youngest son Aaron has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and needs plenty of sleep so that he can heal from the frequent operations and pain he suffers. But even a letter from the Cerebral Palsy Association telling QGC of the need for Aaron to rest has not been enough to get the company to buy the family out of what has become a living hell.
Other families have been bought out by QGC and have been able to escape the gasfield but the Jenkyns have been left to suffer the consequences of life in Queensland’s gaslands.
John has pleaded with QGC to buy the family’s once-loved home and surrounding bush block but all the company has offered is a sum of up to $100,000 for noise mitigation to make their lives a little more tolerable.
John says it is not enough to make a difference and not enough to allow the family to move away.
The Jenkyns just want to get back what they once enjoyed, fresh air and a quite home environment.
But instead the family’s situation is about to get even worse with more gas wells planned to surround their home. The first of the new batch of wells will be sited within metres of the Jenkyns’ kitchen window.