MS 9429

Records of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Head Office Melbourne



Scope and Content Note

Records

1960-90

68.88 metres (492 boxes)

Restricted until the end of 2015

The records of the Australian Conservation Foundation were acquired by the National Library from the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at the Australian National University in 1999.

The records of the Head Office of the Foundation, located in Melbourne, include the files on meetings of Council, the Executive Committee, the Administrative Committee, and the Annual General and Special General meetings extending back to the formation of the Foundation in 1964. Records cover the role of the Foundation and its policies, staffing matters and its State Offices.

The records also include Conference and Seminar files, and records concerning other bodies such as Federal and State Departments, political parties, other conservation organisations both in Australia and overseas, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund.

Themes covered by the records include mining, agriculture, education, forestry, the marine environment, tourism, supersonic transportation, soil conservation, uranium, the urban environment, woodchipping, wilderness areas and national parks.

There are files of various office holders and staff of the Foundation including the President, Councillors, the Executive Director, Campaign Director, the Information Officer, Research Officers, Project Officers and the Administrative Manager. This group of files includes working files, press cuttings and diaries.

The collection also includes the Annual reports of the Foundation, ACF monographs and serials, non-ACF serials, and video and audio material.

The National Library has retained the file arrangement created by the Noel Butlin Archives Centre.


Historical Note

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) began in the second half of 1964, after a suggestion was made by HRH Prince Phillip while visiting Australia in 1963. His idea, voiced to Sir Murray Tyrell (official secretary to the Governor General) was that Australia could become involved in conservation by establishing a branch of the World Wildlife Fund. A meeting was convened, assisted by Francis Ratcliffe of CSIRO, that consisted of biologists and interested conservationists. Upon studying the idea, the group came to the conclusion that if a conservation body was to exist, then its efforts should be directed at conserving its own heritage. From this the ACF emerged.

The Foundation had its inauguration meeting in August 1964. Made up of scientists and businessmen, they voted for the formation of the ACF. Sir Garfield Barwick became the first President, and Francis Ratcliffe the Honorary Director. The Constitution was developed by a Committee and drafted by Prof. J.E. Richardson. A year later it was ratified by postal vote.

In September 1965, the first Council Meeting was held in the Australian Academy of Science Building in Canberra, where the election of the Treasurer and Executive Committee took place. A part-time Executive Secretary, W.M.M. Deacock, was appointed in 1966. By September 1967, the ACF had become fully established and was incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Ordinance 1953 of ACT.

The first General Meeting was also held in September 1967 and this saw Dr Don McMichael appointed as the first full-time Director. He worked from an office at Macquarie University in Sydney, but left after serving twelve months. Dick Piesse replaced him and moved the office to Melbourne. At the time Dick Piesse was appointed his position, the staff consisted of Director, Assistant Director (Mosley), Publications Officer, Education Liaison Officer, support staff and a Scientific Secretary (Ratcliffe) in Canberra.

In 1968, the Commonwealth Government agreed to fund the ACF with $60,000 over a period of three years. Later, as membership grew rapidly, it announced a grant of $50,000 pa for the next five years. Along with these grants, the ACF itself launched membership drives and fund raisers in order to raise $360,000 over a five year period. This was successful and by 1970 there were 51 Benefactor Members and 45 National Sponsors.

The annual government grant increased in 1972 from $50,000 to $150,000 when the Duke of Edinburgh replaced Barwick as President. This increase allowed the ACF to advertise for the position of Executive Vice President which was filled by John Blanch. However, funding was about to drop dramatically in the 1970s when ACF started to take on a new direction. This change came with the election of a new Council in 1973 and the promotion of Mosley to Director over the heads of existing senior staff. The move caused a stir and some members of the ‘Old Council’ resigned as a result.

The ACF had begun very much like a ‘semi-scientific body’, but it was to take a more ‘radical’ turn at this point. It became more activist and in 1975 joined the Campaign Against Nuclear Power. The 1980s saw the ACF becoming more politically involved and talk of ‘Green Power’ and ‘Green Elections’ emerged when the Hawke Government came to office. There were attempts to form Green Coalitions between peace groups and conservationists.

