Australia Day Awardees Sharman and Geoff Darnell

Sharman and Geoff Darnell, Heather McLeod and Charlie and Lilla Arnott.
Sharman and Geoff Darnell, Heather McLeod and Charlie and Lilla Arnott.
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Sharman and Geoff Darnell were recognised for their outstanding leadership in land revegetation and ongoing support of community Landcare activities at the 2019 Boorowa Australia Day awards held on 26 January.

Geoff and Sharman Darnell lived in Sydney while their family grew up, however in 2003 they bought Murloona on Rye Park Road and commenced their tree change to this region. They started as weekend farmers however they made the full time move to their property in 2007.

When they moved to Murloona their focus was on the land and their livestock. Until recently, they lived in the old, drafty, leaky house on the property. Now, due to their persistence and determination they have built a new home, building each mud brick as they went by digging out dams to source the mud. They have a true can-do attitude. Sharman and Geoff’s land-based work includes several revegetation projects which were either self-managed projects or partnering with Greening Australia or Boorowa Community Landcare. These projects have included riparian works to fence out the Pudman Creek which is providing a protective environment for the endangered Pygmy Perch. Other projects include a whole of paddock revegetation project to help re-establish Box Gum Grassy woodland. Erosion works including dams, gully rehabilitation and vegetation planting in catchments have also been undertaken.

Tree lanes have also been established to provide habitat, livestock shelter and to mitigate the effects of dryland salinity. They are currently planting new vegetation to provide food and shelter for the endangered Superb Parrot.

Sharman and Geoff have hosted many field days at Murloona. These include the provision of demonstrations of the ‘Rotenator’ for feral rabbit control, direct seeding demonstrations, paddock walks to look at revegetation projects and bird walks. 

Sharman regularly provides delicious home-made food for Landcare events and they have made their shearing shed available for several Landcare events which include the hosting of the North Sydney Bushcare Group and Landcare workshops.

Sharman and Geoff have been active members of the BCLG committee from 2009 where Geoff was the Vice Chair. Sharman is a current member of the BCLG Committee. Geoff and Sharman have been heavily involved in the organisation and running of the Building Bridges to Boorowa project. This included hosting the ‘Thank you’ dinner at ‘Murloona’ in 2013 and providing ongoing support for landholders and volunteers at the planting sites. They provided similar assistance for the Tsu Chi Foundations annual tree planting visits over a 5 year period.

They are always present at the Landcare tent at the Boorowa Show and they were key drivers of the current BCLG’s Strategic Plan. Sharman also has green thumbs and has a large vegetable garden and grows and sells Iris’s at regional markets. Sharman and Geoff are an enthusiastic and a wonderful example of how ‘tree changers’ can contribute to the local community.

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