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Maree Gillott (President)
After 31 years running my own legal practice in Logan, together with other business interests, my husband David and I moved to Wolvi just a year ago. Now that life has moved into (slightly) less frenetic gear, I’ve got the time and space to involve myself again in the things that matter. I’ve always been involved in community organisations of one type or another and the opportunity to combine my experience in not for profit management and my long held interest in sustainable land management was too good to pass up. I’ve got a particular interest in permaculture and regenerative agriculture, as it has long been apparent to me that industrialized methods of farming are making us, and what we eat , sicker than we have ever been.
My Husband and I were lucky enough to find our way to a well -watered cattle property in the foothills of Mt Wolvi which will be keeping us well occupied in our “non-retirement”. At last, I have both the means, and the opportunity to put all the theory I have accumulated from the permaculture/ sustainable agriculture reference books sitting on my shelves and apply them to our new place. The aim is simple- I am just looking to leave our small patch of the world in better shape than we found it .
Becoming a part of Landcare will hopefully allow me to help spread the seeds of change even further.
Antoinette Augustinus (Vice-President) My work as an Assistant Pharmacist in the Netherlands and later, my studies in Naturopathy and Homeopathy in South Africa, naturally caused me to take an interest in the environment, agricultural practices and how they impact on human and animal health and nutrition. In 1982 I opened the ‘Natural Health Centre’ in Gympie which became a busy practice, and subsequently I gave post-graduate lectures in Homeopathic medicine throughout Australia as well as teaching at a college on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile I put organic and permaculture principles in practice in my paddocks and gardens from Gympie, to Tamborine and Tasmania. Field Days on Biodynamic farming that I attended on a sheep property in Tassie showed remarkable improvement in their soil, so I applied those practices to my horse paddock and the resulting quality of the horse manure transported into my garden helped to grow fantastic fruit crops especially on the heirloom varieties of apples that I planted whilst I lived there. I feel very passionate about preserving and restoring our precious environment in the Gympie Region, I may not be able to influence the rest of the world, but agree that we can think globally and act locally…Therefore, it goes without saying that Landcare is such a fantastic organisation for all of us to learn, share and act, so I am honoured to be able to do my bit as part of the GDLC management committee, and learn as much as I can to make a difference and join with like-minded people in the region.
Barry Lambooy (Treasurer) My wife and I headed off on a round the world sailing trip from South Africa and nearly made it but we were stopped by the beauty of Australia in 1991 and decided to make this our home and have been here ever since. I worked for many years in the agricultural industry in the magnificent Kalahari desert and for several years as a timber cutter in north Queensland. I have previously volunteered with Gympie Landcare in the nursery and as minute Secretary. As a Committee member I bring experience as a former auditor and chartered accountant to not only help guide the financial future of Landcare but also to capitalise on opportunities and the potential for growth and expansion.
Mel Marx (Secretary) From a young age I always felt most alive when I was out in the bush or simply gardening with mum. Mum taught me most of what I know about caring for the soil, nurturing wildlife and growing things. Watching how we are destroying our land at an alarming rate meant I needed to stop talking and do something. So we bought a 40-hectare farm in Wolvi to start restoring our own piece of land. I believe that caring for the earth starts with an individual. The more individuals that do that will eventually bring a tipping point of earth restoration. I joined Gympie Land Care to learn how to make a difference, particularly using native plants and sustainable land management practices. Being invited to join the management committee is an unexpected privilege where I hope to use my experience in organisation effectiveness to assist the organisation to get more focused and organised so that we can support those individuals who are going to give us the restoration tipping point.
