Doug Ralph

dougMany people will have heard the sad news that Dough Ralph, well known and much loved conservationist about town passed away suddenly on February 24.

I would mostly see Doug at the Wesley Hill market on a Saturday morning. He was such a cheerful man and I’d usually spot his face beaming through the crowd. He was always up for a yarn, and had a keen interest in place, people, culture and history. Doug is known to many of us in Central Victoria and the broader environment movement as a man with an astounding amount of knowledge about the Box Ironbark country, which was matched by a life long commitment to protecting these remnant ecosystems. Doug would often play the ‘I’m a local and I care about the bush’ card when our local right wingers complained about the ‘blow-ins’ and our strange greenie ways.

He played an active and influential role in the Castlemaine community, and when I think of his passing I am reminded of a forest where a great elder tree has fallen too soon, leaving a huge gap in the canopy. But I am heartened to think of all those younger trees in the clearing, the people who have been influenced from Doug’s knowledge and kindness. I cherish his influence in my life and the broader community.

The images of Doug and notes below come from the Muckleford Forest site.

Tree-hugging man

Exif_JPEG_PICTURESo sad tonight to hear that Doug Ralph has died. A giant of a man in so many ways. His passion about the bush was inspirational. And his knowledge was deep and based on an endless curiosity.

Doug took some of us to see Columbine Creek in July 2013: it is a beautiful place with massive Yellow Box, and a wonderfully rich understorey. Here is Doug tree-hugging at Columbine.

Doug loved to take photos of water reflecting the world around, and I took this photos by following in his footsteps. Probably its an Aboriginal well.

Vale Doug. There was so much more I wanted to learn from you.

There will be a celebration of Doug’s life on Saturday March 7, 2015, in the Botanic Gardens in Castlemaine. All are welcome. Details here.


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