Quoting Harry Butler
Harry's legacy in words
Compiled by Wendy Gellard
Background to the book
Harry led weekends yearly for eight years at Peace Be Still.
Some four years ago Wendy Gellard asked Harry Butler, after he had proof read a draft on a walk trail booklet she was preparing: ‘Harry, when I get around to it, can I write a book on you?’
‘Permission granted’, was the response, ‘you have the tapes of the talks I gave up there’.
A legacy of his words
Wendy has compiled a legacy of Harry’s words, so they won’t be lost.
So enjoy, connect and put into practice all that you learn, so that you too can make this planet a better place because of his wisdom.
Sense of humour and occasional temper
Harry’s sense of humour was to the fore. Sometimes his temper revealed itself as well. However his main gift was to help people become aware, not only of Nature, but of life itself.
How to buy the book
This book was launched in Western Australian on the 24th June 2017. It is now available for sale from that date onward. Please go to the contact page and Wendy will assist you in purchasing the book on line.
‘My playmates were Aboriginal kids, my tutors were Aboriginal women and periodically Aboriginal men. They taught me the first fact: there is only one in every life – that is yourself – what you know is what matters, not what somebody else knows.’
‘…everything in the world has a place and a purpose and it belongs with something else and it relates to something else.’
‘…there is no magic – everything that moves in the bush leaves a track, whether it runs, hops, walks, wriggles or flies. The art of a bushman is to read those tracks.’
Excerpts from the book
“Move slowly. The very movement scares off birds and creatures. Be quiet. Use your eyes and your ears and your nose. Remember, National Parks are a place for people to enjoy at all times, so when you go into a park, enjoy it, and use it, but don’t destroy and abuse it.If you turn over a log to look at something, put it back. If you pick up a stone, put it back. Leave nothing behind in the bush but footprints. Take nothing but memories and photographs.”
“It is funny you know, people – total strangers come up to me in the street, or restaurant or airport and say ‘It is alright for you, you know what to look for, but every time I turn over a stone, there is nothing under it. Now, come on, tell me the truth, in your television show, the things were planted weren’t they?’ And I have to say to them ‘I am sorry, no they weren’t planted. The magic of finding things is knowing which rocks to look under’.The background of that magic, and it is a magic is based on bushlore, which in turn is based on aboriginal law.”
A rich life
“Each one of you, is, in your own world a master or mistress – you are the head of your family or you have control of your job. You are a professional person or whatever – you are number one. Now that is the first thing that is contrary to going in the bush. In the bush, there is no number one. That is number one – Nature.
You are very much a subordinate, a secondary, parasite, burrowing on the face of Nature, and if you can accept that humility and accept Nature as a potent force, and come to terms with that sort of humility, your walks in the bush will be rewarding.”
“We may sacrifice our own personal choice, but we don’t and won’t sacrifice that to our children. This really is the dilemma of conservation and development. It is the balance that is necessary and people really have a problem coming to terms with it.
Sustainable utilisation is recognising the capacity of the paddock to carry 150 sheep and to keep on carrying 150 sheep, because each year you can harvest the surplus off.It is the same with forests, including rain forests, the same with fisheries.
Cows, sheep, goats, pigs were originally wild animals which have been domesticated over the years. So we harvest wildlife, whether we call it wildlife or not. It is the management that matters and unfortunately in this country, we have very few managers and even fewer people that understand the principals of management on a sustainable basis.
I am not down on sheep. I am down on the management practices that over-supply sheep in a given area and put too much pressure on the land.”
“What I started to say was, somebody called me a greenie. That is an insult. Greenies are people who want to stop development, who want to stop the world and the ultimate thing is to go back and live in caves in the dark and eat grass seeds. I don’t want to do that and I don’t want my kids to do that, and I don’t want my grandkids to do it. I want to live like this, using the environment, enjoying it.”
“Western Australia is built on independent thinkers – those who don’t think in the box. The early farmers, miners, foresters set the standard of living which is envied by the rest of the world. The early colonists put economy and development as their number one priority. Artists, poets, writers and singers created the quality of life, making Western Australia what it is.”
Extract from a talk given on Foundation Day, 6th June, 2011
24 JUNE, 2017 Harry Butler Book launch Conservation The book Quoting Harry Butler was launched at the beautiful property of Peace be Still, a place where Harry took people on bush walks. The Western Australian property is set in the beautiful hills of Chittering, an...
Harry Butler Trail Walk
This book is available for $20 plus postage. If you are interested, please get in touch.