Rob Gulley & Brenda Conochie
After a Victorian farming childhood followed by trade training, building and renovating, Rob moved West, did a Psychology degree and became a youth worker. I’d worked mostly as a teacher, primary and TAFE Adult Literacy and Numeracy. and raised two daughters.
Rob and I met in 1999 in the Perth chapter of the Jabiluka Action Group – a successful campaign to block a second uranium mine on the edge of Kakadu National Park. We spent our courtship on anti-nuclear stalls and ferrying props like a huge 3-eyed fish and 44 gallon drums of ‘rad. waste’ to rallies and sit-ins to fight off the proposed Pangea international nuclear waste dump, another successful campaign! (After 50,000 petition signatures and lots of rallies, then-Premier Richard Court saw this Consortium off.)
In 2000, with our friend Rachael Roberts, we founded a community association + EcoShop in Maylands. We called it Environment House. Rob started running a big worm farm and compost bins out the back, taking the food waste from local shops. He started teaching compost and worm farming and I did a bokashi segment in our workshops we called Foodscraps to Fertiliser: 3 methods in 2 hours.
Rob trained for and delivered energy and water-saving workshops and home visits and, through Green Skills, helped to train dozens of others to do this work. He’s now done 1000+ home EcoAudits mostly funded by metro Councils, Lotterywest and Synergy plus a few hundred workshops, including composting.
In 2001 we held a public meeting on Climate Change at Mt Hawthorn Civic Centre, which was well-attended. We had a display there on how rising seas were affecting the Maldive Islands.
Environment House moved to Bayswater in 2009 and is still going strong, with a well-stocked EcoShop and delightful gardens, next to the beautiful Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary on the banks of the Swan. Well worth a visit!
In 2014, Rob and I moved down south to a shared rural community. Rob helps with our community’s own water scheme, finding leaks etc, and is an in-demand handyman. He heads to Perth to do workshops and EcoAuditing (thru local governments) for a week at a time, under the business name Green Services WA. I do the admin for this work, like nudging our EcoAuditees for a year’s worth of billing data before the Auditor’s visit or Zoom session. The vegie garden is the perfect antidote to desk work. So much to learn! So much to eat!
For some of our contract work, we harness the EcoAuditing skills and experience of Ross Porter and Alan Benn, dedicated EcoAuditors we have worked with over many years..