Dave Dureau was the real deal. He cared about people, Country and heritage. He loved the Kimberley and made it his life’s mission to fight to protect it. A skilled, self-taught botanist, he relished helping out with plant surveys, always as a volunteer.

Dave inspired a love of plants, people loved to learn from him and he shared his knowledge and experience freely. It was nothing to travel up the Gibb River Road and have Dave stop the car, walk off into the bush and come back some time later with seeds, saying ‘This plant is only found here.’

He had a brilliant mind, but could take a while to make his point. If you had the patience to listen, you were greatly rewarded. He was incredibly kind, and complimented people profusely on good work. He also let you know if he wasn’t happy about something. He was brave, he wasn’t afraid to say things that other people wouldn’t, and he was a staunch advocate for justice.

His passion for the bush and work with others through the Broome Botanical Society and Environs Kimberley led to the first-ever listing of a Threatened Ecological Community in the Kimberley under Australian environmental law: the Monsoon Vine Thickets of the Dampier Peninsula. Dave was also instrumental in getting the Minyjuru vegetation community recognised and listed by the WA Government as a Priority 1 Ecological Community. The Society for Kimberley Plants and Animals (SKIPA) also benefited greatly from his encyclopaedic plant knowledge and great sense of humour.

Dave explaining the Monsoon Vine Thickets at Walamdany (James Price Point) to leader of the Australian Greens Bob Brown

Dave was an honorary life member of Environs Kimberley. He didn’t just talk about looking after Country and heritage, he went out and did it. He put his body on the line when the bulldozers came in to destroy the Malay divers’ quarters on Dampier Terrace in early 1999. He described this destruction as an act of bastardry and, despite being arrested, he managed to get the Minister of the day to put in a stop-work order, which arrived two hours after he was detained and too late to save the buildings.

On Black Tuesday, July 5th, 2011, Dave stood in front of the bulldozer and riot squad at Blacktank in defence of Walmadany and his beloved vine thickets. It was a beautiful moment when his son Andrew, who inherited his father’s passion for Country, defended him by making sure he didn’t get foul treatment from the cops.

Dave confronting machinery and riot squad with Andrew to protect James Price Point

We have lost one of the founding community members of the conservation movement in the Kimberley. A warrior for Country. We thank you Dave.

Martin Pritchard

Environs Kimberley

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