When Tony Webber’s parents bought an Apollo Bay property in 1976, part of it had been selectively logged of Southern Blue Gum, Manna Gum, Messmate, and Mountain Grey-gum and then allowed to regrow.
The 80 ha property extends from the Great Ocean Road down to the west branch of the Barham River, and 90 percent of it is very steep. Thirty-four hectares of its bushland are now protected by a conservation covenant, along with an additional area of farming land that is protected from future subdivision and intensive farming.
Tony believes some of the steeper reaches of the property should never have been cleared in the past because the land is prone to landslips and erosion, events that are exacerbated by the high rainfall—an average of 1,450 mm a year. Tony’s grandfather was an environmentalist in New Zealand and, in turn, Tony’s father and he have adopted the principles of protecting the environment. In those early days, his grandfather was careful to label himself a field naturalist, rather than simply a naturalist, so as to not be confused with the naturist scene of the time.