Blog | 29th Nov, 2019

Thank you! 50 years of protecting Victoria’s environment

This year is our 50th anniversary, and we're celebrating some big achievements.

This year marks our 50th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with a film and book telling the story of groundbreaking campaigns for our rivers, wildlife, forests and climate.

Imagine a nuclear power station on French Island in Westernport Bay, or 23 coal power stations polluting the Latrobe Valley. Picture the Grampians logged and smoldering, and the Snowy River completely dried up.

These were all real threats over the last 50 years that were stopped by collective action – thank you! And while there’s always more to do, we should celebrate what we’ve achieved together because it can inform and inspire campaigns to come.

This is the thinking behind a project that documents our history – scroll down for the timeline and an online version of our 50th Anniversary book.

Some of the stories will come as a surprise. Did you know Environment Victoria was infiltrated by logging industry spies in the 1990s? Others show remarkable foresight – Environment Victoria has been arguing for a transition to sustainable industries in the Latrobe Valley since 1986.

With the benefit of hindsight, patterns emerge. For example, since the 1970s the wetlands of Westernport have been threatened by proposals for a power station, an oil terminal and now AGL’s gas import terminal. Each time we’ve worked with community groups to fend them off.

Over the decades, Environment Victoria has weathered hostile governments and powerful corporate opponents. There have been wins and loses, moments of heartbreak and exhilaration. The environment is central to this story, but so are the people who have worked to protect and preserve it. That’s why we’ve focused on their personal stories – we hope you enjoy them.


Key moments – 50 years of Environment Victoria

1969 – Inspired by the fight to save the Little Desert, representatives of 76 diverse conservation groups create a new organisation as a united voice for Victoria’s environment, called the Conservation Council of Victoria (CCV).

1984 – Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) opens, following concerted campaigning by the CCV and partners.

1994 – CCV changes its name to Environment Victoria, raising the organisation’s profile and reflecting a broader range of campaigns.

1996 – Leaded petrol withdrawn after many years of campaigning by Environment Victoria and other groups, an important win for community health.

1997 – Shell-Mobil abandons plans to import oil in large tankers through Crib Point in Western Port Bay, after persistent campaigning from Environment Victoria and local groups.

2000 – With local activists in East Gippsland, Environment Victoria secures water to get the Snowy River flowing again.

2005 – Environment Victoria begins annual ‘Walk Against Warming’, Melbourne’s first big climate change protests.

2012 – With other groups, Environment Victoria secures the Murray-Darling Basin Plan with up to 3200 billion litres of water recovered for the river system.

2017 – After years of hard-fought campaigning by Environment Victoria, Hazelwood power station is closed, with $310 million in government transition funding allocated to the Latrobe Valley community.

Want to see the full list of achievements? Read the book >>

Read our history book