Problems arose within the Council in the mid 1980s. There were factions within and rumours of a take-over by the Wilderness Society. As a result of this unrest, the Director Geoff Mosley was forced to resign and September 1986 saw Phillip Toyne take his place.

The structure of the ACF is made up of: Patron, President, Council Members and Staff Members. A Constitutional dispute though in 1975 led to the disuse of Patron.

The organisation is governed by the Council which is elected every two years by postal ballot. It is a 35 member body which then elects a President and four Vice Presidents. A Treasurer is also elected and, while they must be an ACF member, they do not have to be a Councillor. The President, Treasurer and seven Councillors make up the Executive Committee. Members may be organised into Branches.

Democracy is important within the ACF. Both elections for Council have been contested and amendments to the Constitution attempted. Members are often surveyed regarding input into the organisation, but there have also often been complaints about division within and outside influences having too much power.

Over the years, as the ACF changed from ‘cautious mainstream lobby group to a radical component of the Green Movement’,1 it became involved in a wider number of major political issues. These include: Lake Pedder, Franklin Dam, Kakadu National Park, Tasmanian Power Dam, Fraser Island and Ranger Uranium. Its aims have been to ‘further the code, philosophy and practice of conservation’, by looking at long term conservation policies. It is involved on a local, regional, state, national and international level. ACF commitment has remained unchanged, despite its swing of direction over the years, towards public education, research and ‘support for special conservation projects of national importance’2 .

Sources

‘Brief History of the Australian Conservation Foundation’, ACF Newsletter, No. 1, 26th April 1976.

Warhurst, John (1989) The Australian Conservation Foundation: Twenty Five Years of Development, Department of Politics, University of New England, Armidale.

1 Warhurst, John (1989) "The Australian Conservation Foundation: Twenty Five Years of Development" Department of Politics, University of New England, Armidale, p. 46.

2 Warhurst (1989), p. 50.


ACF Officer Bearers

Presidents  
1967–71 Sir Garfield Barwick
1971-76 HRH Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh
1977 Sir Mark Oliphant
1978–79 Dr H.C. Coombs
1980–84 Murray Wilcox
1985–89 Hon. J.H. Wootten
1990–94 Peter Garrett
1994-97 Prof. David Yencken
1998- Peter Garrett
Directors  
1968 Dr Donald F. McMichael
1969–73 R.D. Piesse
1974–86 J.G. Mosely
1986–92 Phillip Toyne
1992–95 Tricia Caswell
1995-97 James Downey
1997- Don Henry
Patrons  
1967–69 Lord Casey
1969–74 Sir Paul Hasluck
1975–77 Sir John Kerr

