About us

About us

For over 40 years, we’ve stood at the forefront of Australia’s most historic environmental victories. But our biggest challenges lie in front of us.

The Wilderness Society is powered by thousands of Australians from all walks of life. We work to support the living world that makes all life possible. (Including our own.)

Together, we're taking on transnational corporations, rogue operators, and the armies of lobbyists and politicians who defend them. From the corridors of Canberra to the streets of your town, we’re here to change the system.

Are you with us?

Our history

Dr Bob Brown being arrested during the Franklin River Blockade

The Wilderness Society began in 1976 — 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.

Hundreds gathered on the banks of the Franklin to stop the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission's plan to dam the river.

It sparked a nation-wide movement and was was won in 1983, saving this timeless landscape.

Governance

Our Board

Image: Noah Thompson

Members, elected by members, working for members. Our Board of Directors volunteer time and expertise to support our organisation as we support life.

View our constitution.

Annual General Meeting

Executive Leadership

Our CEO, Matt Brennan, reports to our Board of Directors and ensures the immediate work and the future of our organisation are always in focus. He is responsible for enabling the Wilderness Society's creative and communications, membership and fundraising as well as its operational areas—including finance, administration, strategic planning, risk management, infrastructure management, governance and compliance.

Structure

The Wilderness Society is a public company limited by guarantee, incorporated in Tasmania. Our campaigning, organising, and street fundraising teams operate from campaign centres in each state capital (plus Launceston and Newcastle). Most campaign centres are local incorporated associations and member organisations of the Wilderness Society, and all work towards our common purpose. They are:


Funding

How we’re funded

The majority of our work is funded by regular Australians, who contribute through membership, donations and bequests — and by buying merchandise at our online store. See our Annual Reviews and Financial Statements for more detail. The Wilderness Society is an Income Tax Exempt Charity and a Deductible Gift Recipient. Donations to its public fund, the Wilderness Fund, are tax deductible. You can read more about our charitable status, governance and financials at the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Annual Reviews and Financial Statements

We’re proud to show our supporters just how much of their contribution goes towards protecting our living world. You’ll find this information (as well as an overview of the year’s achievements) in our Annual Reviews.

Annual General Meeting 2022

A boy climbs a Eucalyptus regnans in the Styx Valley, lutruwita / Tasmania.

All of our Members are encouraged to participate in our election of Directors and attend our 2022 Annual General Meeting.

Each year Members participate in the election of our Board of Directors. The nomination and election processes are designed to promote broad geographic representation and Elected Directors must come from at least four of the following six regions: Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales; Queensland; Northern Territory and South Australia; Tasmania; Victoria; and Western Australia.

Recent Highlights

With your continued support, together we are making a big difference for nature. Here are some recent highlights of your support in action.


Your support in action

Alliances

We share common values with many local and national groups. By working together, we amplify our power.
CANA

CANA

Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) is a diverse network with distributed leadership that links people and organisations working towards a shared vision — to protect people and nature from climate change. Together, we set common goals and collaborate on solutions.

Great Australian Bight Alliance

Great Australian Bight Alliance

The Wilderness Society is a founding member of the Alliance. Alongside Traditional Owners and organisations like Sea Shepherd, we're working to protect the spectacular Great Australian Bight from Big Oil.

Places You Love

Places You Love

Places You Love is the biggest ever alliance of environment organisations, representing over 40 groups and 1.5 million members and supporters. Photo: Brodie Emery