BMW Boxers and the Kerr’s bush legacy

Sunday 21 June, 2015

An appetite for adventure and a love of the open road has taken Geoff and Elizabeth Kerr the length and breadth of Australia.

Geoff Kerr on his travels with his BMW Boxer motorbike. Photo Elizabeth Kerr.

With nothing but their BMW Boxer motorbike, together they’ve explored the vast expanses of Australia’s rugged outback and picturesque coastlines.

Nothing could hold them back. Not even the five broken ribs and a bleeding kidney Geoff suffered after coming off second-best to a patch of bulldust outside Carnarvon Gorge could keep him off his beloved Boxer. That fateful afternoon cost the Kerrs a night in a remote outback hospital and a new spark plug, but their adventurous spirit remained well and truly intact.

It’s been a lifestyle without regrets, but for one exception – witnessing first-hand the decline of Australia’s native flora and fauna. Having travelled widely throughout Australia over a long period, Geoff and Elizabeth have watched our unique landscape degraded by feral species, land clearing and soil erosion.

Sadly, they’ve also witnessed the decline of Australia’s native species, particularly birdlife in various parts of the country.

A native Richard’s pipit on Boolcoomatta Reserve. Photo by Wayne Lawler / EcoPix

“You barely see a parrot in the Adelaide Hills anymore,” Geoff laments. “The numbers of animals that are disappearing is really concerning.” Their increasing alarm at the rate of biodiversity loss spurred the Kerrs into action, and they began supporting Bush Heritage Australia in 2010, wanting to play their part in protecting Australia’s native species.

“We’ve been involved in land care projects wherever we’ve lived, often raising our own seedlings from collected seed,” Geoff recalls. “Joining Bush Heritage was a chance to help efforts that are underway Australia-wide.”

In 2014 they hit the road again and visited our Boolcoomatta Reserve in the arid rangelands of South Australia. It was their first visit to a Bush Heritage site and Geoff remembers being particularly impressed with the restoration work underway.

Dawn silhouette at Boolcoomatta. Photo by Wayne Lawler / EcoPix.

“The way it’s been restored, it looks like it’s back to the original landscape,” he said. “And being a builder I was able to give some advice on some of the building and construction work.”

Without organisations like Bush Heritage the future of the Australian bush – the flora and fauna – is bleak.

Conscious that the battle for the preservation of Australia’s species will be ongoing, both Geoff and Elizabeth wanted to make their contribution a long-lasting one. So when the time came to update their wills, the Kerrs didn’t hesitate to leave Bush Heritage Australia a bequest. They wanted to play their part in helping protect and preserve Australia’s flora and fauna well into the future.

“To anyone who is contemplating leaving a bequest to Bush Heritage, I would say ‘Put it in your will now’,” says Geoff.

“Inform your family of your reasons and don’t leave it until it’s too late.”

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