Felicity Wishart – Farewell to a conservation hero


Photo AMCS

Felicity Wishart – conservation hero. Photo AMCS

The conservation movement has been devastated by the sudden death of Felicity Wishart – in many ways the heart and soul of the Great Barrier Reef campaign, and for thirty years a passionate worker for the environment and inspirational leader of many campaigns to protect the places we love, on land and sea. Her qualities of warmth, integrity, strength and wisdom endeared her to all who knew her and one can barely imagine the depth of loss being felt by her family, friends and all her colleagues in the ‘conservation family’ especially those at AMCS and WWF with whom she was working so closely.

The following tribute comes from AMCS.

Vale Felicity Wishart – Australia loses a true hero for the environment

The Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Australian environmental movement is in mourning over the sudden and unexpected loss of Felicity ‘Flic’ Wishart who passed away in her sleep on Sunday night aged 49.

Flic was one of Australia’s leading conservationists and was a great and inspiring champion for the planet, the cause she dedicated her life to.

For thirty years Flic played a fundamental role in many of the key environmental campaigns in Australia.

Flic was a leader of seminal campaigns to protect the rainforests, to stop land clearing in Queensland, to confront the threat of climate change and national campaigns to protect the marine environment through the creation of a national network of marine protected areas and in her last, greatest and yet unfinished campaign, to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

She was a hugely influential force in the Australian environmental movement working at the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Queensland Conservation Council, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Marine Conservation Society to tremendous effect. She mentored and inspired many newer campaigners, especially up and coming women in the environment movement.

None worked harder, with as much grace and achieved as many results to protect our heritage. As a leader she combined great warmth and humility, with an ability to understand and fearlessly challenge powerful forces that threatened our heritage.

All Australians, whether they realise it or not, owe a debt of gratitude for her work. We are all beneficiaries of her life and work.

As campaign director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Fight for the Reef campaign she spearheaded the work that has led to a massive increase in protection for the Great Barrier Reef over the last three years.  

She was a beloved mentor and guide, friend and confidant, inspiration and leader, mother and partner. Her intelligence, warmth, wisdom and energy are irreplaceable.

For someone with so much love and time for others it is now that we must continue her work to make Australia a better place for all.

Her legacy will endure. Her fight is our fight.  

Our hearts are with her family, including her partner and two young sons at this tragic time.

A memorial gathering for Felicity will be held on Sunday 9th June in Brisbane and it is likely some form of memorial fund will be established, while Greens Senator Larissa Waters has promised that a speech honouring Felicity will be made in Federal parliament. The greatest way to honour her work and her spirit will surely be for all of us to redouble our efforts to protect and preserve our precious natural heritage. We were indeed blessed to have someone of Felicity’s calibre fighting so tenaciously in the conservation arena and will forever be in her debt.

The following links will take you to a few of the many other tributes that have been made to this brightest of stars by some of those who knew her bestWWF Australia, Queensland Conservation Council, and the Australian Greens.

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