About the Society

The Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia was founded in 1909 by a group of enthusiastic bushwalkers. Our founders suggested the need for such a group in a talk with the Naturalists’ Society of New South Wales (NSW).  The Swedish Consul-General for Australia, Count Birger Mörner, organised the first preliminary discussion in the consulate on 11 May 1909.  As an outcome of this discussion, it was decided to call a public meeting on the formation of such a society.  Fifty people attended and were enrolled as the first members of the Society.  Within one week, the newly formed Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia had grown to more than 100 members. The provisional committee worked hard and in the same year, the inaugural meeting adopted a constitution and elected the first chairman, the Honourable Frederick Earle Winchcombe MLC.  The Society pioneered the recognition of the need for legal protection for Australia’s animals and plants.

Today, we are known as the Australian Wildlife Society (AWS).  We are a national not-for-profit wildlife conservation organisation.  Our mission is to conserve Australia’s wildlife (flora and fauna) through national environmental education, political lobbying, advocacy, hands-on conservation work and involvement of the community.  AWS is a registered company limited by guarantee with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and is responsible for complying with all its regulations.  The Society is funded through membership fees, sponsorship, partnerships and donations, and managed by an elected board of 10 volunteer directors.  We hold regular monthly meetings to discuss important wildlife conservation matters and make many significant decisions upon which we act.

Furthermore, we act as a watchdog and provide advice to government agencies and institutions regarding environmental and conservation issues concerning all aspects of wildlife preservation. Our Society has always known that a battle is never really won until the victory is enshrined in legislation. We have always tried to convince politicians of the necessity to include the preservation of Australia's wildlife and its vital conservation habitat in all their planning and environment issues and discussions.

Our Projects

The Australian Wildlife magazine is the flagship of the Society and has proved to be extremely popular amongst all of our members.  We invite members to distribute copies to family and friends and to invite them to become members also.  The magazine has developed over time since the 1930s, largely due to the efforts of the current President and CEO, and went from black and white to colour.  We also produce a monthly e-newsletter to help convey the importance of wildlife conservation, the work of the Society and news from our members.  You can become actively involved in the newsletter and magazine by sending photos and written articles for inclusion.

The Society offers four prestigious awards – the Serventy Conservation Award, Community Wildlife Conservation Award, Wildlife Rehabilitation Award and Youth Conservation Award.  Our Society is aware that many organisations, individuals and thousands of volunteers are working tirelessly to save Australia’s native wildlife and the precious habitats in which they live.  We are very proud to acknowledge and reward these individuals or conservation groups and encourage them to continue their good work on behalf of the whole community. Applications are due by 31st December.

Another highlight is the awarding of our 10 university scholarships offered to honours or postgraduate students at Australian universities.  Each year, 10 grants of $1,500 are awarded.  Grants are available for research projects of direct relevance to the conservation of Australian wildlife and applications are due by 31st May.

We also award three special university scholarships at University Technology Sydney, University of NSW and Western Sydney University.  The Wildlife Ecology Research Scholarship is open to postgraduate research students undertaking a research project of direct relevance to the conservation of Australia’s wildlife.  Scholarships are valued at $5,000 for one year, a payment of $2,500 each semester. Applications are due by 31st May. 

The Society also offers conservation group grants.  The board of the Society carefully considers all requests for grants from conservation groups that place a special emphasis on wildlife preservation.  A grant application form is available on the website, should you be interested in applying. 

The Society holds a Threatened Wildlife Photographic Competition, which is a national competition that rewards and promotes the conservation of threatened or endangered Australian wildlife through the medium of photography.  The Society invites photographers to raise the plight of threatened or endangered wildlife across Australia and aims to encourage the production of photographs taken in Australia that reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Australia’s wildlife.  The closing date for entries is 30th June and online voting is from 1st to 31st July.

The colouring-in competition is designed to inspire the younger generation to learn about Australia's native wildlife via visual art and creativity.  We hope that the experience provides participants with the opportunity to explore and develop a deeper understanding of environmental and wildlife-related issues.  Entries are due by 30th November.

The Society founded the NSW Platypus and Turtle Alliance.  We met with NSW Minister for the Environment, Matthew Kean MP, on behalf of the NSW Platypus and Turtle Alliance, at Parliament House on Wednesday, 13th November 2019.  The Alliance asked the Minister to implement a complete ban on opera house nets across the state, and implement a net exchange program to help save platypus and other air-breathing aquatic wildlife from drowning in NSW rivers.  The Society is pleased to announce that our efforts have been recognised, with a complete ban on opera house nets to be implemented in NSW, effective from the end of 2020.  We would like to recommend an immediate embargo pending the final announcement.  We are indebted to the strong support from the NSW Platypus and Turtle Alliance members, all of whom are dedicated to the conservation of Australia’s unique wildlife.  We are now asking the Queensland Government to follow the lead of other states in Australia and implement legislation to ban enclosed yabby traps in all Queensland waters.

