I bought my farm now 45 years ago and it was in a seriously degraded state. It looked like an ecological hell, the house was dilapidated and looked like it was about to fall over from the leaning stumps. This is the story of my tree planting efforts and how it has been turned into a verdant paradise.

I host the occasional visitor who comes here to do some work in return for keep and to learn about growing trees on farms and while here they experience a full dose of rustic Australian and to participate with me in my charmed lifestyle.

This is what it was like soon after I purchased it. The task was ahead of me.

This is a collection of essays that I’ve written over the last few years about my thoughts and experiences. I’ve even had the opportunity to have read and broadcast a seventeen of them over the radio on Radio National and they have even said that they liked my stories and to keep sending them in. Although the planting and growing of trees may seem ordinary, it seems to me, a former good Presbyterian, to have opened the door to things I could never have imagined. The stories are as they were written at the time and are all 100% true.

The soil erosion just cannot be believed. The rocks are the old creek bed and all the soil above it is the recent deposition. The farming practices were unbelievable destructive. By the way, that is my dog Nell.


I believe that this book only came about “by the grace of the Pine Tree” (this is a quote from a visitor called Mieko, see later) and I need to acknowledge this. It has been my muse and guide probably ever since I was young.

I purchased my farm in 1975 in a devastating state and a new regime commenced with the planting of mostly the Hoop Pine Tree and now years later, it has been transformed.

My neighbor told me that his father told him that the Hoop Pine here was as “thick as the hairs on the cat’s back” and he could “throw his ax from one tree to the next” as he commenced to cut the trees down. Somehow a cycle seems to have been completed and my book has been the outcome of this.

A Qld Maple Tree

Some young Qld Maple. They look so good in wet weather.

An Older Naturally Occurring Red Cedar

One of my Red Cedar trees, number 285. The photo is a little unusual because it is about 20 years old.

A Naturally Regenerating Rainforest Tree

A Native Olive that has been damaged by vines. Vines can cause serious damage and even death to my precious trees.

The Sequence of Events.

One of the axes that may have cut down a lot of the trees here which I found discarded in the pasture. It has done a lot of cutting because the blade has been sharpened away.
An old photo where a little of the remaing rainforest can be seen in the top right hand corner before it was fallen and burnt sometime later. Frankly a pointless and destructive thing to do as the land is so steep.
The same general view not long after I purchased the farm.
The HP forest that is there now. Quite a transformation. Yes, the trees do need thinning and I will do it as soon as I can arrange it .

Another Hillside and the Changes Occurring.

A photo from probably about the 1930’s when it was a dairy and banana/pineapple farm. They grew pineapples on the slope and bananas on the flat on the left.
A photo from 1985 when I had planted the slopes with HP and can just be seen.
A photo taken about 10 years ago when the HP are well established. This is a hot dry slope and HP are a very tough tree.