It’s with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Julian Lymburner, a long-term Big Scrub Landcare member and one of the driving forces of bush regeneration in our region. Julian and his wife Stephanie served on the Big Scrub Landcare Committee for many years, becoming integral members of the Big Scrub community. Julian will be sorely missed by the broader regeneration community that he helped shape over the past few decades.

Julian and Stephanie moved to Coolgardie, just south of Ballina, from Sydney in 1992. Not long after they relocated they launched themselves into bush regeneration. Their first challenge was their new home – an 8-hectare property that had belonged to Steph’s family. ‘Crystal Hill,’ as it was named by the family, is a beautiful Big Scrub remnant with several stunning waterfalls and panoramic views of the hinterland. Perched on a precipitous slope and covered in thick weeds, its restoration would prove to be daunting.

Julian was initially overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, but that feeling disappeared after a visit to Victoria Park Nature Reserve. The nearby remnant, which was in beautiful condition, set the bar for what Julian wished to achieve and inspired him to tackle the thick lantana, camphor laurels and other weeds on the steep, rocky hillside of the couple’s property. Many local bush regenerators have commented in awe at what Julian and Steph achieved at ‘Crystal Hill.’

Read our story about the work the Lymburners carried out at ‘Crystal Hillhere.

Restoring the Big Scrub became a passion of Julian’s. He and Steph studied Bush Regeneration at Wollongbar TAFE and put their knowledge into practice at around 20 sites, including notable Big Scrub remnants Lumley Park, Brockley, Moore Park, Boatharbour NR. and Rotary Park. The couple sub-contracted to NSW National Parks, Big Scrub Landcare, Ballina Council and private landowners in and around the Big Scrub region and beyond.

Julian was known for his meticulous planning. He amassed a wealth of knowledge and was involved in all aspects from writing management plans and leading volunteer programs to rolling up his sleeves to plant and regenerate.

He was known for being always on time and “nicely dressed with a smile on his face”. His contribution to the restoration of valuable and threatened ecosystems is immeasurable. The pride he took in selfless acts of caring for the Earth and the wonderful achievement at ‘Crystal Hill’ serves as an inspiration for many.

Julian’s legacy will live on, framed by the beauty of the rainforest he helped restore and the protection granted in perpetuity when he and Steph signed a National Parks Voluntary Conservation Agreement for ‘Crystal Hill’ in1998. His son Leo, who works in satellite mapping of vegetation and landscapes, intends to continue Julian’s legacy at ‘Crystal Hill’ in the future.

Big Scrub Landcare extends its heartfelt condolences to the Lymburner family and will sorely miss the presence of Julian, a much-loved community member and true friend of the rainforest. The family will hold a ‘ Celebration of Life’ gathering early next year when his ashes will be scattered on the waterfalls and the forest he loved and nurtured.