Vale Nature Champions

Vale Dr Graeme Worboys AM

We note with sadness the recent passing of Dr Graeme Worboys AM.  Graeme’s extraordinary career reached the most senior levels in the National Parks and Wildlife before moving into academic and advocacy roles that saw him become an internationally acclaimed expert in protected area management.  His publications have influenced conservation management on the international stage, while this year’s “Kosciusko- A great national park” stands as testimony to his knowledge and passion for the Australian Alps.  A giant of conservation and friend to NPA who will be sorely missed.  

The following tribute from the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas expresses how we at NPA feel about this wonderful champion of the environment. It was written by Kathy MacKinnon, Penelope Figgis & Trevor Sandwith, and first published 30 September, 2020.

Graeme epitomised the nature of those who are committed to conservation, and to serving the cause of conservation as a selfless volunteer.  A career protected area manager, he stayed the course, working as a ranger, superintendent and senior manager in protected area authorities in Australia, and contributing to the science of governance and management of protected areas internationally through his contributions to the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. He had an abiding interest in mountains and connectivity conservation and mobilised resources and people to study and develop guidance on these topics, notably through some engaging meetings in Ecuador, Nepal and other workshops which many had the pleasure of attending.  He also contributed his skill and expertise to the evaluation of prospective World Heritage Sites.

He was awarded the IUCN WCPA’s Fred Packard Award for outstanding service at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi in 2016, which carried the citation:

“In recognition of Dr Graeme Worboys, for outstanding dedication to the vision and mission of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. As Vice Chair for the Mountains and Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group of WCPA, Graeme has been an outstanding champion of the importance of connectivity for conservation across landscapes globally. With enormous drive and dedication, he has consistently built a body of knowledge and advice to promote connectivity conservation initiatives around the world, and in the process, has developed a suite of publications and a committed cadre of protected area professionals to carry out this work.”

Graeme was a remarkable man, a ‘doer’ who not only campaigned constantly to strengthen management in Australia’s protected areas, and especially his beloved Kosciuszko National Park but also responded to the need to build expertise for conservation management more generally, through his prodigious efforts to publish guidance for protected area management. He recognised the need to develop freely-available learning resources for this global community, and through his quiet persistence and determination, motivated hundreds of professionals to contribute voluntarily towards the “state of the art” publication Protected Area Governance and Management, launched at the World Parks Congress in 2014. The Protected Area Governance and Management Book has since been translated in its entirety into Spanish and French and is available to protected area managers and students worldwide at: Through this and other major publications on Connectivity Conservation, Graeme has left a lasting legacy that continues to make a significant contribution towards the education and professionalization of protected area governance and management.

Despite the medical demands of the last few years Graeme continued to write, teach and mentor colleagues and students through his work with WCPA specialist groups and Australian universities. Another major triumph was his publication of the long and unflinching story of the creation of Australia’s iconic Kosciuszko National Park, a legacy document for all the conservationists and professional park managers whose work and commitment has continued through many trials to protect Kosciuszko.  He also campaigned tirelessly in the highly contentious and political battle to remove feral horses from Kosciuszko and to ward off other threats to its integrity over tourism development, serious fire damage and the building of a vast new Snowy 2 hydro project. 

In a fitting acknowledgement of his service, on Australia Day 2020 ,this fine life of contribution was acknowledged by his nation. Graeme and his family were delighted and moved when Graeme was awarded the high honour of being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).  COVID delayed the ceremony at government house in Canberra but fortunately Graeme was able to receive the honour in person just a few weeks ago. 

‘WCPA will remember and honour Graeme as a dedicated and passionate conservationist, inspiring champion, mentor and teacher, always willing to share his knowledge and expertise to promote protected areas. He epitomised all that is best in a volunteer network like WCPA – we have lost a very good friend’’, reflects Dr Kathy MacKinnon, Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

In the many tributes which have come from all around the world, colleagues and friends have remembered Graeme as gentle unassuming, and always polite, but those who know him well also reflect on his driving commitment and motivation, undeterred and unflinching to achieve the outcomes in which he so passionately believed. Our thoughts go out to his family Bev, Patty and Andrew and their families and the grandchildren in whom he delighted.

Visit the IUCN website for the full tribute.