Karen Jarling (General Committee Member) With a ‘paid’ work history that covers retail and hospitality, it was always my ‘unpaid’ work that felt like the better personal fit. The unpaid job had terrible hours, no holiday pay or super, but it did have excitement, fun and personal satisfaction in spades. What was that job? FARMING – the best job on the planet. Learning beside my father as a very young person, later beside my now husband and more recently from Australian and International experts, “Farming” has come to mean much more than just growing food. What happens below the surface of our soils is where the true story of farming anything lies these days. Soil health, microbiology and the interaction between plants and the soil life is a vast subject and the discoveries about these interactions are happening at a break neck pace due to vastly improved technology. When time permits, I attend industry workshops, field days and information sessions to feed the knowledge bank. These workshops and other regional food and agriculture events are also an opportunity to network with other like-minded farmers and graziers. Like many women on the land, in my day-to-day working life I have become an accountant, research officer, minister for finance, marketing director and sales person along with caring for my two rapidly growing boys. I will continue to seek information and cutting-edge techniques to improve upon farming challenges and am excited to be able to share what I learn to the wider community through Landcare Gympie. I am always eager to connect with other farming families, but also those who are asking questions about how they can take the next step towards a farm that is a growing lifeforce, in all it’s amazing forms.
Louise Watson (General Committee Member) I grew up in Brisbane Queensland and have always had a heart for animals in distress. My career journey took me to the police and the Royal Military College Duntroon. My husband Rob and I moved out to Roma in 2012 where we owned a small farm and operated a farm animal rescue program. There I got to work with the local Council training in conservation land management, specialising in pest animal and weed control. We then moved to Gympie whereas a wildlife carer I look after injured or abandoned native wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, possums, and kookaburras and then release them back into the wild where they belong. As part of the management committee, I hope to support landowners to build more native habitat for wildlife to flourish striking a balance between maintaining grazing land and natural habitat reserves for our unique native wildlife.
Suzanne Lanham (Minutes Secretary) By way of quick summary to explain how I got here: born in Nambour, grew up on a farm, (first dairy then cotton), in Theodore, left to work in big bad cities like Brisbane, Townsville, and Canberra for education and a career as a Human Resource practitioner in the Australian Public Service after a very enjoyable four years or so travelling and working in Europe. After leaving the Public Service, I had my own business as a Human Resources Consultant for a number of years, before buying my block of land at Woolooga in 2006 as a precursor to making the move from Brisbane in 2008 after my Dad passed away. I had always been a gardener in my various homes, was adamant I didn’t want to be a little old lady in the city and was intent on becoming as self-sufficient as possible. My criteria for my future home included having good soil and a dam for gardening purposes, both of which I found at Woolooga. (I am also walking distance to the Woolooga Hotel, which I have to confess, played some part in my choice of location.) I have an acre and a half of land which was previously part of a cattle property, and which had not a single tree on it. I lived in a caravan on my block for 15 months after the 2011 flood, keeping myself occupied by relocating granite rocks and stones to form veggie gardens while I planned the construction of my house. I then moved into my new home in 2012, since which time I’ve been busy planting and enjoying the fruits of my labours. I’ve been in the Landcare volunteer team on and off since about 2015, and enjoy the camaraderie of the like-minded people I work with. I love watching my block becoming populated with maturing native plants, and knowing that I have provided food and home for my hive of native bees and the many birds which visit me.
Ernie (General Committee Member) I spent my main careers in the environmental sciences, mainly forestry and applied plant genetics, other ecology, and dissemination of best practices to landholders. I hate weeds and am the local representative for the Queensland Herbarium Weed Watchers network. I had five children and imbued them with a strong sense of environmental awareness, a love of gardening and a strong desire to conserve and protect our land. I believe that the way to achieve this is by landholders working together with a focus on sustainable land management practices and sharing their successes and failures with respect to soil, plant and animal health. Some people in cities appear to poorly understand where our food comes from and have lost the connection to the land. As the current President of Gympie Landcare, I would like to see us learn from science and each other no matter what size the property: “Blockies”, large landholders, orchardist and home gardeners. I strive to improve education at all levels especially of the young. I have created a forest that I maintain and am working on pasture improvement continually seeking advice from experts and high achievers. I like to read poetry, listen to classical music and am passionate about the English language.