John Blay walks the talk

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John Blay with Acacia blayana specimen in the ANBG
John Blay with Acacia blayana specimen in the ANBG (photo: Jill More)

John Blay, writer and naturalist, filled the Theatrette at the Thursday Talk on 18 March with his talk about 'Some Special Places of the South East Forests’.

He spoke about the challenges of conservation in the region’s forests, along with its peoples and natural history, and the rediscovery of an important shared history pathway, the Bundian Way.

John's epic bushwalking trilogy of the south east forests includes Back Country (2017), On Track (2015) and Wild Nature (2020). It traces the region’s forests, peoples, natural history, and the rediscovery of an important shared history pathway. The books are available for sale at the Botanical Bookshop.

The Bundian Way is set to be one of the great Australian walks, and is now heritage-listed thanks to the work of Blay, Aboriginal communities and local people

John Blay at ANBGGroup inspecting acacia blayianaAfter the talk, John signed copies of his books, and then led a group on a walk up to the plantings of Acacia blayana in the Gardens. John discovered this species of wattle in 1982 in the Brogo wilderness, and it was named in his honour.

Acacia blayana grows to over 30 metres, and when John last saw the specimens in the Gardens they were young; it took some time to recognise them, as they have grown to mature height!