Her bush memory

Thursday 21 June, 2012

Genevieve Simpson remembers her mother as a woman who loved the bush. Now, a gift in her mother's memory reminds us what a difference Bush Heritage supporters can make.

The Fitzstiring ranges viewed from Monjebup North Reserve The FitzStirling section of Gondwana Link traverses the 70km gap between the Stirling Range and Fitzgerald River National Parks. Photo: Peter Morris


Judy Wheeler treasured her memories of growing up on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Her family had a huge vegetable garden fringed by wattles and blackbutts, where she played on a swing tied to a wild apple tree. She loved the Hawkesbury River with its huge expanse of water, islands shrouded in mist and small inlets. But now much of the local bushland she explored with family and friends has been destroyed.

Chereninup Creek - Chereninup ReserveChereninup Creek, Chereninup Reserve. Photo: Chinch Gryniewicz

That's why when Judy passed away in 2010 the Simpson family decided to donate a significant sum to Bush Heritage as an In Memoriam gift. "She always talked about wanting to preserve a parcel of land in the area," says Judy's daughter Genevieve. "Every time she went back to the Central Coast there was less and less of what she had once loved about the place."

A decision to protect the bush

Judy's family decided to donate to Bush Heritage because we do exactly what Judy had always dreamed of - buying important pieces of land and keeping them in their natural state. "Mum wanted to make sure future generations had the same opportunities to enjoy what she had enjoyed," says Genevieve.

Judy's husband and two children decided on an open donation, giving Bush Heritage the ability to spend the money where it is most needed. On top of this, their untied donation was matched in full by the David Thomas Challenge, a program set up to encourage private environmental philanthropy in Australia.

Reveretation are at Chereninip ReserveRevegetation area at Cherininup Reserve. Photo: Keith Tuffley

Genevieve sees her family's gift as a continuation of Judy's work. "I grew up sitting on the floor of committee rooms listening to my mum talk. She was involved in heritage, the arts, local council and school committees - she was all about contributing to the community and she never sought to be paid for it. That's why we didn't hesitate in making quite a large contribution."

A visit to Gondwana Link

To see the kind of projects the Simpsons' donation might fund, Genevieve visited the reserves that make up Western Australia's Gondwana Link nature corridor.

The highlight was the view from an old farmhouse on Beringa Reserve. "It was great seeing land that had previously been paddocks now rehabilitated with vegetation, and behind that, seeing bushland fenced off and protected"

“You could clearly see the different work that Bush Heritage was doing rolling down the landscape.”

Genevieve sees conservation as the perfect way to honour her mother. "You know the land has been purchased and will be kept in this state for perpetuity. It's recognising lasting memory. I know the family made this decision, but I see the gift as a bequest because this is what Mum always wanted."

A lasting memory

Bush Heritage thanks the Simpson family for their generous gift to the Australian bush and to future generations. If you would like to honour a family member or friend by protecting the kinds of places they loved in their lifetime, contact us on (03) 8610 9157.

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