Box list

Box Folder/Item
   
1 1-10
2 11-17
3 18-19
4 20-21
5 22-33
6 34-40
7 41-47
8 48-52
9 53-64
10 65-84
11 85-87
12 88-108
13 109-124
14 125-130
15 131-132
16 133
17 134-138
18 139-153
19 154-193
20 194-226
21 227-245
22 246-265
23 266-280
24 281-282
25 283-284
26 285-286
27 287-288
28 289-291
29 292-295
30 296-297
31 298-299
32 300-301
33 302-305
34 306-314
35 315-317
36 318-326
37 327-340
38 341-352
39 353-359
40 360-373
41 374-387
42 388-394
43 395-409
Box Folder/Item
44 410-420
45 421-433
46 434-441
47 442-444
48 445-447
49 448-453
50 454-458
51 459-463
52 464-469
53 470-477
54 478-484
55 485-489
56 490-494
57 495-497
58 498-499
59 500-504
60 505-514
61 515-523
62 524-529
63 530-536
64 537-550
65 551-560
66 561-571
67 572-580
68 581-589
69 590-598
70 599-602
71 603-609
72 610-619
73 620-626
74 627-635
75 636-650
76 651-655
77 656-663
78 664-675
79 676-683
80 684-695
81 696-701
82 702-709
83 710-722
84 723-727
85 728-735
86 736-743
87 744-751
88 752-758
89 759-770
Box Folder/Item
90 771-782
91 783-787
92 788-800
93 801-809
94 810-818
95 819-829
96 830-843
97 844-857
98 858-863
99 864
100 865-875
101 876-886
102 887-898
103 899-909
104 910-921
105 922-927
106 928-936
107 937-948
108 949-955
109 956-959
110 960-967
111 968-980
112 981-990
113 991-1001
114 1002-1008
115 1009-1013
116 1014-1016
117 1017-1021
118 1022-1026
119 1027-1034
120 1035-1042
121 1043-1056
122 1057-1068
123 1069-1077
124 1078-1085
125 1086-1091
126 1092-1093
127 1094-1095
128 1096-1098
129 1099-1103
130 1104-1108
131 1109-1115
132 1116-1127
133 1128-1141
134 1142-1146
135 1147-1154
Box Folder/Item
136 1155-1164
137 1165-1174
138 1175-1183
139 1184-1195
140 1196-1203
141 1204-1212
142 1213-1220
143 1221-1231
144 1232-1245
145 1246-1255
146 1256-1259
147 1260-1263
148 1264-1266
149 1267-1276
150 1277-1285
151 1286-1296
152 1297-1305
153 1306-1308
154 1309-1312
155 1313-1322
156 1323-1328
157 1329-1336
158 1337-1345
159 1346-1356
160 1357-1368
161 1369-1375
162 1376-1385
163 1386-1393
164 1394-1405
165 1406-1424
166 1425-1432
167 1433-1442
168 1443-1454
169 1455-1461
170 1462-1471
171 1472-1482
172 1483-1494
173 1495-1498
174 1499-1504
175 1505-1511
176 1512-1516
177 1517-1524
178 1525-1537
179 1538-1546
180 1547-1553
181 1554-1559
Box Folder/Item
182 1560-1565
183 1566-1572
184 1573-1581
185 1582-1593
186 1594-1603
187 1604-1608
188 1609-1617
189 1618-1620
190 1621-1627
191 1628-1636
192 1639-1641
193 1642-1649
194 1650-1661
195 1662-1670
196 1671-1675
197 1676-1684
198 1685-1688
199 1689-1692
200 1693-1701
201 1702-1708
202 1709-1714A
203 1715-1718
204 1719-1731
205 1732-1739
206 1740-1745
207 1746-1753
208 1754-1758
209 1759-1764
210 1765-1777
211 1778-1782
212 1783-1789
213 1790-1801
214 1802-1812
215 1813-1820
216 1821-1829
217 1830-1843
218 1844-1857
219 1858-1867
220 1868-1871
221 1872-1878
222 1879-1890
223 1891-1895
224 1896-1910
225 1911-1917
226 1918-1925
227 1926-1931
Box Folder/Item
228 1932-1939
229 1940-1947
230 1948-1950
231 1951-1953
232 1954-1960
233 1961-1966
234 1967-1973
235 1974-1979
236 1980-1989
237 1990-1995
238 1996-2004
239 2005-2012
240 2013-2025
241 2026-2033A
242 2034-2045
243 2046-2062
244 2063-2070
245 2071-2079
246 2080-2082
247 2083-2086
248 2087-2094
249 2095-2103
250 2104-2111
251 2112-2115
252 2116-2121
253 2122-2132
254 2133-2140
255 2141-2148
256 2149-2153
257 2154-2165
258 2166-2175
