The Wilderness Society, Australia

The Wilderness Society is an Australian, community-based, not-for-profit non-governmental environmental advocacy organisation. Its vision is to “transform Australia into a society that protects, respects and connects with the natural world that sustains us.”

It all began in 1976 with a meeting of just 16 people in the home of Tasmanian GP Dr Bob Brown. The passionate campaign that emerged to save the Franklin River rocked the political orthodoxy and defined a generation.

​In total, 6,000 Australians registered to blockade construction of the Franklin dam, each willing to be arrested for the cause.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke & Dr Bob Brown
Karen Alexander, Bob Hawke, Hazel Hawke, Bob Brown. Photo: Ross Scott

The new opposition leader, Bob Hawke, voiced his support for the Franklin River, securing his party a victory in the federal election.

A majority of everyday Australians had cast a vote for the environment.

The Tasmanian Premier mounted a High Court challenge. But in 1983, a final decision was handed down: “There shall be no dam on the Franklin River”. This vital ecosystem would remain intact.

To this day, our story of success continues.

  •  In 2012, we negotiated protection for over 500,000 hectares of native Tasmanian forest.
  • In 2013, we helped protect the biodiversity and culture of the Kimberley from a gas export megahub.
  • In 2016, our independent spill modelling sealed BP’s exit from the pristine Great Australian Bight.
  • In 2018, we blew the lid off Queensland’s hidden deforestation crisis and improved the badly broken laws.

To find out more and how you can get involved visit: