The city of Melbourne was less than 120 years old when I came into the world. It was still in many ways a frontier town, and I now realise that its rawness had a big impact on me and my attitude to the environment. I grew up in the suburb of Sandringham, just 12 kilometres south-east of the city centre on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. It lay at the end of the train line, and in the 1950s and 1960s it was the ragged, outer fringe of the city, which is why my parents could afford to live there.

My earliest memories are of a natural wonderland: a frog leaping from the back of a toy truck. A hiding ...


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