Another burster of a wildflower season at Kings Park – not to mention across WA!


This week we dropped in to visit writer Anne-Louise Willoughby in Fremantle.

Over a fine brew of coffee, she talked to us about a great Australian artist, the late Nora Heysen.

Her tales about Nora, the daughter of acclaimed artist Hans Heysen, are fascinating.


Author Anne-Louise Willoughby


The first woman Archibald winner, and Australia’s first woman war artist, it’s surprising she doesn’t enjoy more fame outside of art circles. Anne-Louise’s book, Nora Heysen, A Portrait, published in March, will help change that.

You can read our interview with her in this issue of The Starfish.

To celebrate spring having sprung, we popped over to Kings Park to see the wildflowers in full bloom.

Along with other delighted visitors, we literally gasped at how gorgeous some of the native flowers are: vivid pinks, yellows blues, and everything in between.



Kings Park does a sterling job at showcasing some of WA’s magnificent and unique native plants. Each year, the gardens seem to be more striking.

And speaking of our native flora, there’s another cause for celebration. We recently received an email from Jess Beckerling, from WA Forest Alliance, the group that works tirelessly to protect our State’s magnificent forests.

Incredibly, some of the ancient forests had been scheduled for logging. Can you imagine, a 600-year-old Karri tree, being pulverised into a bag of wood chips, bound for Japan?  Outrageous. If those forests are wiped out, our south-west gradually morphing into endless suburbia, well, it’s just a revolting idea, isn’t it? To say nothing of the threat to our native fauna.

“The south-west region is now a severely fragmented landscape,” a 2018 Black Cockatoo Research Project by WA Museum researchers concluded. “And the further loss of foraging habitat, the lack of suitable breeding sites, climate change, alterations in the landscape, changing forest structure, with almost every part of the Jarrah-Marri forest logged in the past, and with most trees too young to form hollows, and competition with exotic species, all exacerbate the future conservation of Carnaby’s Cockatoo, Baudin’s Cockatoo and the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.”

Anyway, here’s the good news. Thanks to the great efforts of WA Forest Alliance and supporters – including Starfish readers – who signed petitions, wrote to politicians and passed the word on, “Lewin has been taken off the current list of forests scheduled for logging,” Beckerling rejoices.

“This magnificent, ancient forest would have been reduced to mud and stumps over the past few months, if it wasn’t for all the people who have supported Lewin’s protection.

“And it gets even better!  Channybearup, Nelson and Barrabup, the other three magnificent old-growth forests we’ve been campaigning for, have also been taken off current logging plans. When we stand together for the forests, and make sure our voices are heard, we can protect them.”



Hear hear!

The threats to our ancient forests were not well canvassed in our daily newspaper.

With less experienced journalists around to keep us well informed, this makes it a great era for politicians to get away with plenty without much scrutiny. We’re grateful to groups like the WA Forest Alliance for working so hard to make a difference, for all West Australians who want our native fauna and flora protected.


On our recent US road trip, Pete and I spent 24 hours in Boise, Idaho. I’d always wanted to go there, and now, en route from Aspen to San Fran, we had the chance. We loved it! The story is also in this issue.

There are new film reviews by Margot and Ros, Alexandra reviews another young adult book, and we offer a yummy new recipe, a health cake: Mandarin, Pistachio and Chickpea Cake, from Chrissy Freer. Delish!




Jacqui and Peter



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