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In 2003, David Hope and his family purchased a bush block at Googa Creek, outside of the town of Blackbutt in Queensland’s South Burnett Region. In 2014, after years of visiting the property on weekends and holidays, making improvements when they could, the family decided to move to the property permanently. Shortly thereafter, Dave joined the team at Ironbark as Gardens & Grounds Officer helping to care for the gardens, assist with farm duties and maintain equipment.

‘I enjoy working outdoors and saw an ad for the position at Ironbark after moving to our farm,’ Dave explained. ‘I had been striving to have a more rewarding work/life balance for many years and have found it.’

Dave, who is responsible for the planning, planting, irrigation, mulching, fertilising, weeding and harvesting of Ironbark’s vegetable gardens, is passionate about sustainable practices. His hobby farm, where he grows his own vegetables and raises sheep, goats and chickens, is off the grid thanks to a stand-alone solar energy system Dave designed himself.

‘I am a very hands-on person who enjoys challenges and thinking outside the box,’ Dave explained. ‘I enjoy sharing this way of life with students and hope to encourage them through my passion for living a more community-connected and holistic lifestyle.’

In recognition of his dedication to educating students about environmental practices, Dave was awarded a St Peters Head of College Award in June.

When he’s not teaching students about the fundamentals of sustainable living or managing his own property, Dave enjoys bush walking, water sports, motorbike riding and building using recycled materials. He hopes his enthusiasm for green living can inspire students to follow their own passions with tenacity.

‘Study all you can about your passion,’ Dave advises. ‘Keep pursuing it, always keep learning and always strive to achieve your goals.’