259 2176-2180
260 2181-2190
261 2191-2197
262 2198-2208
263 2209-2217
264 2218-2224
265 2225-2231
266 2232-2238A
267 2239-2249
268 2250-2260
269 2261-2266
270 2267-2276
271 2277-2282
272 2283-2292
273 2293-2298
Box Folder/Item
274 2299-2310
275 2311-2320
276 2321-2334
277 2335-2346
278 2347-2355
279 2356-2367
280 2368-2378
281 2379-2388
282 2389-2400
283 2401-2410
284 2411-2420
285 2421-2429
286 2430-2438
287 2439-2450
288 2451-2457
289 2458-2463
290 2464-2468
291 2469-2471
292 2472-2481
293 2482-2490
294 2491-2497
295 2498-2507
296 2508-2513
297 2514-2525
298 2526-2533
299 2534-2552
300 2553-2562
301 2563-2568
302 2569-2575
303 2576-2579
304 2580-2588
305 2589-2598
306 2599-2605
307 2606-2610
308 2611-2614
309 2615-2619
310 2620-2626
311 2627-2634
312 2635-2642
313 2643-2649
314 2650-2655
315 2656-2670
316 2671-2682
317 2683-2700
318 2701-2713
319 2714-2720
Box Folder/Item
320 2721-2726
321 2727-2732
322 2733-2746
323 2747-2756
324 2757-2764
325 2765-2779
326 2780-2784
327 2785-2796
328 2797-2809
329 2810-2817
330 2818-2821
331 2822-2825
332 2826-2830
333 2831-2833
334 2835-2838
335 2839-2848
336 2849-2856
337 2857-2864
338 2865-2872
339 2873-2883
340 2884-2903
341 2904-2912
342 2913-2920
343 2921-2931
344 2932-2937
345 2938-2941
346 2942-2951
347 2952-2973
348 2974-2985
349 2986-2991
350 2992-2997
351 2998-3006
352 3007-3010
353 3011-3014
354 3015-3018
355 3019-3026
356 3027-3036
357 3037-3053
358 3054-3058
359 3059-3068
360 3069-3077
361 3078-3082
362 3083-3093
363 3094-3095
364 3096-3101
365 3102-3115
Box Folder/Item
366 3116-3124
367 3125-3128
368 3129-3139
369 3140-3143
370 3144-3150
371 3151-3154
372 3155-3159
373 3160-3166
374 3167-3173
375 3174-3179
376 3180-3184
377 3185-3188A
378 3189-3195
379 3196-3202
380 3203-3205
381 3206-3221
382 3222-3226
383 3227-3235
384 3236-3237
385 3238-3239
386 3240-3241
387 3242-3246
388 3247-3254
389 3255-3263
390 3264-3271
391 3272-3278
392 3279-3286
393 3287-3291
394 3292-3297
395 3298-3301
396 3302-3308
397 3309-3310
398 3311-3314
399 3315-3317
400 3318-3321
401 3322-3325
402 3326-3332
403 3333-3342
404 3343-3350
405 3351-3356
406 3357-3369
407 3370-3379
408 3380-3385
409 3386-3390
410 3391-3399
411 3400-3408
Box Folder/Item
412 3409-3420
413 3421-3429
414 3430-3441
415 3442-3446
416 3447-3448
417 3449-3450
418 3451-3453
419 3454-3456
420 3457-3460
421 3461-3463
422 3464-3470
423 3471-3476
424 3477-3481
425 3482-3488
426 3489-3492
427 3493-3501
428 3502-3510
429 3511-3512
430 3513-3514
431 3515-3516
432 3517-3519
433 3520-3521
434 3522-3524
435 3525-3528
436 3529-3530
437 3531-3533
438 3534-3538
439 3539-3542
440 3543-3546
441 3547-3549
442 3550-3552
443 3553-3554
444 3555-3557
445 3558-3560
446 3561-3563
447 3564-3565
448 3566-3567
449 3567A-3567B
450 3567C
451 3568-3569
452 3570-3571
453 3572-3573
454 3574-3576
455 3577-3579
456 3580-3581
457 3582-3583
Box Folder/Item
458 3584-3586
459 3587-3589
460 3590-3591
461 3592-3593
462 3594-3599
463 3600-3602
464 3603-3611
465 3612-3616
466 3617-3626
467 3627-3634
468 3635-3643
469 3644-3646
470 3647-3649
471 3650-3657
472 3658-3686
473 3687-3727
474 3728-3729
475 3733-3742
476 3743-3744
477 3745-3757
478 3758-3760
479 3761-3765
480 3766-3777
481 3778-3792
482 3793
483 3794-3809
484 3810-3827
485 3828-3836
486 3837-3849
487 3850-3866
488 3867-3874
489 3875-3880
490 3881-3884
491 3885-3887
492 3888-3962
July 2000