Terry had always loved the outdoor life being a keen walker, mountain climber, sailor, canoeist, caver, and Outward Bound instructor. Terry and Ann married in 1969 and came to Adelaide as ‘Ten Pound Poms’. Ann described Terry as looking towards the Adelaide Hills on their arrival and knowing where he would be headed.
They found work, settled in Salisbury and later had a son, Antony. Terry moved from the National Fitness Council to various State Government Departments over the years.
Initially, he developed the network of walking trails in the Adelaide Hills. In 1978, he became the main designer for the Heysen walking trail and oversaw its construction until it was completed in 1992.
Terry travelled overseas on his Churchill Fellowship in 1991 to examine multi-use recreational trails.
From his report, Terry had over 50 meetings or visits in Canada, USA and UK. Many of these took hours as he walked the actual trails.
On return, there was further development of the Mawson and Riesling cycling trails and advisory input for the Tom Roberts Horse Trail.
Terry’s work on recreation was recognised when he was made an OAM in the Australia Day Honours in 1994. In 1998, it was decided that it was feasible to build the Federation Trail from Murray Bridge to Clare. The trail was renamed the ‘Lavender Federation Trail’ in 2004 in honour of Terry. Today, Terry’s vision continues with the construction of the longest trail designed, built and maintained entirely by volunteers in this country.
In April 2016, a milestone in trails in South Australia occurred when both the Heysen and Lavender Federation Trails joined at Webb Gap. On completion, one of Australia’s longest trail networks (of over 1700 km) will be available to walk. Terry is remembered as comfortably at home in his Akubra hat and bush clothes. He was legendary for his yarn telling, knowledge of the bush and the history of the area. These skills together with a sense of humour, drive, persistence and determination achieved the agreement for the Heysen Trail across government departments and private land owners.
This is clearly evident in his book The Last Post...or how to build the Heysen Trail in 400 years or less. He also co-authored Strolling South Australia and two volumes of The Heysen Trail: A Walker’s Guide. His books and maps are the bible for walkers tackling the trail.
Terry Lavender (and his family) have left a lasting legacy in South Australia that will never be forgotten. For further information visit www.lavenderfederationtrail.org.au
Awards and Honours
- 1994 awarded Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community through the development of walking trails, particularly the Heysen Trail.