Ray Johnson is best known around the Bundaberg Region for his knowledge of rare fruits, native plants, and his passion in establishing the Gin Gin Landcare Nursery and Bush Food Garden.
In 2014, Ray was awarded Bundaberg Regional Council's Green Spirit Award for his community involvement and love of the environment.
“It makes it all the more rewarding when visitors come to the nursery and comment on how much they enjoy the experience, the friendly staff and an interesting lot of native plants,” he said.
Ray's profile has been featured as part of the Bundaberg Regional Council project called Our People Our Stories which aims to celebrate residents within the local community.
Born in Kogarah, Sydney in 1944, Ray completed his early education but at 15 was ready to go bush and leave the learning side of things to a later date.
His love was in the natural world and town life was not for him.
Over the next 11 years Ray worked around the country as a sheep shearer, cattle worker, timber cutter or anything else to bring in a dollar.
At 26 Ray became curious about the world beyond what he had seen so far, so for the next three and a half years he travelled Europe, Canada, New Zealand, USA and parts of Asia.
During his travels Ray took an interest in his Christian background and at one time spent four years studying theology in America.
It was here he met his wife-to-be and together they returned to Australia to spend the next 12 years establishing a place of worship.
As situations changed Ray and his wife Marsha then went on to spend the next eight years travelling and working their way around Australia.
A four-wheel-drive and an old caravan took them on an adventure of a lifetime.
Finally, becoming weary of the traveling life in 2004, they looked for a place to settle and Gin Gin was chosen as their final destination.
“Life has been good!” Ray exclaimed.
The couple have two children, seven grandchildren and love the place they now call home.
Marsha enjoys her art, while Ray, just like in the beginning, still has a love affair with the great outdoors and a passion for the environment.
If you want to catch up with Ray, he is never far from the Gin Gin Landcare Nursery, so head on over and have a chat.