Wednesday, 23 January 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Drunk vandals or intrepid explorers?

Tim Brunero

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22/01/2008 5:32:00 AM.

Some people were surprised here at LIVENEWS.com.au when readers’ comments started appearing on our site defending the two young people who drowned at Lurline Bay at the weekend.

“The media always get it wrong! These were not spray painting hooligans,” One post by Victor ZML said.

“They were respected Sydney Cave Clan members. Show some respect and do a bit of research first. They were just going to show their respect to Predator, the founder of the Sydney Cave Clan.”

My colleagues have since been in contact with the famously secretive Cave Clan who deny those involved were members of the group - but it should come as no surprise that the three were urban explorers.

Why else would they be spray painting somewhere where only those who go underground will see it?

Nor is it any surprise there are people out there who want to do such things. In today’s sanitised world of entertainment ‘options’, where young people are bombarded with DVDs, internet sites and ultra slick recreational venues, it’s not a shock that some choose to go out and do something for themselves.

To do something other than simply sit still and consume.

It was the same urge to escape the same over produced, fluoro-coloured world of advertising bumf that spawned the illegal rave culture in the early 1990s - when young people got together and decided they’d rather make their own fun than be sold ‘experiences’ by slick marketing executives.

These Cave Clan boys and girls have seen a side of Sydney that most of us will never know. From Sydney Water’s network of drains and gigantic cisterns - to the secret three-level WWII bunker underneath Bankstown.

From the miles of phone line tunnels which stretch across the city, to the abandoned train tunnels at St James and Wynyard, which still have the long ago forgotten remnants of the police firing ranges and bomb shelters they once were.

They make a business of breaking into abandoned warehouses, ships and other sites to explore where they really shouldn’t.

And it shouldn’t be any surprise images of these 100 odd techno savvy explorers, proficient in abseiling and caving, litter the internet.

Now it seems clear, after my anonymous discussions with Cave Clan members, the two killed were not Clan members, but part of a parallel underground community of graffiti artists.

They ventured into ‘the fortress’; two kilometres of caverns and drains which includes steel ladders which drop climbers down 10 storey drops, long slides which can be ridden on boogie boards and a memorial to the Sydney Cave Clan founder Mike Carlton.

They broke the first rule of urban explorers: ‘if it rains, no drains’.  And by their amateurish attempt to imitate their more experienced friends in the Cave Clan they ended up bringing the whole community into disrepute.  A community, let’s not forget, who helped the state government in 2005 in locating hidden tunnels that could be used by terrorists.

In short, I’m not suggesting we should mourn them as heroes.  But the least we can probably do is stop calling them sauced-up graffiti artists.  They were part of a quirky underground community of people who celebrate something many of us never see.
 

Comments

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Thankyou Tim for a well balanced article in the face of the storm. To those above, please note that as a rule Sydney Cave Clan and it's members do not support acts of vandalism. Wether this be spray painting, breaking to enter, or any other type of wanton defacement. Urban Exploration is at it's core about seeing that which your ordinary citizen would pass by, possibly oblivious to. The sport is globally recognised and we often have participants visiting from far away places to see our city.

Posted by: Anon Explorer, Sutherland

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Curiosity killed the cat. That's what, I believe, this boils down to. I think most can agree with that. Now, my point (and I believe Tims point) is that should we scorn someone for being curious? Being of adult age is no excuse for this, as this is exactly the point when they CAN do this stuff. Parents tell their children "Stay out of the city at night" but as soon as they turn 18, their in the city every night. If these kids had been let go, the novelty and curiosity of it would have worn off.

Posted by: Alan L, Dandenong

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

I know - and thats my point - even on your website it clearly states DO NOT ENTER DRAINS because it is illegal.

Posted by: Concerned Liberal, Minto

 

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

I think you have all missed the premise of this article. Tim stated that he spoke to someone who said they were NOT part of the clan. Don't know why everyone is pushing this point, Tim said it himself. The premise, I believe, is the fact that the world we live in is all rules, all clean cut and organised. When the last generation was young, they explored, climbed trees, went fishing / climbing, etc with NO equipment. This whole experience is blocked for the newer generation, they need an outlet!

Posted by: Alan L, Dandenong

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

1. They were all in their 20's - they'e not kids. 2. Those outlets are not blocked from the current generation of kids. My girls climb trees and everything else, they explore, they make dogey makeshift gyms in our backyard that always ends in cuts, bruises and tears. They splash in puddles, throw mud and play with worms. They are normal kids. Why do we make excuses, the world is what we make it, if life is sanitised then thats the PARENTS fault, but at 20, they can make there own decisions.

Posted by: Concerned Liberal, Minto

 

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Oh come on Tim, please, if you were any more left wing you wouldn't be able to walk straight. Drunken vandals is the real word, I would never use the word "artist" because that is not what they do. Urban explorers! Oh come on, they need to grow up and get real jobs and get a haircut, what 29 year old is down drains "exploring" I did that sort of thing when I was a ten year old plauing war games with my mates. Stop defending twitts.

Posted by: Ray Kington, sydney

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

I do belive the Dole Army has struck again! The Cave Clan have a media unit. They also have a media policy. Basicly they don't speak to the media. I think it is time to bring the Dole Army out of retirement.

Posted by: Dole Army, Sydney

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

If they were Cave Clan members they would have known not to go in there if there was even the slightest chance of rain. And even if they did go in there, every CC member knows that there is a way out & would not have been killed the way they were. Whoever is feeding you your information is leading you up the garden path, anybody can claim to be a member of the Cave Clan, but actual Cave Clan members won't talk to the media, full stop. Please get your facts right before you print.

Posted by: James Z, Sydney

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

Unfortunatly tims sources are leading him up the gardenpath, while the clan does regularly visit fortress, the trio were not members of the Sydney cave clan.

Posted by: anon explorer, Sydney

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

sorry they didn't share your 'grow up, consume, sleep, obey, die' mentality Concerned Liberal how very 'crazy' of them.

Posted by: Ian Harrington, Broken Bay

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

'grow up, consume, sleep, obey, die' mentality' - Ian - I have printed off your comments to show my family, they will get a huge kick out of someone basically calling me a boring, follow the line, don't cause waves type person! Wow, someone finally thinks I'm mainstream - cool. BTW - just out of curriosity, how do you get that i have that boring mentality out of telling TIm not to glorify drunk vandals putting their lives at risk?

Posted by: Concerned Liberal, Minto

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

who the hell are gang bangers you strange person?

Posted by: Glen Goosen, Giroween

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

a gang banger is a colloquial term for gang members who deal drugs, commit assaults, drive by shootings, robbery etc - i take it you were thinking a long a more perverted line.

Posted by: Concerned Liberal, Minto

 

Monday, 21 January 2008

Are you serious! They were illegally tresspassing and committing acts of vandalism. So they belong to an organisation that supports them, how is this different from gang bangers, they all break the law. I was raised that you can't play in the drains becasue of flash flooding "flash" being the operative word! The drains are off limits for precisley this reason, and now to people are dead, for goddness sake do not try and class these fools as intrepid explorers!

Posted by: Concerned Libera