20 years of conservation – Doug Humann

Published 21 Sep 2011 
Portrait photo of Doug HumannPhoto by Bec Walton

“There are some moments I will remember all my life: meeting my wife Jill for the first time; the birth of our three children; and star-filled nights under a big Australian sky.

Alongside those memories is a July night at a Brunswick cafe in 1999, when one woman changed the future of Bush Heritage forever.

I’d flown from Hobart to meet with this young woman, who was interested in supporting our work. We met in Smith Street, drinking coffee in the waning hours of a winter’s evening.


We talked for a while and then she reached into her bag and wrote a cheque. She told me she didn’t mind what Bush Heritage did with it, but she gave it in the hope that it would help us to become an organisation more than it was that day.

Carnarvon vistaCarnarvon Station Reserve. Photo: Wayne Lawler / Ecopix

She wanted her donation to remain anonymous and she didn’t much want to be thanked. I looked down at the cheque. It was for 1.3 million dollars.

“There I was, standing on the street with the cheque in my hand, unable to comprehend what had just happened.”

I was completely and utterly taken away. At the time, Bush Heritage was a small organisation struggling in a year-by-year existence. We owned less than 3000 hectares, had four staff and were operating on a shoestring budget.

Carnarvon vistaCarnarvon Station Reserve. Photo: Wayne Lawler / Ecopix

The woman got on her bicycle and rode off down the hill. There I was, standing on the street with the cheque in my hand, unable to comprehend what had just happened.

The gift was transformational for Bush Heritage. It allowed us to purchase Carnarvon Station Reserve, a 60,000-hectare property in central Queensland, which until then was beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations.

Until then, we had one staff member responsible for property assessments and land management of our then nine reserves. Now we had the resources to employ one person, full-time, just to manage this vast reserve.

Thankyou for 20 years of conservation

Carnarvon holds a special place in my heart. So many different  images come to mind when I think of it: the different shades of green; the chatter of birds and the dancing brolga; the glow of the grasslands as the sun sets and the dingoes start to howl.

Every time I visit Carnarvon, I reflect on the people who’ve helped to make it and Bush Heritage what we are today – our supporters, our staff and volunteers, and our partners.”

Carnarvon Station Reserve was acquired in 2001 with the assistance of the Australian Government’s National Reserve System program.

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