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I spent the first 19 years of my life in the Catskill Mountains, near Woodstock, New York State. My band played ‘in Woodstock’ – not to be confused with ‘at Woodstock’. From the age of ten, I knew that Australia was my true home, and was determined to reach her shores early in my life. I’ve been here since 1970 and my youthful judgment goes unchallenged.
I arrived in Sydney, Australia, on a one-way ticket in 1970 with eighty cents in my pocket. I headed north to the Great Barrier Reef where I had dreams of building an underwater house. I studied marine biology at the Townsville campus of James Cook University.
Together with my wife, Susan, from Brooklyn, NY we developed a deep appreciation of the natural beauty, wealth, and wonders of the planet.
It was plans by the Queensland Premier of the day, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, that led us on our present path. Bjelke-Petersen wanted to drill for oil on the Great Barrier Reef and chop down Queensland’s rainforests for woodchips. Alan left university to work full time for the Cape York Conservation Council in an effort to save these national icons.
Millions of people within Australia and around the world fought to protect the reef and rainforest. “Thankfully”, says Susan, “We won.” And today, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are world heritage listed areas and promoted as, “Where the rainforest meets the reef”, and is probably one of the main reasons why you are or will be visiting this beautiful region.