GERMAINE Greer is on a mission, a mission to save the Australian rainforest through rehabilitation, starting with her own 50 hectares in the Gold Coast hinterland.
To a packed audience at the Bega Valley Public School hall on Saturday, Dr Greer described what she had been able to do and what others could do to save the Australian landscape.
Candelo Books hosted the visit in association with the CWA and the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA).
Before Dr Greer spoke, president of the Far South Group of the CWA Mary Williams and Prue Acton from SERCA welcomed her to the Bega Valley.
Dr Greer’s talk was illustrated with slides, not very good ones, but the Google ones from the air showing the property before rehabilitation started and how it had improved dramatically over the years demonstrated just how fruitful her work had been.
She said she employed professionals to do the work, not volunteers, and how everyone in the process was learning new skills and new botany all the time.
She was not critical of the settlers who had cleared the land for dairying and a failed banana farm, saying that was the way it was in those years.
Her team discovered that just because vegetation was native, didn’t mean it was the right vegetation for her land – often aggressive native vegetation took over from native species natural to the area.
A curtain of lantana had to be torn down and a safe herbicide used on much of the land before revegetation could start.
Dr Greer said Agent Orange herbicide had been used in South East Queensland before its dangers were known from the Vietnam War experience and that dioxins may still be in the water.
Her book, White Beech: The Rainforest Years, tells the story of the rehabilitation of her land.
She says she calls herself the Python Queen as there are so many on her land, and she lives with them happily, all part of the biodiversity of the rainforest.
She is spending all her money on her land and has set up a charity to carry on the work after her death.
The speech was filled with humour, usually aimed at politicians and particularly her local council, the Gold Coast council.
She would like to do away with fences, plastic covered shields on plants and toilet paper.
A spray douche attached to the lavatory is a much better solution that toilet paper she said.
Dr Greer encouraged everyone to do what they could for the environment and not depend on governments to do so as that was very unlikely.
After the Q and A session Dr Greer signed copies of her book White Beech and listened to those who had been working on their own environmental issues.
The talk started at 11am and Dr Greer was there until 4pm talking and signing.