In 2019, the Society accepted a significant sponsorship from Ferrero Australia to help save endangered wildlife.  The Society selected one wildlife conservation program in each state of Australia and one in New Zealand as a recipient of conservation funding under this program.

You can find out more about these projects on our website.  We are collaborating with Ferrero Australia again this year. 

The Society wanted to do more to help wildlife affected by the recent bushfires sweeping the country and, as a result, the Society decided to establish an initiative to raise much-needed funds for bushfire-affected wildlife and those groups on the frontline caring for them.  One hundred percent of donations raised were distributed to nine wildlife rescue groups in total across NSW, SA and Vic.  The treatment and rehabilitation of native wildlife is an intensive and long-term process and recovery can take up to six to nine months.

The Society founded Australian Wildlife Week, which is commemorated across the country during the first week of October to encourage a positive relationship between humanity and nature.  We hope to raise awareness and inspire all Australians to explore and develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues, gain the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take action to improve the environment, by offering 50 percent off one-year and three-year membership subscriptions during the week of 5th to 11th October.

The Society’s newly established student blog page provides students with the opportunity to publish and promote their work, whilst providing new and interesting perspectives for the broader AWS community.  Podcasts and vlogs are also welcome.

The Society is active on four social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube).  We aim to keep our followers up to date with important actions of the Society and the collective work being promoted nationally.  Our followers continue to grow each month and we welcome you to join us.  The Society continually updates the website to accurately reflect its current projects and work.  We welcome you to access the website for further information.

Honorary Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Patrick W Medway AM

Throughout his career Patrick has maintained a keen and enthusiastic interest in wildlife preservation and conservation.

He joined the Society in 1985 and took Life Membership of the Wildlife Preservation Society in 1988. He has been an active member serving as Honorary Secretary and Executive Director of the Society since 1995.

Patrick graduated from the University of Technology, Sydney (Diploma in Public Relations with Credit – 1974, BA Communications – 1977) and the University of New South Wales (Master’s degree in Educational Administration – 1991). He is a member of the Australian College of Educators (MACE) and is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (FPRIA), as well as being an Honorary Life Member of the International Police Association, Australian National Section (HLM 22).

Patrick was seconded from the NSW Department of Education to serve as Director and Chief Education Officer of the Currumbin Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast from 1985-87. He has also spent time at the Wetland and Waterfowl Centre in Slimbridge in the United Kingdom and has visited many major wildlife parks, wildlife sanctuaries and botanic gardens around the world.

With his professional qualifications, experience and expertise he has been actively involved in a number of conservation, zoological, botanical and educational associations across Australia. He co-authored Conservation Victories with the late Dr Vincent Serventy AM and commissioned two other publications Conserving Australia’s Wildlife and 100 Years of Saving Australia’s Wildlife to mark the Centenary of the Society in 2009.

Patrick was appointed to the State Council for the NSW Nature Conservation Council in 1995 and served for five years. He was appointed to the NSW Pest Animal Control Council in 2002 and serves on the NSW Kangaroo Management Advisory Panel.

Patrick is a former Chairman of the Towra Point Steering Committee and President of the ‘Friends of Towra Point Nature Reserve’ and has an abiding interest in wetland and wildlife management.

Patrick was elected as National President on the retirement of Dr Vincent Serventy AM in 2002 and served for eight years in that capacity before nominating Suzanne Medway to the position of President of the Society in 2010.

Patrick was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on 26 January 2003 in the Australia Day Honours for his 'Service to conservation and the environmental through environmental education in a range of organisations and committees concerned with the preservation of wildlife and nature, particularly the Australian Wildlife Society'.

His current ambition is to establish a sustainably and commercially viable National Headquarters for the Society over the next year or two. 

President and Australian Wildlife Editor, Suzanne Medway AM

Suzanne was born in Kogarah, Sydney, and educated at Kingsgrove High School and St George TAFE. She holds an Associate Diploma in Business (Office Administration) and is a Justice of the Peace for NSW.

