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Bill Johnston's happy place

Published 11 Jan 2024

When you drive into Eurardy Reserve, there’s a relatively new sign that’s been built. Sitting nicely within the arid landscape, stacked rocks are held together by recycled steel mesh – also known as gabion baskets.

The sign is a creative reflection of the people who make Eurardy so special. It has been made mostly from reused materials that were recovered from the reserve's previous management as a sheep station. 

Here, you can witness a place going back to nature. With farming gone, the native plants and animals are returning, and every visit leaves me in awe of the bush’s power. 

At this point, the reserve is my happy place in nature. Its story follows a similar narrative to my own, and maybe that’s why I’ve grown such an affinity for it.

Further south, I grew up on a sheep farm in Kojonup and this set my trajectory as someone who would find immense belonging by being on and caring for land. A connection that was further cemented among the spinifex, saltbush, and red dirt of the Great Western Plains in New South Wales. 

It was here, as a young jackeroo that I experienced some of the happiest times of my life. The bush captured me, through all its beauty and cycles of flood, fire and drought.

Bill Johnston, one of Eurardy Reserve’s regular vollies, 
Nanda Country, WA. By Bill Johnston

My work continued to provide opportunities for me to connect with the natural world, including places across the globe. Through these experiences, I became conscious of my carbon footprint and soon after this realisation, I stumbled across Bush Heritage.

Little did I know the journey that would unfold by signing up to become a donor and later a volunteer: the trips to remote protected areas of bush, the new skills and learning, the expansiveness it brings to my relationship with nature, the friendships and, of course, the stunning sign at Eurardy.

Our vital conservation work cannot be done alone. Be an agent for real change by volunteering with us and help tackle some of our environment’s greatest threats. We offer reserve-based volunteering from March to October, and home-based volunteering year-round.

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