ESME WOOD 1930 – 2019 A LIFE WELL LIVED

Esme at her front gate during the Voluntary Conservation Agreement celebration
Esme at her front gate during the Voluntary Conservation Agreement celebration

Esme Wood was a dynamic person\ who was creative, artistic and passionate about the protection of heritage and the natural environment.

Esme grew up in Beecroft. Aged 21, she married Bill Wood and they purchased 3 acres with an old weatherboard cottage on Shepherds Lane, West Pennant Hills (now Cherrybrook). Residential subdivision caught up with them and preferring a rural lifestyle, they moved to Galston, where they purchased 5 acres of long grass and bush on Fishburns Road in about 1970. The road then was a dirt track with boggy sections when it rained. They built a house and Esme lived there for nearly 50 years, content to stay in her familiar and beautiful surroundings.

As a child, Esme developed a love for literature, poetry, classical music and art. After leaving Meriden school, she studied art at Julian Ashton’s Art School and East Sydney Technical College and worked in the Mitchell Library. The love of art and all things creative continued throughout her life. She studied art and sculpture at Hornsby TAFE in the 1980s. She was a theatre set designer at the Castle Hill Players for about 18 years. She was involved in over 30 plays and was awarded the Shelagh O‘Hanlon Award in 1987 for long-term service.

Esme was very active in the community. For several years in the 1980s and 1990s she was actively involved as a volunteer at the Dural & District Historical Society History Cottage and involved with the Hornsby Conservation Society. She also volunteered for the Mastertouch Piano Roll Company (Petersham) when it was trying to establish a museum in the heritagelisted Stanmore Fire Station. In the early 1990s, Esme assisted with the assessment of roadside verges for conservation significance for Hornsby Shire Council’s Rural Lands Study. She also carried out water monitoring in about six creeks at Galston including in Galston Gorge. She wrote numerous letters to politicians about a host of topics, trying to improve conservation outcomes for heritage and bushland areas.

From the 1990s to 2015, Esme also volunteered as a bush regenerator at four Bushcare sites: Carrs Bush (Fagan Park), Tim Brownscombe Reserve (Fishburns Rd), Berowra Creek and Rosemead Rd Hornsby. She assisted writing and distributing pamphlets about Bushcare. In 2004, she made the commitment to protect the Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest, a Critically Endangered Ecological Community, on her own property on Fishburns Road by organising that it be subject to a Voluntary Conservation Agreement to protect it in perpetuity. Esme was a remarkable person, dedicated to conservation and trying to make the world a better place.

Esme was much loved by her family and will be greatly missed. Family and friends are warmly invited to a Celebration of Esme’s Life to be held at Carrs Bush, Carrs Rd, Galston at 10.30am on Friday 6th December 2019. Morning tea of scones (Mum loved scones) and BBQ lunch. Please phone Meri 0423 910 324 for more details