She has had considerable experience at middle and senior management positions in commercial business, including Seagram Limited, A & A Insurance, and served as Company Secretary for Australian Defence Industries (a multi-million dollar government defence company) prior to retiring. She has travelled widely and is familiar with most aspects of Australian wildlife conservation.

Suzanne has had prior board experience serving as a director on the boards of the Business Enterprise Development Agency in Mascot and the Business Enterprise Centre in Southern Sydney.

She also served as Secretary and then Vice-President of the Central Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce and board member of the Brighton Le Sands Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne has been a member of the Society since 1988 and was elected as Secretary/Executive Director in 2002. Since that time Suzanne has modernised the office administration, created and maintained the website, increased the membership base and raised the standard of the Australian Wildlife magazine to a very professional level, along with the new wildlife email newsletter. Suzanne was awarded Life Membership of the Society in February 2009.

Suzanne has edited three books for the Society – Conserving Australia’s Wildlife, Conservation Victories and Battles Yet to Win and 100 Years of Saving Australia’s Wildlife.

Suzanne was awarded Environmental Volunteer for 2010 in the prestigious NRMA Helping People Awards and was named Rockdale 2019 Local Woman of the Year. 

For the past 10 years Suzanne has served as the Society's National President. Suzanne has overseen a number of major achievements during her tenure, including the implementation and completion of the Towra Beach Restoration Project in Botany Bay. Suzanne also introduced an Australian Wildlife Society scholarship program, which to date has awarded more than 100 scholarships to university students.

Senior Vice President, Associate Professor Julie Old

Associate Professor Julie Old is a wildlife biologist, who is passionate about educating future wildlife researchers and helping to conserve the natural environment.  She completed her PhD in 2002 in marsupial immunology and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University before commencing her teaching position at Western Sydney University in 2006.  Julie’s research expertise combines immunology, developmental biology, molecular biology, anatomy, microscopy, ecological techniques and citizen science to solve important issues in wildlife health and disease, especially marsupials.  Julie is also the Chief Investigator of the Citizen Science project, WomSAT, which aims to educate the wider community about wombats and sarcoptic mange. Since 1998, her research has resulted in over 90 research publications in high impact journals including PLoS One and DCI. She joined AWS as a board director in 2018. Julie joined the Society as a Director in 2018 and become Senior Vice President in 2020. Julie founded the ‘Youth Conservation Award’ for AWS – an annual prize of $500, which is awarded to a young individual or small youth organisation who contributes to the conservation of Australian wildlife. Julie’s future goals for the Society are: (1) Support current and future wildlife conservationists to protect and conserve our native wildlife for future generations, (2) Enhance the ability of wildlife researchers to increase our knowledge of Australia’s flora and fauna, thus providing information critical to understanding how we can best conserve our unique flora and fauna, and (3) Educate the wider community on issues affecting our native flora and fauna so that everyone can make informed decisions to aid species conservation.

Vice President, Stephen Grabowski

Stephen has been active in the financial services industry for over 20 years. Stephen holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) and a Graduate Certificate of Applied Finance and has his own firm 'Grabowski Financial Planning'.  Prior to Stephen’s involvement in the Society, the return on our investments was negligible.  Under Stephen’s stewardship, the Society’s investments grew considerably.  We feel that the Society’s investments are in safe hands and we have no hesitation in endorsing Stephen as a trustworthy and competent financial manager.  Stephen was appointed as a Director on the board in 2016 and was re-elected as Vice President in 2020. Stephen is a lifetime member and his future goals for the Society are to expand its membership base and social media profile and establish as a “go-to” peak conservation organisation.

Treasurer, Alice Suwono 

Alice is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years’ experience in the accounting and finance departments, with a particular focus on improving business process efficiencies.  Alice has extensive experience in cash management, has completed multiple system transfers and has a deep understanding of the system work as an integration of various modules.  Alice joined the Society and became Treasurer in 2018.  

Director, Ken Mason

Ken became a Director on the Board in March 2012 and was appointed Vice President in 2014 and held this position for six years. He is a retired businessman having had successful careers in both the construction and entertainment industries. As a self-employed independent contractor, Ken worked tirelessly for the improvement of his industry and was President of two industry organisations, the MRCAA and Building Industry Sub-Contractors Association of NSW. Past President Lugarno Progress Association. As a musician/entertainer, Ken was the winner of several industry awards and was for some years Treasurer and Committeeman for the entertainment industry ‘Mo Awards’ Association. Ken and his family have had a lifelong interest in wildlife conservation and have travelled widely visiting many natural areas. Ken has strived to ensure that the Society is financially secure and commercially equipped to be able to promote and support wildlife conservation programs across Australia and provide university student grants for bright young people to study wildlife conservation issues.  His commitment to the board of directors is to continue to work for the successful future of the Society.