Vale Stewart Eiseman

Stewart Eiseman passed away aged 95 on September 7, after an interesting, varied and a life that was never boring.

It was in April 1974 that Stewart Eiseman was elected as the first ever president of the Tamworth Branch of the National Parks Association. With that place in our history, Stewart will be fondly remembered.

Stewart passed away aged 95 on September 7, after an interesting, varied and never dull life.

Born in Armadale, Melbourne in 1925, he joined The Argus newspaper after he left school. He joined the RAAF after turning 18 and served as a wireless operator and air gunner. His training and service postings included Sydney, Parkes, Ballarat, East Gippsland and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

After the war, he married Eunice, settled in New Zealand, and worked for a newspaper. He moved back to Australia with his family 1954 and settled in Armidale where he worked at the Northern Daily Leader.

Following the sale of the Tamworth newspaper to the Murdoch organisation in the middle of 1970’s, Stewart’s career took another new course.

He decided to pursue a life in the church of England in Australia, something he had considered taking up during the years after WWII. Following training in Brisbane was based in various towns across Australia until retiring in Albury in 1990.

This is an abbreviated version of the Obituary appearing in the Northern Daily Leader 15th September, 2020.

Vale Lachlan Garland

First published Blue Mountains Gazette, 9 October 2020. Authored by Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

The Blue Mountains community is mourning the recent passing of well known local environmental advocate Lachlan Garland. Lachlan was a passionate, committed and hardworking volunteer dedicated to defending and conserving the beautiful Blue Mountains environment, as well as actively campaigning on national environmental issues.

A very experienced and highly-skilled bush regenerator, Lachlan’s involvement in Bushcare was his great love, working on the ground in bushland areas with fellow volunteers. Over the years, Lachlan had been a member of numerous Bushcare/Landcare groups up and down the Mountains including Summerhayes Park, Braeside, Valley of the Waters, Everglades, Central Park, Charles Darwin Walk, Coates Park and Marmion Swamp.

Lachlan was a founding member and co-ordinator of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group. He worked closely with Blue Mountains City Council to remediate and improve bushland areas in the catchment, with education being a major focus of his work including the hugely successful Waterways Festival at Wentworth Falls Lake in 2019. Appropriately, Lachlan’s outstanding long-term commitment to Bushcare was recognised in 2019 with him being awarded Council’s Bushcare Legend Award. Lachlan was appointed by the NSW Environment Minister to National Parks Blue Mountains Regional Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2016. During this time Lachlan contributed to plans of management for various national parks in the region, worked closely with the World Heritage Advisory Committee and provided considered advice on visitor management, fire management, weed and pest strategies and threatened species management. He was a focussed and committed community member on the Committee and worked hard to protect the conservation values of our local National Parks. 

Lachlan was also a long standing member of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and held various roles on the Society’s Management Committee, notably President (2011, 2012 and 2019), Membership Secretary and National Parks Officer, as well as being an active member of the Land-Use sub-Committee. During this time, he worked valiantly to protect Radiata Plateau and the recent purchase of the Plateau and its inclusion within the national park system is testament to his efforts. Whether it was arranging events, writing submissions to Council over inappropriate development, doing site inspections of illegal clearing, leading the charge at rallies opposing hunting in National Parks or eloquently speaking at events opposing the raising of Warragamba Dam wall, Lachlan was always there, willing and able, advocating for the bush he loved. 

Lachlan was a member of the Blue Mountains Bird Observers, creating the position of Conservation Officer and actively working to protect local bird populations. He was also an active volunteer firefighter with the Valley Heights RFS Brigade for ten years, where he participated in ongoing training, maintenance of equipment and fundraising.

In 2020, Lachlan was honoured with a Seniors’ Week Recognition Award for all his environmental and community work.

To many who knew him Lachlan is remembered for his sense of humour, wicked grin, loyalty and commitment to his family and friends. He was highly organised and meticulous, an avid reader particularly of environmental publications and books and highly respected for his knowledge and experience. Lachlan could be blunt and forthright, but he will be remembered as a man who put his thought and passions into action in protecting the environment he loved. Lachlan will be sadly missed by his family and friends and the many people who have worked and volunteered with him. Lachlan leaves an environmental legacy that will long be remembered.

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