William Josh — People of O-Town
Community environmental engagement officer
It was a work injury that got me into conservation actually. I was a brick layer for nearly 30 years, then I was going to buy a pub and hurt my back lifting kegs!
I was off for a year or more with needles and stuff like that, but no operation— thank God. I wasn’t going to go back to laying bricks, so I retrained at Orange TAFE down Forest Road. I did a Cert III in Horticulture and then one of the teachers asked if I would join his class in growing Australian natives.
He said, ‘Give it a go. I know you're pretty passionate about natives and you are pretty good on the Latin’ So I stayed another three years and got my Diploma of Conservation Land Management.
I joined Australian Conservation Volunteers close on 15 years ago and I ran programs with school kids, took backpackers to the mountains for bushwalks, doing regeneration work — so it just progressed from there.
One day the boss asked if I wanted to have a crack at the community engagement work and it clicked straight away — me and the community!
Habitat Connect was born three years ago and I’m now the community environmental engagement officer for Bathurst and Orange Councils.
I like working with the volunteers that turn up on Sundays, just because they want to do it! And I love revegetating the country as well. In the last 230 years we've pillaged this joint, cut down forests, grown crops, taken all the galleries of casuarinas off the riverbanks, we've caused massive erosion and silting of our creeks and rivers, so I’d love to see more revegetation work!