a person who vigorously supports or defends a person or cause.
“he became the determined champion of a free press”
DCALC would like to recognise the extraordinary contributions the following champions have made to DCALC and the Dunsborough environment over the past 20 years.
Ron has worked tirelessly since the 1990’s to protect Dunsborough’s natural environment through advocacy and action while educating others at every opportunity.
His involvement with local community groups, particularly DCALC has helped to voice community concern and shape the Dunsborough landscape we know and enjoy today.
Born in the West Australian wheatbelt town of Narrogin in 1937, Ron’s interest in agriculture may have been predestined. In the 50’s he completed a degree in Agriculture Science at the University of Western Australia and began work with the State Department of Agriculture.
In the 70’s, Ron and his wife Cyndy bought a ‘holiday’ property in Dunsborough which they later settled into with their 3 children.
In the same decade, Ron’s work took he and his family to Spain where he worked on a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) project for 2 years. In later years, Ron went on to work on an Aus Aid project in south-west China, a FAO project in eastern Turkey and several short-term projects in China and Inner Mongolia.
Ron’s need to lead and to contribute to his community began to show in his teenage years when he took on a role as a Youth Leader at the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). This later progressed to becoming the Director of the YMCA in the 70’s, a Scout Leader in the 80’s and in the late 90’s as President of a focus group of the Dunsborough and Districts Progress Association, concentrated on coast care. This group later (1998) becoming the incorporated, independent body known as Dunsborough Coast and Land Care (DCALC).
It was no coincidence that in the late 1990’s both Ron and Cyndy had retired and DCALC was born. Ron had banned together with other like-minded retirees to form the Coast Care group and Cyndy who shared Ron’s concern for the environment and was always willing to help was in the background supporting Ron and the groups endeavours.
In the 20 plus years that have followed, Ron has organised and participated in planting, revegetation and weed control programs, garnered the grant funding needed to do on-ground work while also sharing his knowledge about pollination, wildflowers, revegetation, Western Ringtail possums and other native animals with community and even local school children. He has also lobbied agencies and government for better environmental outcomes from development proposals and “provided the impetus” for the preparation of several management plans for local reserves (The West Australian, 2015).
“But the work will never be finished”, according to Ron, who said “management is integral to keeping Dunsborough the special place it is”.
“We must persist on these things all the time,” he said.
“If you get to the issues early, it doesn’t become a problem.”
(The West Australian, 2015).
Rod Grist was the epitome of the saying “if you want something done – ask the busiest person you can think of”. No matter what else he had on his extensive agenda, he always managed to fit in responding to a call for help.
Donny Brook was Rod’s birth place and where he lived and attended school. As a young man he was an orchardist, and later changed to mixed farming. His leadership qualities became obvious during his early adulthood, being involved in the Donnybrook Apex and Lions Clubs and the Yabarup Youth Club.
His wife Daisy and Rod had four daughters, and if that didn’t keep them busy enough, Rod loved playing sport too, especially hockey and badminton.
Rod and Daisy moved to Dunsborough in 1996 first living in Campion Way, Quindalup, then building and moving to a house in Geographe Bay Road in 1998. They travelled extensively both overseas and throughout Australia, and while caravanning about Australia, Rod loved to sketch the natural environment. He also liked poetry and occasionally penned a few lines.
Like his working life in Donnybrook, he was involved within community in Dunsborough and started the local Probus Group. He was also involved in the Dunsborough Country Club where he played golf and bowls and spent many hours each week attending to maintenance issues around the golf course.
Rod was elected onto the Meelup Management Committee around 1999 and for the next ten years became their “weed man” – endeavouring to identify and eradicate weeds from this special Regional Park.
After becoming involved with DCALC, Rod was elected to the Committee and for many years was also our weed man, alerting the committee and volunteers when outcrops of listed weeds occurred along roadsides and pathways, and in Dunsborough’s Shire managed reserves – Blythe, Peron, Armstrong, Marri, Captain Toby to name a few. He was also instrumental in assisting DCALC chase funds and helped with the subsequent building of two accessways to the town beach.
Rod’s death in 2015 was a great loss to DCALC and to the whole Dunsborough community.
Chris was born and lived his early life on a farm in Sussex in England. After completing his B.SC (Agriculture) at Cambridge University he migrated to Australia in 1957. His working introduction to Australia was as a Jackaroo in the Riverina district of New South Wales, but in 1958 he joined the New South Wales Department of Agriculture (DoA). Initially working on vegetable production broadly, he then became a specialist potato breeder at Glen Innes, where he met Judy.
They married in the early 60’s and in 1964 their first son Richard was born. When Richard was only four months old, they came to Western Australia, and Chris joined the WA DoA Horticulture Division where he later became Senior Advisor in the Vegetable Production Section.
In 1987 Chris took early retirement, a little disillusioned with the politics creeping into government departments. He had an interest in bee keeping for a while, living on a 10-acre property in the Kalamunda district of Perth. A few years later Chris and Judy decided to move to Dunsborough, first living in Chester Way, and then in 1996 on Geographe Bay Road. At this time Chris became interested in the environment, noting erosion problems along the Dunsborough foreshore.
One of Chris’s initial retirement enterprises was to become involved with the preparation in Bunbury of the HMAS navy boat the “Swan” for scuttling in Geographe Bay, two and a half kilometres out from Point Picquet. Now popularly called “The Swan Dive Wreck”, it has become a great dive site, with many species of fish taking up residence over the years since.
Although Chris and Ron Glencross had met briefly at the Agriculture Department, their mutual interest in the environment consolidated, firstly through being members of the Dunsborough and Districts Progress Association, then following with the establishment of the Dunsborough Coast and Landcare Group in 1997.
Some of the early projects undertaken by DCALC, with Chris and other early members, included:
- Tackling Bridal Creeper with specifically bred Leaf Hoppers, and later with a rust fungus.
- Monitoring ground water with Ron Glencross, via multiple bores installed in the Dunsborough area to evaluate nutrients seeping into Geographe Bay
- Motivating action for the removal of the Dunn Bay Beach car park causing severe beach erosion
- Conducting soil contamination tests with Ron along the Dunsborough foreshore
- Helping draft the Dunsborough Foreshore Development Plan with other DCALC members
- Rehabilitation of the two town streams, Dugalup Brook and then Dandatup Brook
- Removal of Arum Lily and other garden-escapee weeds from the Dunsborough foreshore
Back problems now preclude Chris from being involved with current activities, but I’m sure we all agree that he has well and truly earned a rest!