Citizen Science, On-ground

Volunteering in your 10th decade

Gösta Lyngå has spent 30 of his 91 years caring for Cooleman Ridge and still heads out there every week.

Volunteer with: Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group

Contributed by: Linda Spinaze, Convenor Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group

Gösta was born in Malmo, Sweden in 1930. He studied astronomy and came to Australia in 1961, where he promptly fell in love and married an Australian girl named Pauline. 

They travelled back to Sweden via a car from South India and started their family. Returning to Canberra in 1966 he worked at Mt Stromlo, but soon returned to Sweden where he became a Green Party member of the Swedish Parliament. In 1991, he and Pauline brought their family of three back to Canberra and settled in Duffy.

They both joined Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group in 1991, when it was first started by Bess Sledge. He and Pauline regularly weeded their patches near Kathner St Dam, and both held executive positions on the committee.

Photo: Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group

During their time with Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group they have:

  • designed and executed the nature trail brochure and track, which included a fine pencil outline of the Brindabellas as seen from Cooleman Ridge drawn by Gösta;
  • organised and volunteered many hours completing the exhaustive tree survey;
  • designed the path up to Cooleman Ridge from the bridge;
  • created and placed duck-platforms in the two dams;
  • identified and recorded much of the flora on Cooleman Ridge; and
  • cared for many of the documents created by CRPCG, which were unfortunately destroyed by the 2003 fires when their house was burnt to the ground.
Photo: Cooleman Ridge ParkCare Group

Pauline’s death in 2011 did not deter Gösta from his valuable contribution to the Ridge. He continues to ride his bike (his only form of transport) to weed every Friday in his patch at Kathner St, and to attend our monthly weeding parties. He reports that his patch no longer contains the common weeds that can infest our Ridge (St John’s Wort, Phalaris, Verbascum, Fleabane) and he enjoys nurturing the native Geraniums, Lomandra, Kangaroo Grass and Resurrection Ferns.  He even very carefully looked after a Blue Devil that appeared one year, but it has not made a re-appearance despite his hopes!