Push to rename Lesmurdie’s Willoughby Park after late Men of the Trees founder


Men of the Trees founder Barrie Oldfield.
Men of the Trees founder Barrie Oldfield.

A PUSH to rename a park in Lesmurdie after late WA Branch of Men of the Trees founder Barrie Oldfield will be considered by City of Kalamunda council later this month.

Local resident Pauline Tonkin said Mr Oldfield’s greatest legacy was influencing an untold number of people to care for the environment.

“Up until 2011 Willoughby Park was a small piece of remnant bush squashed between a shopping centre and Lesmurdie Primary School,” she said.

“It was neglected, unloved and appreciated only as a short cut to school or as a place to dump rubbish.

“Then it found a friend in Barrie Oldfield.

“He photographed 87 flowers of different native plant species living on this remnant bush over different seasons and published them for the interest of local residents.

“In 2013 there was enough interest to form a Friends Group for the park.”

Mrs Tonkin said when it was time to name the park in 2014, Mr Oldfield set about researching the origins of the name Willoughby, but without success.

“Barrie was not a person to seek glorification for himself so the park was simply named after the street on which it sat,” she said.

“Since Barrie’s passing, the time has arrived to re-name this loved remnant of jarrah forest after a great man who spent his life planting trees and trying to save forests around the world.

“I feel comfortable in knowing that we are not causing offence to any other family in changing the name four years later.

“It makes an enduring recognition of him by re-naming Willoughby Park the Barrie Oldfield Park.

“When someone sees the sign and asks who is Barrie Oldfield, we would like them to know that he was the founder of WA Men of the Trees, that he was responsible for planting 15 million trees and was the saviour of this little piece of bush that no one else valued until he shared its beauty with his neighbourhood.”

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