Brian Scarsbrick AM, Director

Brian is an innovator and strong networker with government, industry, the corporate sector and research/academic communities. Brian has held senior positions throughout his career, from Regional Director of Agriculture, to leading a small professional multi-disciplinary team at Landcare Australia Ltd., and to the most recent, Chief Executive Officer of The National Trust of Australia NSW (2012-2017).  Brian succeeded in helping to bring about a culture change in addressing soil degradation and water and air pollution through developing 'win-win' partnerships between corporates, government and the community. In 2007 Landcare Australia Ltd. established a Carbon Trading  Pool (CarbonSmart) of Landcare group biodiversity plantings. CarbonSmart  then targeted large companies to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance their Corporate Social Responsibility image in relation to environmental and social issues and financially assist farmers through carbon farming. Brian became a member of the Society in 2019 and was appointed as a Director in March 2020. Brian's future goals for the Society are: (1) Provide assistance and advice to help facilitate the recovery of biodiversity with particular emphasis of wildlife following the devastation from the Australia wide bushfires, (2) to bring an enhanced botanical and habitat perspective to the activities of the Society, and (3) help promote the importance of enhancing flora biodiversity (in particular trees) in reducing carbon emissions.

Director, Philip Sansom

Philip has formal qualifications in Visual Arts and Creative and Performing Arts as well as extensive experience on various board appointments, committees and in local government. Philip was a teacher, Head Teacher and Consultant with the NSW Department of Education. Philip has a Diploma in Art Education, Graduate Diploma in Expressive and Performing Arts and a Master of Education. Philip was a Councillor on Hurstville City Council from September 1991 to May 2016, Mayor on three occasions and received the title of Emeritus Mayor in 2016. Philip was chair of the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (SMCMA) 2008 to 2011 and served for 15 years on the Metro South West National Parks and Wildlife Service Regional Advisory Committee (2000 – 2015). Philip is currently chair of the Australia Day Botany Bay Regatta Committee and a Director on St. George Basketball Association, Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Lugarno Lions Club and was appointed as a Director on the Australian Wildlife Society on 7 March 2018. Philip’s corporate governance and board experience has extended over a number of organisations and has covered a number of areas including budget preparation, risk management, audit processes, program management and evaluation.  As Chair of the SMCMA Philip oversaw all aspects of the administration of the Authority ensuring the general manager, staff and board met all legislative requirements and was provided with advice and information to enable the Board to effectively carry out their responsibilities as Directors of the SMCMA. Philip’s future goals for the Society are to:  (1) Protect and conserve Australia's native wildlife; (2) Continue to support wildlife conservation research; and (3) Provide the opportunity for our community to be more informed about Australia's native flora and fauna.

Director, Wayne Greenwood

Wayne joined the Society in 2009 and became a Director on the Board in 2016. He has a BA, Master of Transport Management, Registered Project Manager and Dip PM, CMILT, AFAITI, MAIPM. Wayne is the Managing Director of Project Management Pty Ltd. He has a long term interest in wildlife conservation with strong family connections in the country. He is very committed to helping to save Australia's native wildlife and to promote Land for Wildlife projects. Wayne expects to retire to Kangaroo Valley and will have more time to devote to helping the Society and its projects. Wayne and his wife Jeanette’s property is part of the Greater Eastern Ranges Wildlife Initiative and, over the past few years, he has been actively remediating areas of their property, which has enabled wildlife like lyrebirds, echidnas and wombats to return in number to their property.  Wayne’s future goal for the Society is to promote wildlife conservation in all schools for future generations of children.

Director, Trevor Evans

Trevor joined the Society in 2001 and in 2009 was nominated representative of Australian Ecosystems Foundation. He became a Director on the Board in 2016. Trevor holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Ecotourism & Ecosystem management) from Charles Sturt University NSW. Trevor is General Manager of Secret Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, Lithgow and has a wide experience in wildlife management, wildlife conservation, environmental education programs and hands-on experience in breeding rare and endangered species. Trevor represents on a number of government and agency threatened species programs/projects. He was awarded Conservationist of the year in 2010. Trevor holds a Reptile Keepers’ licence (RK59930 – Class 1 Licence) and an Outdoor Guide licence (NPWS of NSW).  He is also licensed to hold endangered species, exhibit Australian Wildlife (DPI l0032) and is licensed with Zoo and Aquarium Association.  Trevor was recipient of the Wildlife Preservation Society Community Conservation Award in 2009. 

