A passion for preservation

Feeling passionate about our planet since he was a boy, local hospitality icon Luke Tilse is in the business of making a difference to our environment as well as his community.

Luke Tilse is well known for his Hunter Street venue, The Happy Wombat, as one of the founders of the Newcastle Beer Fest and the operator of a hugely successful Apple Truck Cider. But he’s got other passion projects that are less well known.

Luke is as energetic and dynamic as it gets. He is constantly on the move and getting him to sit still even for a few minutes is no easy feat. There are always projects to be managed, phone calls to be made, guests to be welcomed or simply another pint to be poured.

While these facets of his life are distinctly public, when it comes to raising funds for his environmental passion projects, the father of three young boys keeps things a little more private.

Luke jokes “when I was a kid in primary school, watching too much Captain Planet, I wrote a story about somehow becoming rich so that I could buy a logging company, and then shut it down and retrain the loggers as poacher hunters. Somehow, that stuck with me and environmental protection has become my life passion.

“But I don’t want to preach. Everyone hates being preached at. I just want to do things that I can control and try and make a difference.”
Luke and his wife Lou had heard about the “religion model”, where a percentage of your income is given to the church, and they liked the concept. However, they replaced the church with charities and projects they deeply cared about.

Read more in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here. 

Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography courtesy of Luke Tilse