Urban bush warrior Trish Hewson continues crusade 20 years on


Urban bush warrior Trish Hewson
Urban bush warrior Trish Hewson

The seventh profile in our monthly Faces of Nedlands series by City of Nedlands communications officer Michelle Newton is urban bush warrior Trish Hewson.

WHEN Karrakatta Cemetery decided to build a crematorium on the bushland at Hollywood Reserve, Trish Hewson sprung into action.

With the community up in arms about the possible loss of the 6.41ha site bounded by Karrakatta Cemetery, Mrs Hewson and her husband David mobilised the community, enlisting children of all ages to write letters and draw pictures to send to the State Government, organising protests, and arranged to show the minister of the day around the bushland.

The group managed to persuade the cemetery and government the bushland was important to the community and worth preserving.

In the mid-90s, Mrs Hewson, Eddie Knott, Claire Welsh and a group of dedicated conservationists started the Friends of Hollywood Reserve.

The area is now a Class A reserve, vested in the City of Nedlands and maintained by the group.

Twenty years on, Mrs Hewson said she visited the reserve every day to walk her dog, pick up rubbish or, on very hot days, to water.

She also enlists local primary school children to plant seedlings every year.

“We have about 250 children coming in over three hours, and we’ve got to plant about 500 plants,” she said.

“We try to find a (safe) area where the littlies are not going to get lost or disappear down a hole, then we tape off the area and dig the holes.

“The kids come in and plant and then we water them.”

The bushland is a place of refuge and reflection for many – part of the reason Mrs Hewson and the friends group is so dedicated to maintaining it.

“One time there was an old man at the hospital and he was dying – his family wanted a photo of him,” she said.

“He was from the country, and they wanted a photo of him in natural bushland so asked to use the reserve.

“Another time I had a letter from a lady from Albany I think, she had been at Crawford Lodge (the Cancer Council accommodation). She had been up here for treatment and she said it sort of balmed her soul by going into a piece of bushland and just sitting there.”

Mrs Hewson won a Premier’s Australia Day Active Citizenship Award in 2015.

If you are interested in helping the Friends of Hollywood Reserve, call 9386 4476.