John Wamsley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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]

Wamsley 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. Wamsley 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]

With the view to duplicating the success of the Warrawong wildlife sanctuary in South Australia, Earth Sanctuaries Limited (ESL) was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2000.[5] At its peak, ESL had 11 prospective sanctuaries in 3 states accounting for 100,000 hectares.[5] ESL was successful in some rewilding and ecosystem restoration projects.[5] By pioneering feral-proof fencing, native Australian animals were successfully re-introduced where they were locally extinct.[5] However commercial success was elusive, and ESL was wound up and delisted in 2005.[5] ESL was the world's first publicly listed company whose business was conservation.[5]


  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. 14 July 2004. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b Radford, Leigh. "John Wamsley". ABC Rural. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  3. ^ "The Deficiency of Finite Groups".
  4. ^ Adams, Prue (27 March 2005). "Wamsley walks away from Earth Sanctuaries". Landline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Paull, John (2021) "Ecosystem Restoration: The Bold Experiment for Rewilding Australia", International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) Newsletter, Q4(1):5.1-5.4.

External links[edit]