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.
A special character of the Webber farm is the apple orchard. Tony’s father’s passion for growing apples saw him establish 250 varieties, with over 200 varieties surviving today. Tony now runs Perendale sheep; a hardy sheep breed from New Zealand and suited to the Apollo Bay’s climate.
Tony’s aspiration for the land is to see it flourish. He would also like to see that the protected land is properly managed under Trust for Nature’s guidance and to provide opportunities for young people in the district to come and learn about conservation and participate in a farm that’s sustainably managed with conservation values.
Adjoining the Great Otway National Park, the conservation covenant will protect endangered cool temperate rain- forest, riparian forest, and gullies of wet forest communities. The rare Slender Tree Fern forms part of the rainforest community, alongside massive and ancient Myrtle Beech.
for more information about projects in the Corangamite region contact Chris Lindorff (03) 8631 5888 or firstname.lastname@example.org