National Office Manager, Megan Fabian

Megan is a conservationist who is passionate about safeguarding wildlife and natural ecosystems for future generations. She has grown up participating in outdoor activities such as bush walking and camping, which has played a key role in fostering her passion for nature and wildlife. Megan completed a Bachelor of Natural Science (Animal Science), majoring in Zoology and sub-majoring in Conservation Biology, and Master of Research Degree in Wildlife Conservation/Citizen Science at Western Sydney University (WSU). Megan's research has resulted in three publications. She has worked in the field as a sessional Academic, Animal Technician and volunteer zoo keeper. Megan taught 'Animal Science' and 'Animal Health and Welfare' subjects at WSU, she was an Animal Technician for two years working with small native mammals and reptiles, and worked at Symbio Wildlife Park where she gained experience with native birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. She has also travelled to parts of Australia and around the world to broaden her knowledge of wildlife and wildlife-related issues. Megan has been an active member of the Society since 2015 and secured her position as the National Office Manager in May 2019. Megan's future goals for the Society are: (1) to become more well-known in the wider community and established as a prime wildlife conservation organisation, (2) to continue to support wildlife conservationists to protect Australia’s flora and fauna, and (3) to educate and encourage the wider community to take action in conserving the natural world for future generations.  

Patrick Medway AM
Honorary Secretary/Chief Executive Officer

Suzanne Medway AM
President/Australian Wildlife Editor

Ken Mason
Director

Stephen Grabowski
Vice President

Wayne Greenwood
Director

Trevor Evans
Director

Philip Sansom
Director

A/Prof Julie Old
Senior Vice President

Brian Scarsbrick AM
Director

Alice Suwono
Treasurer

Megan Fabian
National Office Manager

What are the benefits of being identified with the Australian Wildlife Society?

Here are some to be considered.

Durability: The Australian Wildlife Society (previously known as the Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia Limited) is one of Australia’s oldest wildlife conservation organisation. Founded in May 1909, it has served Australia for over 100 years. The Society has survived two world wars, economic depressions, and social turmoil. Our brand image is one of endurance – we have always been here and we will always be here!

Service: The Australian Wildlife Society has been served by committed volunteers throughout its entire existence for more than 100 years. Without any form of Government financial assistance, which some other conservation organisations enjoy, we have fought for the conservation and welfare of Australia’s unique wildlife without fear or favour and have achieved many remarkable victories. We are still an organisation of volunteers willing to give our own time free for the benefit of the wider Australian community

Integrity: Due to our heritage and committed service we have earned the respect of other conservation organisations as well as Governments and agencies. As a result, we have been invited to sit on Government advisory panels and agency committees i.e. Kangaroo Management Advisory Panel, NSW Pest Animal Council and Greater Sydney Regional Pest Animal Management Committee, local government strategic planning advisory committees etc. We have developed a set of well-considered policies which are publicly available on our website.

Genuineness: The Australian Wildlife Society focuses on the welfare of all Australian wildlife. We are strongly identified with Australia. The echidna on our logo has been identified with us long before it appeared on Australia’s five-cent coin. As an early conservationist said, we are ‘down to earth’ in our wildlife conservation work, like the echidna. We are the epitome of genuine Australianness.

Any organisation that wishes to project an image of durability, service, integrity, and genuineness can do no better than identify itself with the Australian Wildlife Society.

Green Commandments for a better world

The Green Commandments for sustainable development of our Planet are:

01. All people have a right to an Earth where they can live in good health and enjoy a fair quality of life.

02. No one has the right to substantially alter the natural world in a way that will damage the world’s basic resources.

03. All people must conserve the present diversity of the natural world. Extinction is forever.

04. All people must plan their future so the resources they use will be sustainable – and when they use non-sustainable materials, plan for a future when these will be exhausted.

05. All people giving aid to others must be sure the help will increase the quality of life of those they assist, not forcing them into new ways of living, destroying their culture.

06. All people must use the world’s common resources with regard to all other people, both now and in the future.

07. All nations must carry out their obligations under all environmental agreements. A world court should decide on serious breaches, while other pressures such as boycotts must be used when more suitable for the occasion.

08. All nations must co-operate, not only in monitoring their own environment, but also in their obligations to the rest of the world.

09. All nations must develop a sustainable population policy and adhere to it.

10. All nations and all individuals must develop a new morality, not based only on particular religions but with values of respect for the rights of all humans and also those of the natural environment.