in the nature

‘Why do I climb the mountain?’

We sometimes have family members asking about making gifts to the TLC in memory of a loved one. Spencer Woolley was in touch earlier this year after his dad died, wanting to direct gifts in lieu of flowers to the Tinderbox campaign. After the funeral, we received some stories written by Spencer’s late father, Ronald Gordon Woolley, and a poem, ‘Why?’.

Ron wrote:

I lived, hunted and fished in the bush in my early years but never bushwalked for walking’s sake until my middle thirties when I had a mill in the Denison valley at the start of the Lake Skinner walking track. Having just bought a camera, I was keen to try it out so I went for a walk to Lake Skinner. This was the first of over two hundred trips to all parts of the Snowy Range, naming Woolley’s Tarn at the foot of Wet Pants Peak.

Walking developed a keen interest in native plants, which I enjoyed photographing. I could identify by their botanical name, almost all of the plants I saw on my walking trips. Over forty years I walked in areas all over the state until ill health made it impossible for me to continue. I particularly appreciated the Port Davey and South Coast areas and made several camping trips to the far south. Other places I particularly enjoyed were the western Arthurs, Mount Bobs, Cradle Mountain, Mount Field, Frenchman’s Cap and the Walls of Jerusalem to name a few. Over the years, I introduced many new comers to the joys of our natural world. I also cut a number of walking tracks to various waterfalls, Lake Skinner and Woolley’s Tarn.

Spencer, describing his dad, said, “Saw miller, tree feller, groundsman, bushwalker, photographer, gardener, amateur botanist, cricketer, conservationist, administrator. Hard working, brave, intelligent, skilful, kind, sensitive, patient, resilient, stoic ….so many adjectives to describe him. But to we siblings, Dad will always be a ‘legend’ for the values we gained from him, the experiences he created for us, the sacrifices he made for us and the love he shared with us.”

We have republished Ron’s poem below. People have such important connections with nature and it’s a real privilege to have personal reflections like these shared with us.

If you would like to know more about leaving a gift to the TLC, please visit our bequests page.

Sophie Marshall, Planned Giving Coordinator


By Ron G Woolley

why do I climb the mountain

with its misty dreaming peaks

why do I roam the forest

with its moss and ferns and creeks

why do I walk the beaches

of the lonely south coast’s shore

why climb the craggy headlands

what am I looking for?


why look for springtime flowers

on every walk I take

why do they grow so brightly

on mountains and by lake

why do I walk the bushland

in summer’s blazing heat

why do I make the effort

on aching legs and feet

why seek the tangled fagus

on a hillside shining gold

why do the leaves of autumn fall

perhaps they fear the cold

why feel the peace and solitude

of a frozen winter’s day

why go back and back again

why can’t I stay away?


why sit on a misty ridge top

as another day is born

and hear the bush birds’ chorus

to the coming of the dawn

why climb the rugged mountain

and strive to reach the top

why do I keep on going

when I would rather stop

why sit and watch a sunset

on a darkening southern sea

why watch a day that’s dying

what is it telling me?


why do I love the mountains

perhaps this is why I go

to see a mystic shadow

on a sunlit bank of snow

why stop and sit and wonder

at an eagle soaring high

and hear the voice of the lonely wind

softly asking why?

Author Profile
Sophie Marshall
Planned Giving Coordinator

A native of northern Tasmania, Soph spent a few years on the mainland and travelling the world before returning to her island home. She has always felt most inspired and whole when she’s near mountains and rivers: she is passionate about connecting people to nature, and fascinated by the relationship between mental health, sense of self and time spent in nature. Soph has worked in several roles at the TLC and is now overseeing the Natural Guardians program for bequests in wills.