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City of Kalamunda Freeman, Order of Australia medal recipient, and Men of the Trees WA founder Barrie Oldfield.

Barrie Oldfield’s legacy lives on

AN otherwise insignificant patch of land in Lesmurdie found appreciation in Barrie Oldfield and will now be renamed in his memory. 

The City of Kalamunda will rename Willoughby Park on the corner of Willoughby Road and Sanderson Road to Barrie Oldfield Park in recognition of the City Freeman, Men of the Trees WA (now Trillion Trees) founder and film-maker. 

Mr Oldfield’s son Martin said his father’s film, On the Edge of the Forest highlighted the importance of looking after the natural environment.

“Dad was a film-maker by trade and he also had a love for the environment that developed in a way that he became an advocate for trees in WA,” he said.

“He loved flowers and native wildflowers and by accident almost, discovered these wildflowers in a little plot of land next to the shopping centre and took an interest.

“Over a few years he realised there were a lot of wildflowers in this untouched native bushland and he thought it ought to be preserved.”

Barrie Oldfield spent four years photographing and documenting 87 wildflowers in the area, just half an acre in size.

Longtime friend and Men of the Trees WA member Pauline Tonkin wrote a submission to the City supporting the decision to rename the park. 

“It’s the tiniest scattering of bush between the shopping entre and Lesmurdie Primary School, to anyone else it was insignificant, just a small remnant of a jarrah forest, no one cared much about,” she said.

“Barrie saw its potential… it’s a small piece of land that he saved for everyone else to appreciate because up until then no one else had.”

As a new resident in 1969, Mrs Tonkin got to know Mr Oldfield through the Lesmurdie Ratepayers Association, where he was involved for 51 years.

“Barrie was the sort of person you followed, if he said something was a good idea you went along,” she said.

“He was a man of great ideas and enthusiasm and pining potential.”

Mr Oldfield also produced What am I bid for the Tree and Wheat Today, What Tomorrow?

Photos of the Willoughby Park wildflowers can be found in a six-minute slideshow at www.barrieoldfield.com.au

The City will forward the recommendation to rename the park to the Minister for Lands.

By Claire Ottaviano

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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