John Wamsley

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Dr John Wamsley (born 1938) is an Australian environmentalist. He was the Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year for 2003. Wamsley is known for his attempt to set up a network of wildlife sanctuaries across Australia.[1]

Wamsely was born in Ourimbah, New South Wales in 1938. His passion for Australian wildlife was born when the seven-year-old Wamsley's family moved to a 67 hectare bushland block at Niagara Park. At age sixteen Wamsley became a trainee metallurgist with BHP. Dissatisfied with the job he became a labourer in BHP's open-hearth furnaces and worked a second job renovating run down houses. By age 23 Wamsley was a millionaire. Approximately two years later Wamsley entered the University of Newcastle, Australia. The thirty-year-old Wamsley graduated with a PhD in Mathematics and moved to Flinders University to lecture.[2] His doctoral thesis from the University of Queensland, at only 70 pages, is among the shortest theses in the library.[3]

June 1969 saw the purchase of a dairy farm at Mylor, South Australia, that was to become Wamsley's first sanctuary, Warrawong. Wamsely eradicated all feral plants and animals from the sanctuary and erected a surrounding fence to preserve the sanctuary's feral free state.[2] Wamsley entered the public eye when he attended a tourism awards ceremony wearing a hat made from the pelt of a dead feral cat. The ensuing controversy led to a change in the law, allowing feral cats to be legally killed.[4]


  1. ^ "John Wamsley - Prime Minister's Environmentalist of the Year 2003". Minister for the Environment and Heritage Media Releases. Department of the Environment and Water Resources. 2004-07-14. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  2. ^ a b Radford, Leigh. "John Wamsley". ABC Rural. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2015-10-08. 
  3. ^ "The Deficiency of Finite Groups". 
  4. ^ Adams, Prue (2005-03-27). "Wamsley walks away from Earth Sanctuaries". Landline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 

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