The voice that changed Australia’s attitude to Trees

Just 35 years ago this radio interview with Richard St Barbe Baker went to air on the ABC Science Show. Robyn Williams saw the gems in a rough unedited tape I had sent him. He cleaned it up and put it to air. His felicitous choice of opening with Vaughn Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Tallis behind St Barbe’s voice stirred the Nation.

Up to that time many of us had an inkling that trees were important. This interview galvanised Australians into actually doing something about it. The tasks were all around us: Save the living trees, plant lots more to fill the gaps, save the farmlands…probably even reclaim the deserts. Read how it influenced Scott Poynton’s life
The following year St Barbe met with Vince Serventy, Keith Suter from UNAA

and the Minister for Home Affairs and the Environment and hatched a plan. Australia’s Year of the Tree was launched in June 1982, it began the National Tree Program which a few years later morphed into Landcare.

Since then caring about trees has been part of our national ethic.

This interview has been replayed many times since that day; Sunday 27 May 1979. You can listen again now.

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