In memory of Dr Mary White

Mary White & skull at Falls Retreat

She always made Wyn and myself welcome at her Falls Forest Retreat, Johns River.

Mary White worked in Australia as a paleobotanist, but wrote across several disciplines. Over the past eight years the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre has been the venue for the annual Mary White Address, as part of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival (BRWF) since the inaugural festival in 2011 when Mary White gave her ‘Writing the Environment’ talk.

Mary White called herself a ‘proudly bacterial Gaian’ after writing the book she would rephrase it ‘and change pride to humility’  . . .  Here I am, my cellular endosymbionts performing their housekeeping duties within every individual bacterial cell of the 100 billion, of more than 200 different types, that contain my DNA; knowing what to do and when to do it; enabling the metabolism that keeps me alive; providing the neurons that enable me to think and begin to understand a little of the meaning of life.’ Earth Alive! 2003

Her best known books are The Greening of Gondwana, an account of how Australia became the driest vegetated continent; After the Greening, The Browning of Australia, concerning the increasing aridification; Listen … Our Land is Crying, which focused on the Australian environment and how its geological history together with European-style land use have caused so many problems.