Jake Cassar (born 18th September 1975) is an Australian conservationist, bushfood teacher / trainer, reconciliation activist and singer song writer. Cassar is widely credited for the Land and Environment Court ruling against a proposal to build homes on Bambara Reserve at Kariong, Central Coast, New South Wales. Cassar entered politics in July 2010, standing as an Independent for the seat of Robertson, representing strong community based values, including sustainable living, nature conservation, and the cultivation of a healthy youth culture.
Cassar's first brush with fame was in 2003 as a finalist in Australian Idol. He is best known however, as a passionate conservationist, teaching education of native plants and their dietary and medicinal uses.
Born in Manly, Australia to an Australian mother, and Egyptian father, Cassar moved to the central coast at a young age. He was educated at Woy Woy South primary school and Umina, before completing secondary education Kincumber high school. More at home in the bush than a class room, Cassar became close friends with an indigenous family of the Nunawal people. It is through the Nunawal that Cassar learned the indigenous names of plants and uses, and was inspired to develop this knowledge further. Cassar finished his schooling in 1992 before going into work in security, whilst developing his skills as a singer and songwriter, offering Mentoring and music therapy to handicapped adults.
Cassar worked in security and crowd control for 7 years on the Central Coast during which time he was attacked with knives, shot at and sustained numerous injuries. Moved by the level of violence in his Gosford hometown, Cassar became a city patrol security officer, dealing with street violence and participating in successfully reducing the incidence of violence, street crime and vandalism.
To escape the violence Cassar would retreat to the bush, where he continued to teach himself botany and survival skills. Meanwhile his reputation as a singer-song writer grew and he left the security business to pursue a career in music. In 2003 Cassar made the top 50 on Australian idol, attracting interest for his beautiful voice, rugged good looks, and quintessentially Australian vernacular.
The same year, Cassar moved to a property in West Gosford and successfully lived off the land for several months, earning a reputation as a genuine bush tucker man. Despite no formal training, in 2004 Cassar was appointed Senior Ranger over 500 other applicants at the Calga Springs Sanctuary where he worked for the subsequent 4 years. There, Cassar worked side by side with Barry Cohen former Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Environment, developing a park and sharing knowledge of bush tucker. In 2005 Cassar began running bushtucker seminars and workshops at festivals and special events teaching thousands of people the eating and medicinal properties of native plants and the importance of environmental preservation.
Inspired by Environmental activist Tim Flannery, and in gratitude to the Indigenous people of Australia, in 2007 Cassar wrote the self published document, Widji Widji a book about native Australian plants, their uses as well as his personal experiences.
In 2009 Cassar produced his first DVD documentary, Bush tucker and the mystery of the Kariong Hieroglyphs.
Currently, Cassar is a highly visible conservation activist in the Gosford area, running for the seat of Robertson, NSW as an independent.