SPA recognises the life of dr mary white

11 August 2018

Media Releases 2018

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) recognises the significant contribution to Australia of its Patron Dr Mary White who died aged 92 in a nursing home in Bundanoon NSW this week.


Dr White, a renowned palaeobotanist, had vascular dementia which ultimately left her bed-bound, unable to speak and mentally incapacitated.


SPA national president Sandra Kanck says Dr White had been a wonderful Patron since 2000 when she and four others succeeded poet and author Judith Wright, SPA’s first Patron.


“She was committed to the principal objective of SPA – to achieve an ecologically sustainable population for Australia. In her 1994 Eureka-prize winning book After the Greening: the Browning of Australia she noted that much of Australia’s soil is infertile, much of the land is arid, and its flora and fauna are specialised and fragile.


“Her 1997 book Listen … Our Land is Crying examined the degradation of land and water resources. These two books alone are enough to convince anyone that the human carrying capacity of this continent is limited,” says Ms Kanck.


Dr White hosted a successful regional conference for SPA in 2006 at her property Falls Forest Retreat at Johns River near Port Macquarie on the NSW mid-north coast. In 2009 she was awarded an Order of Australia after numerous other awards for her scientific work and books, including a Lifetime of Conservation award by the Australian Geographic Society in 2010.


Mary treasured the position of SPA Patron. In an e-mail to me her daughter Barbara observed that Mary “would have loved to be honoured and associated with SPA forever more”.


“Our hearts go out to her family at this extraordinarily difficult time, particularly her daughter Barbara who is apparently implicated in her mother’s death.”

For contact information, see attached PDF


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