Blog | 7th Nov, 2019

50th Birthday Community Environment Award Winners

As part of our 50th Birthday Celebration, we recognised the achievements of remarkable people and community groups from across Victoria for their outstanding contribution to protecting our environment.

The 50th Anniversary Community Environment Award recipients are all leaders in their community, and have led gutsy and persistent campaigns to protect nature and stand up for the places they love over the past 50 years, often with very limited resources.

For that we give them a big thumbs up!

Philip Sutton

Awarded for being at the forefront of Victorian environment campaigning since the 1970s.

When Environment Victoria looked at the list of early directors, Philip Sutton’s name stood out as someone who has been initiating and driving innovative campaigns for over 40 years, challenging the movement to tackle new territory.

Philip was a long standing member of the Conservation Council of Victoria Executive, and was an Assistant Director.

He led the CCV’s Urban Creeks Campaign which ended the practice of concreting creeks.

He was also a co-author in 1978 of the book Seeds for Change, a detailed energy strategy for Victoria and wrote the book Victoria’s Nuclear Countdown in 1980, initiating the campaign that led to the banning of nuclear power in Victoria in 1983.

He initiated the campaign to create the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, which passed in 1988.

Philip also co-authored Climate Code Red: The case for emergency action in 2008 with David Spratt and has been a leading figure in the climate emergency declaration movement to the present.

Gwynneth Taylor

Awarded for being a founding member and driving force in the formation of the Conservation Council of Victoria (CCV).

Gwynnyth was the first woman President of the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) for much of the 1960s. She was also a key player

in the Little Desert campaign and the formation of the Conservation Council of Victoria (CCV).

She was a member of the small committee (along with Lewis Godfrey and others from the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria) who organised the constitution and inaugural meeting of CCV.

She was an influential director of CCV in its first decade, and an inspiration for other women in the movement to step up into leadership at a time when most of the figureheads were men.

In 2001 (posthumously), Gwynnyth was also named in the Centenary of Federation 2001 Honour Roll for Women Shaping the Nation.

Bruce and Anne McGregor

Awarded for a significant long-term contribution to Environment Victoria and the Victorian environment movement.

Ann and Bruce distinguish themselves as very thoughtful people who use their activism, volunteer effort, expertise and funding very strategically to really make a difference, at Environment Victoria and in the wider movement.

They are key architects and drivers of the transformation of the Merri Creek from wasteland to parklands since the mid 1970s, and have been leaders in working towards healthy rivers.

Bruce is also the current President of the Victorian National Parks Association.

Ann is on the board of the Biolinks Alliance and both are involved in the newly-established Nature Stewards environmental education program.


Brian and Diana Snape

Awarded for a significant long-term contribution to Environment Victoria and the Victorian environment movement.

Brian and Diana Snape were involved in the campaign to save the Little Desert in the late 1960s, and there’s a Trust for Nature Reserve named in their honour abutting the Little Desert National Park.

They have been donors, supporters, Board members, friends and wise advisors to Environment Victoria (and many of our allies) for five decades, and their story is featured at the beginning of our 50 year history book.


The Westernport Community

Awarded for resilience in the face of repeated attempts to destroy the local environment at Westernport.

The wetlands of Western Port Bay have been targeted for industrial development since the 1960s. There have been proposals for a nuclear reactor on French Island, an aluminium smelter, a container

terminal, and Shell Mobil’s oil import terminal.

Right now there are two threats. AGL has proposed a gas import terminal at Crib Point and another company, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, wants to convert brown coal to hydrogen and export it to Japan.

But again and again, the local community has fought off these developments – a remarkable achievement over many generations of activists. We’re giving this award to everyone involved in these Westernport campaigns, but we want to recognise a few who’ve made significant contributions:

  • Early founders of the Westernport and Peninsula Protection Council, including the late Meredith and Ken Hayes, plus long-standing members of the Council, including the late Dr Brian Cuming, and current member Karri Giles.
  • Jeff Nottle from The Phillip Island Conservation Society, who has also been prominent in the Preserve Western Port Action Group.
  • Graeme Burgan, who has previously campaigned with Surfriders and Phillip Island Conservation Society, and has been promoting the the environmental values of Westernport through his role as a ranger at Phillip Island Nature Parks for over 35 years.
  • And finally current members of Save Westernport who are campaigning today against the AGL gas import terminal.

There are dozens of other groups involved. Thank you to everyone.

2014, 2016 & 2018 Election Campaign Volunteers

Awarded for putting the environment and climate on the agenda in Victoria.

Way back in 2010, when the Baillieu government took office in Victoria, we faced many extraordinary attacks on the environment including restrictions on wind farms, cattle in Alpine National Park, scrapping climate targets and keeping Hazelwood power station open. We realised we

could win outcomes with progressive governments but we couldn’t keep them when governments changed. We needed people power – organised people to take on organised money, especially in the places that matter at election time.

Some key volunteers have been part of this long-term strategy to organise in Melbourne’s south-east and east, building support for the environment in the lead-up to elections. It’s been committed, difficult work – many thousands of hours of doorknocking, street stalls, phone calls and creative activism – and we want to thank them again with this award.

We want to acknowledge the work of these groups: South Eastern Environment Network (SEEN), Southies, EV Westside and Eastern Action for the Environment (EAFE).

And the following individuals who have been involved since the beginning of our community organising work: Martin Powell, Tony Lunken, Teresa Hicks, Bill Hicks, Dave Archer, Ingrid De Neve, Mark Wallace, Lance Lessels, Bruce Cutts, Pip Coulthurst, Andy Parsons, Gwynedd Davies, Robin Baillie, Gabriella Hont, Elaine Smith, Marianne Conn and Angela Gill.

We’d also like to thank more recent groups involved in elections – Repower North East and our Network Support Team (NEST).