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There is a beautiful Regent Bowerbird sitting in the Crow’s Ash tree outside Barry’s office window as he writes his story - and a Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove has just been and gone. It is raining again but that’s what happens when you live on the edge of a rainforest. ‘Barry’s’ rainforest is Lamington National Park, a world-renowned bird watching and bush walking area and part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Reserves of Australia. He came here about 25 years ago to work as a Guide at Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, a beautiful old lodge located at one of the entrances to the tracks of Lamington NP. For many years he had the privilege of sharing the park with guests from around the world. The forests and wildlife are rich in stories and Barry has come to know them intimately.
Barry’s passion for the area remains and he still leads groups into the park, mostly bird watchers and American university students these days but he will guide anyone who is interested in enjoying the park. The walking track system is one of the best of any national park in the world and has been improved further with the opening of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk.
Birds are Barry’s special interest and Southeast Queensland is a hot-spot for birds especially in Lamington NP. He had the pleasure recently of tracking down a Rufous Scrub Bird, very elusive species that creeps around on the forest floor. It circled around in and out of his view, but only a few metres away, for about 5 minutes. It seemed to be a case of the watched, watching the watcher.
At Binna Burra Barry was also involved in adventure programmes such as abseiling and team building and he still maintains an interest in these activities. He has qualifications as an outdoor leader, abseiling instructor and workplace trainer and in vertical rescue and wilderness first aid as well as a science degree from many years ago.
In 2004, Barry decided it was time to leave the rainforest, take off the raincoat, put on the sunscreen and Akubra and use his skills as a Naturalist and Guide to explore the rest of Australia and beyond.
He leads walking and bird watching tours in all Australian mainland states, New Zealand and Norfolk Island. In 2008 he was one of the Naturalists on a Zegrahm Expeditions trip to PNG, the Solomons, Vanuatu and Fiji aboard the ‘Clipper Odyssey. ’ Since then he has led two more tours to Papua New Guinea.
To keep him closer to home for some of the year he also does Environmental and Ecotourism Consulting, in association with other consultants, particularly, but not exclusively, in the fields of vegetation management, the flora, fauna and rehabilitation aspects of mining lease applications, interpretive signage, walking track design and ecotourism tour design and training.
As well as gaining 30 years of experience as a Guide, a Naturalist and Consultant, and exploring his wonderful country, he has also been lucky enough to win the following awards Binna Burra Staff Member of the Year in 1999, a Rotary Pride of Workmanship award in 2002, the prestigious Gold Coast Supreme Hospitality Award in 1993 and in 2005 and 2009 the Australian Ecotourism Association’s Australian EcoGuide of the Year.
"Barry is a very warm person, great birder, and went out of his way to find birds." - 2016 Eastern Australia participant