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50 years of action

Since 1965

Story by ACF December 3rd, 2015

The Australian Conservation Foundation formed 50 years ago. At that time, oil and mining first threatened the Great Barrier Reef. Because people cared and spoke out, life still thrives in the places Australians love – like the reef, Kakadu, the Murray, the Alps, and the farms and creeks Landcare restored.

We are advocates, custodians, neighbours, friends, explorers, leaders, innovators, dreamers and doers. We are part of a broader community of people who care about our air, rivers, forests and wildlife.

People like you.


As Australia’s national environment group, ACF weaves local efforts with a national approach to the big issues. We do this so life can thrive all across the country.

We spark change, tell the truth, bring unlikely partners together and share big ideas. We hold all political parties to their duty of care. We’re proud to learn from the traditions of Aboriginal people, who cared for life in Australia for tens of thousands of years.

Francis Ratcliffe, ACF Founding Member. 1965, copyright CSIRO
Don Henry and Dillon Andrews at Windjana Gorge, 2011
Supporters of our campaign to save the Murray River, 2010
Councillors at the 1989 AGM in Melbourne, 1988
ACF stall, 1986
Conservation News newsletter: ACF turns 25, 1991
Dave Sweeney and the Traditional Owners of Muckaty Station: Mark Lane, Jeannie Sambo and Doris Kelly, 2010
ACF President Phillip Toyne and The Wilderness Society's Alistair Graham, 1990 election
Kathleen McCann's design used to support the Mirrar people's campaign against the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine in Kakadu (1996)

People made it happen

It’s people who make ACF what it is.

The scientists who realised what limestone mining on the reef meant, the unionists who refused to develop historic urban precincts, the poets who spoke out for our forests, the Traditional Owners who said no to uranium riches and toxic pollution and the musicians who stood beside them. And for decades, the donors who make it all possible, and the volunteers who make the banners, write the letters and run the events.

We thank our community who are the heartbeat of our organisation. Your support means ACF can be fiercely independent.

Our goal is nothing short of a future where water flows clean, we care for country and communities share in abundant energy from the sun and wind.

Jacqui Katona, Peter Garrett, Tom Uren and Yvonne Margarula lead the Jabiluka blockade march in 1998, photo David Hancock

thanks for celebrating with us

We threw ACF 50th birthday shindigs across Australia in November to honour our community and thank those who came before us and those who stand with us today.

So here’s to all of you who have signed an ACF petition or called an MP or CEO. All of you who are new members, have been members for a long time or have undertaken the superhuman effort of being on our Board and Council. And all of you who give your time, your money, your passion and with us share your hopes and your dreams.

ACF might be about protecting nature, but we’ve always been powered by people. We are a community. Our achievements are your achievements. Own them, be proud of them. We thank you for all you have done and will do.

Dancing at the Melbourne shindig
Colin and  Yvonne Hutchinson - two of ACF's first members!
The Perth shindig at the Greenhouse Bar
Jacky 'Wongili' Green accepting the 2015 Rawlison Award
Rob Fowler, member of ACF's Board, at the Adelaide shindig
Linda Byass, Graham Byass and Deborah White at the Adelaide shindig
Our Sydney shindig at the Crystal Bar
Elizabeth McKinnon hosts the Canberra shindig
Our SA supporters at the Treasury in Adelaide

If you’re not already a member, join us today for only $10. Receive habitat magazine twice a year, determine the members of the ACF Council, vote at the AGM and have access to special invitations.

Become a member