Vale Doug Ralph

FOBIF members and people in the wider community have been saddened by the news that Doug Ralph, founding President of the Friends, has died of a heart attack at his home in Little Bendigo.

On his retirement from the FOBIF committee Doug was rightly described by Marie Jones as an Elder of the environment movement. He knew this country better than anyone else, and was generous in sharing his knowledge of it: hundreds of people have been introduced to its secrets on the guided walks he ran for many years, or via the contributions he made in innumerable forums.

Doug was tireless in his efforts to get better management for our natural heritage, but he was also insatiable in his curiosity about cultural history. Although he was sceptical about the value of gold mining, and relentlessly critical of its destructive effect on the environment, he had enormous sympathy for the miners and huge interest in the detail of their lives.

One of Doug’s most striking qualities was his inclusiveness. He kept his eye on the important issues, and was impatient of efforts to divide this community into ‘old’ and ‘new’ residents. What counted for him was getting things right, not where someone came from. A fifth generation local, he welcomed anyone who had something to offer the community.

Doug wasn’t scared of labels. He had a terrific sense of irony, but wasn’t ashamed to put himself on the line: ‘I’m a tree hugger. I’m proud of it.’ He gave as his religion, Bush Baptist.

There was no one like him.


Chris Johnston sent us this photo of Doug hugging a tree at Columbine Creek in July 2013. He took a small group to walk there.



For more tributes to Doug, see

Natural Newstead February 26 post

Connecting Country February 25 post

Muckleford Forest February 25 post

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3 Responses to Vale Doug Ralph

  1. Gen Blades says:

    Doug loved walking, and philosophising, he knew the ground beneath his feet intimately. This verse is in memory of his walking:
    Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.
    Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
    Be still, they say.
    Watch and listen.
    You are the result of the love of thousands.
    (Linda Hogan, 1947)

    Thank you Doug

  2. Ann Quinton says:

    What a lovely poem, which describes Doug to a “T”
    I was so shocked when I heard of his death…
    His contented smile and earnest spirit moved me many times over the years I knew him.
    His dedication to our beautiful Earth will be remembered for as long as all of us are still around.
    Bless his family with the joy he created for so much of world in which he lived
    Thank you for giving us the chance to put our thoughts into words.

  3. Emmanuelle Dubuc says:

    Life sometimes brings gifts that often cannot be described by our human words as the depth that those gift carry, expands way beyond our human ways. Doug was one of those gifts… he touched so many hearts with his contagious love of nature. His memories will always remain…in the heart of our bushland, in the mosses and lichens filled with moisture on a cool wintery day, in the majestic clouds swiftly moving across our skies.
    Your are loved and always will be Dear Doug. xxx
    Wishing you well on your Journey.

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