Brushing with death opens the door for the biker to become the protector of a rare butterfly


Greg Flint was riding his motorbike home from work in Darwin on Friday, November 13, 2009.

He was a successful project manager who had traveled Australia and the world with his work.

“I don’t even remember coming home because it was such a routine day,” he said.

His BMW R100 Paris Dakar had given him so much freedom and reliability, but offered little protection against Friday the 13th stroke of luck.

A car suddenly turned and Greg T boned it.

The mechanical engineer woke up more than a month later in hospital, 2,500 miles away, in his hometown of Perth.

He had an open book pelvic fracture and serious head injuries.

There was a hole cut in his skull to relieve the pressure.

Greg had to relearn how to walk and talk for several months thereafter.

The intersection of two streets in Darwin, with a silver car in the foreground and a white one driving in the opposite direction
It was at the intersection of Daly and Woods streets in Darwin that Greg Flint’s life changed on Friday, November 13, 2009.(

ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne


The hands of slow time

Greg has gone from a busy professional and personal life to many free hours.

“I had the chance to reflect,” he said.

As his life had just changed, he was also able to begin to control his destiny.

His thoughts led him to how humanity had changed since the middle of the last century.

“This is when the population, emissions, manufacturing and production started to increase exponentially,” he said.

So Greg stopped activities “that involve blowing smoke.”

Man in pink floral shirt sitting in garage giving a thumbs up with lots of solar and electric equipment behind him
Greg Flint will never recoup the cost of his massive solar installation, but he’s happy to be running the grid overnight.(

ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne

Two wheelie bins, one with a red lid, the other with a yellow lid.  Both are covered with eco-friendly style stickers
Greg Flint is not afraid to show his love of the environment to passers-by.(

ABC Radio Darwin: Conor Byrne


He’s cut back on theft, his car is being converted to electric, the roof of his house in Anula is covered in solar panels while batteries and inverters dominate his garage.

“I am a net sink of carbon dioxide,” he said.

“Please keep your cat out of my trap”

A large butterfly perched on the fingers of an outstretched human hand.  Its left wing is the same length as the fingers.
Research on the atlas butterfly has led Greg Flint on a whole new path.(

Flickr: Resenter1


Greg is now 51 and connected with nature, inspired by learning about the fate of the rare atlas butterfly, Atlas of Attacus.

The giant butterfly and its habitat have all but disappeared from Darwin since Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

“I started to get involved with the Landcare group to [re-establish] this habitat, ”he said.

“It looks promising that the butterfly is about to return to live in Darwin.”

Greg walks 6 kilometers to volunteer with the Casuarina Coastal Reserve Landcare Group, where he primarily helps weed, replant and water the habitat with the goal of recreating a monsoon rainforest.

And, after the wildlife dwindled in his yard, he took control.

“For a while I wondered why, until I saw a cat running around the garden with a lizard coming out of its mouth,” he said.

“If you kindly ask people to ‘Please keep your cat out of my trap’ they seem to respond a little better.”

He also maintains a native fruit garden where he grows grass and encourages wildlife.

“I notice a lot more activity at night,” he said.

And the reward came one afternoon when he saw a prairie melomys nibbling.

The scenic, low, rocky cliffs of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve reflect the sunset at high tide
Greg Flint is one of the Landcare volunteers who works on rehabilitation projects in the Casuarina Coastal Reserve.(

Flickr: Geoff Whalan


Cruel irony

A DVD cover showing polaroid photos and the film title, Memento
Ironically, Greg Flint’s life has become similar to that of one of his favorite films, Memento.(

Ebay: lee5934


One of Greg’s favorite films is Christopher Nolan’s Memento, a 2000 film where the main character can’t form new memories and has short-term memory loss.

“It reminds me of myself. I have to leave little notes on things,” he said.

“In project management, you have to be organized so that everything moves.

“At work, it frustrated me that people trust their memory so much.

“And they never seem to be so bothered when they forget things.

“Fortunately, I already had this habit before all of this happened.

A big motorbike on its stand near a foggy beach
A BMW R100 Paris Dakar motorcycle similar to the one Greg rode until his accident.(

Flikr: Jarjan Fisher


The risks of driving

When asked if riding motorcycles is inherently dangerous, Greg was philosophical.

“Most people in Australia sit in a steel box when they move around,” he said.

“When they collide. They are not seriously injured.

“Anyone who is not in a steel box is affected.

“And the general level of conduct [skills] in WA and NT is quite low because there are relatively few cars on the roads. “

The driver at fault pleaded guilty to driving without diligence and was fined $ 300, plus a victim charge of $ 40 and costs of $ 184.

“I don’t think he intended to do it. It was an accident.”


About Todd Wurtsbach

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