Update: A Memorial Service honouring the life of the tireless conservationist, John Dorman, is to be held at 11am on March 30th at the Bundanoon Club, Erith St, NSW 2578. RSVP: For catering purposes, if you plan to attend, please text name and number of people, to 0439 847 711
Tony Hill, NPA Southern Highlands Branch
Herbert Clifford (John) Dorman died peacefully on the 5th December 2018 in the presence of his wife, Rona, and members of his family, at the end of a long and full life as a husband, father, friend, social worker and environmental activist, among other activities.
Born in Concord, he went to Hurlstone Agricultural College, studied chemistry on leaving school then switched to child welfare where he remained for the rest of his working life (p.p. interview with Myf Thompson 2001). He and Rona settled in Teralba after being transferred to Newcastle.
He became aware of the NPA when there was community outrage about exploiting the timber in the upper Barrington region in the late 1950’s.
In 1960 Allen Strom visited Newcastle, resulting in the Flora and Fauna Protection Society being formed and John became a passionate supporter and president. John and Rona became aware of the need to protect the wonderful natural areas in the region from overdevelopment and poor planning. Through local issues John was invited to attend NPA State Council meetings and was elected to the State Council and became an NPA member. At that time the NPA was negotiating with the NSW Askin Government (1965 to 1975) and Lands Minister Tom Lewis who had made the far-sighted proposal that important natural areas should be protected in a system of national parks, and that there should be an agency created to manage them. As president of both the Hunter-Manning Branch of the NPA and the Flora and Fauna Society John worked hard to define which areas in the Newcastle and Hunter regions should be included.
He became president of NPA NSW from 1972 to 1978, when the NPA was redefining its role after the creation of the NPWS, and branches were establishing their areas. John’s acumen and diplomatic skills were tested.
He considered himself fortunate to have Rona as his wife. She found the time and space to support him as well as pursuing her own interests of spinning and weaving; at the same time they raised 3 boys. They moved from Teralba to Bundanoon in 1995 to be closer to the family and for the cooler climate. They became well known and respected in the Bundanoon community for their varied interests. John continued his NPA activities as president and vice president of the Southern Highlands Branch as well as contributing his wisdom and experience to State Council for as long as he was able.
John made an enormous contribution to NPA NSW over a long period of time. He had strong opinions, thought strategically, and had the will and skills to act decisively in the interests of the natural environment and the NPA.
He is survived by Rona, Martin, Bill and Paul, their partners and grandchildren.
In a gesture typical of John, he donated his body to science so there was no funeral. A memorial service will be held in Bundanoon at a date to be announced.