At the farewell event for Doug Ralph in the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens early last month Phil Ingamells gave a speech about Doug’s contribution to the environment movement in this region. Phil who lived in Castlemaine in the late 1990s was a good friend of Doug’s and one of the founding members of FOBIF. Phil now resides in Melbourne and works for the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) on their Park Protection Project. One of his memories was about Doug’s part in the re-routing of the Calder Freeway:
There are many stories that could be told about Doug’s endeavours, but I’d like to tell just one. When the Calder freeway’s Taradale bypass was being planned, Doug got wind that it would plough through a small but valuable native woodland on private land. He quickly got a few people together to speak at the planners’ public hearings.
Now, as you drive towards Melbourne, you’ll come to a point where the freeway flies over the Taradale Metcalfe road. Shortly after that, as it starts to bend to the left, you can see eucalypts poking up between the two sides of the freeway. They mark a wildlife corridor between that private land on the western side and another woodland to the east. The freeway then follows a long swooping curve, leaving the threatened woodland very much intact.
Whenever I go that way, I think of it as Doug’s bend.
If you missed Doug’s farewell you can now read the full text of the speech that Phil made here.