Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - WHAT'S ON PLANNER -

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.fre­

Pic­ture: Will Rus­sell­mu­ni­ d464666

Author Thomas Wil­son with his new book.

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