I grew up just over the hill from the bush up the back of our place in Bridgetown.
The bush was a place I visited whenever I came home after boarding school, travel, or life in the Big Swirl, Perth.
My grandfather, Roy Doust, grew up in the bush, played with the local Googliup mob, hunted, fished, camped, observed.
He remembered well the Googliup people laughing at his ignorance, but by the time I was born he knew more than most.
It was him who taught us the evil ways of the kookaburra, the bird introduced from Victoria to clean up the much feared snake population. Roy claimed the kookaburra was the greatest destroyer of native fauna, second only to humans.
We hunted a range of animals, rabbits, kangaroos, fish, but nothing got our blood boiling like a kookaburra.
In 1972, while sitting on his veranda, Roy said: “We’ve gone too far, Jon. They have to stop clearing the bush now.”
If anyone knew when the time had come to stop, it was Roy, his bush loving mates and the Googliup people.
Yet here we are, 41 years later, still clearing as though leaving tiny pockets of bush will satisfy the birds and the bees and the rest of us will soon forget we ever had a fight on our hands.
Roy loved Albany and once swam for his life when he was washed into the ocean by a king wave. It is my firm belief that the plan for Bayonet Head would look like another nail in another coffin to Roy and on his behalf I hang my head in shame, for too many of us know not what we do.