Peter’s wife, Carol, has informed me that Peter passed away this month.
It is with great sadness that I inform you of this news.
Peter’s career was with the department of agriculture. He was able to give advice on weeds in particular when putting together an inventory of flora in Minim Cove Park. Peter was happy to take plant specimens to the WA Herbarium to be identified. I remember the first time he went to his mates at the WA herbarium with a grass. He came back with the name "Austrostipa flavescens" and details of how it was identified from other Austrostipas. It was with great joy to put a name to this native grass, as it was not present or at a stage where it could not be identified when a professional team surveyed the area for Mosman Park Council. We have since discovered this grass is very hardy, grows tall to shade the earth and reduces wind without robbing other young native plants an opportunity to survive. It only takes what it needs and can live in harmony with it’s surrounding flora.
It was great to share the excitement of new plant identifications with Peter as with others in the group. It is one of the joys of bush regeneration to discover new plants and precious young ones coming up. Biodiversity is the lifeblood of bushland, providing food and shelter all year round for those that inhabit it.
The commitment Peter put into our newly forming group was heroic considering arthritis limited his mobility. There were many jobs he could do without getting up and down.
APACE nursery in Fremantle came to Minim Cove Park the first summer we started working in the bushland to show us how to collect seeds. Peter set to work collecting the orange berries from the dysentery bush (Alyxia buxifolia), which he could easily reach because of his height. Little did we know that they are very difficult to grow from seed and all the seed we collected bore one plant that we planted this year along the bush trail.
Even though Peter was not agile and had difficulty bending, it did not stop his enthusiasm to put in some long hours getting our bushland jobs done. He would even lend a hand when he was sick working away as long as any of us. An ankle replacement early in the year put a end to his bushland work.
We'll have to find that dysentery bush seedling and tender it in his memory. There are only a couple of bushes left in Mosman Park. They are very attractive and have been used as a cure for dysentery. We owe Peter this at least!