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Narelle and Nood's Story

Voices from the Gaslands: Narelle & Nood's story

Narelle and Nood Nothdurft bought their dream home near Chinchilla in southern Queensland, eleven years ago. It included a large house for their growing brood of 11 children and 350ha where the kids could roam freely, ride their motorbikes, climb trees and fish in the dam.

It was a healthy and happy lifestyle for the close-knit family but in 2005 things started to change.

The coal seam gas companies began moving into the area and wanted to drill a well on the Nothdurft’s property.

The family initially thought the impact of the single gas well would be small but a year later the company came back wanting more and threatening to take the family to the Land Court if they didn't sign a land agreement.

The Nothdurfts now have seven wells dotting their property and 23ha of roads, infrastructure, pipes and cleared well pads servicing the gas wells.

Their property has been surrounded by gas wells and pipes. Gas vents are released regularly within 150 m of their house. Constant noise has shattered the once tranquil bush block with a compressor station running around the clock just a few kilometers away. At night the noise pounds on destroying any chance of a solid night’s sleep.

The Nothdurfts have 26 gas wells within 2km of their house and are living in what they describe as “hell.”

Their youngest children wake up screaming from headaches in the middle of the night with the youngest girl slamming her head against her bedroom wall in a desperate bid to get the pain inside her head to go away.

The lives of the family have been destroyed and their health is suffering. “We can’t prove it's the gas, but something is making us sick,” Narelle said.

“Before the gas companies invaded us no one got headaches, now we get them all the time.”

The family wants to move away from the industrialized zone that circles them and keeps them awake at night but their options are limited. They run a business from their property and if they move they don't think they will be able to afford a house with enough room for the eight kids still living at home.

“They have invaded us. Its just not fair,” Narelle said.