A memorial for Les Southwell

Bunches of flowers and a hand written letter farewelling Les were strewn across the mountain indicator plaque on Red Knoll Lookout, albeit with rocks to prevent the strong winds blowing them away. 20170930_104724.jpg

20170930_104655.jpgWho was Les, we wondered. He must have been a bushwalker and died somewhere nearby, we decided.  The truth, discovered since returning home, is so much more interesting.

A friend informed me Les Southwell was “an avid bushwalker, photographer and lover of the South West, and passionate about the no-dams campaign. His book, “The Mountains of Paradise” is a classic. He died in mid-September 2017 while bushwalking in Victoria.”  So I pursued his lead to a news story in the Mercury newspaper “Fond farewell to Lake Pedder and Franklin River campaigner Les Southwell after his death in Victorian alps at age 88”). Les was found sitting outside his tent while camping: obviously he died doing what he loved. Lucky man.

I discovered Les was a staunch supporter of retaining the original Lake Pedder and not having the landscape flooded.  Now I understood the reason for the flowers and the letter being left in this location.  His death obviously remains fresh in minds and he is missed.

Further information can be read in The Advocate newspaper.

The Friends of Lake Pedder website includes a photo of the cover of Les Southwell’s book The Mountains of Paradise: The Wilderness of South West Tasmania.  An image of the sandy beach of the original Lake Pedder is even more glorious for the stillness of the Lake and the reflections on its surface.

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