BOOK MAKES WA CONNECTION
IF there is ever a perfect time to release a new book, Thomas Wilson has nailed it.
The author’s new book Stepping Off is a combination of memoir and nature lovers’ guide to the South-West, exploring the area’s environmental and social history as well as his ties to it.
With environmental issues at the forefront of local minds in recent times, Wilson said while researching the book, he came to realise areas of intact heath, woodland and wetland were “the remnants of a once glorious whole”.
“The book gives a reader the full history of changes to the natural environment in Perth since white colonisation, and contemplating this bigger picture helps to put issues such as Beeliar wetlands and Roe 8 in their wider context,” he said.
“Understood in its historical context, the defence of this area of wetlands in Coolbellup becomes not the luxury of over demanding special interest groups, but a rearguard action to stabilise the already broken shards of a once extensive network of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain.”
For Wilson, writing the book was a way to become more in touch with nature and WA’s history.
“At a point in my 30s I realised that I didn’t really know where I came from in a comprehensive and ecologically nuanced way,” he said.
“I couldn’t have told you when or why places like the Wheatbelt came into being, for example and I wanted to discover the big picture story of my home place, and transmit the big picture to others who were similarly interested.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in Perth don’t know the history of their home, especially the history of the plants and animals that have been here for millions of years.
“Reading this book is one way in which people can take a first step towards becoming more native to WA.”
Stepping Off is available at www.fremantlepress.com.au.
Author Thomas Wilson with his new book.