Ian Kiernan

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Ian Kiernan in 2013

Ian Bruce Carrick Keirnan AO (born 4 October 1940) is an environmentalist and also a builder who organised the Clean Up Australia campaign, and in 1993 a similar Clean Up the World operation which attracted participation from 30 million volunteers in 80 countries.

Private life[edit]

Keirnan was born in Sydney to George Arthur and Leslie Katherine Keirnan. He was educated at The Scots College in Sydney, The Armidale School in northern New South Wales, and the Sydney Technical College,[1] where he trained as a builder.


Keirnan is a passionate yachtsman, sailing competitively for more than 40 years and representing Australia at the Admiral's, Southern Cross, Dunhill, Clipper, Kenwood and Trans Pacific Cup competitions[citation needed]. In 1986/87 Keirnan represented Australia in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world yacht race. He finished 6th out of a fleet of 25 yachts from 11 nations,[2] setting an Australian record for a solo circumnavigation of the world.[citation needed]


It was during the BOC Challenge that Kiernan saw and was appalled by the amount of rubbish choking the world's oceans. With the support of a committee of friends, he organised a community event – Clean Up Sydney Harbour on Sunday 8 January 1989. 40,000 volunteers turned out to help clean up.[3]

The success of the first Clean Up event in 1989 sparked national interest in the simple but effective community-based idea. In 1990, the first Clean Up Australia Day took place on Sunday, 21 January. Again, the response of Australians was astounding. More than 300,000 Australians volunteered their time to help make a difference to the health of their local environment.

Since then more than 7 million people have heeded the call through annual Clean Up Australia Days, Friday Schools Clean Up Days and Business Clean Ups.

Clean up Australia's Mission is "To inspire and work with communities to clean up and fix up our Earth".[4]

Kiernan met with the United Nations Environment Plan to discuss a global Clean Up. The 'Clean Up the World' event took place in 1993. Over three days (17–19 September), over 30 million people from 80 nations turned out to Clean Up their world in May 2009. Currently 40 million people from 120 countries taking part in the annual Clean Up the World in May 2009.


Keirnan's environmental efforts were originally recognised in 1991 when the Australian Government awarded him the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).[5]

He was awarded Australian of the Year in 1994.[6] During the ceremony he assisted the Premier of New South Wales John Fahey stopping an assassination attempt on HRH Charles, Prince of Wales.

In 1995 he was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia.[7]

In 1998 he was the recipient of the UNEP Sasakawa Prize. The prize is awarded every year to individuals with an established track record of achievement and the potential to make outstanding contributions to the protection and management of the environment consistent with UNEP's policies and objectives.[8]

He received the World Citizenship Award from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1999.

In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for "service to the Clean Up Australia Campaign and the Clean up the World Campaign".[9]

In 2006 Ian received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Trust of Australia (NSW).[10]

The 2007 Reader's Digest Most Trusted Poll voted Clean Up Australia as the country's most trusted environmental charity and chairman Ian Keirnan AO as the fourth "most trustworthy" Australian.[11]

In 2008 the same poll Keirnan was ranked number 3.[12]

He is also the recipient of Toastmaster's International Communications and Leadership Award, The Berger-Sullivan Tourism Award, the International Banksia Award, and the 1999 Building World Citizenship Award.


  1. ^ Suzannah Pearce, ed. (17 November 2006). "KIERNAN Ian Bruce Carrick". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help);
  2. ^ "The BOC Challenge 1986-1987 Results". solocircumnavigation.com. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/en/About/the-clean-up-story.html
  4. ^ http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/about/about-the-organisation
  5. ^ "Ian Bruce Carrick Kiernan OAM". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5. 
  7. ^ "Ian Bruce Carrick Keirnan AO". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Mr. Ian Bruce Carrick Keirnan, Winner 1998 .
  9. ^ "Ian Kiernan". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Speaker Profile of Ian Keirnan AO at The Celebrity Speakers Bureau
  12. ^ Australia's Most Trusted People 2008

External links[edit]