Martin Copley, 1940 - 2014
It is with great sadness that we report that Martin Copley, our Founder and Chairman for nearly 15 years, passed away in Perth after a short illness on 30 July.
Martin’s quest to save Australia’s threatened wildlife began in the early 1990’s when he purchased a block of land which became AWC’s first sanctuary - Karakamia. After building one of Australia’s first fox and cat-free fences around Karakamia, Martin successfully reintroduced several threatened mammals including Woylies and Tammar Wallabies. Inspired by the success at Karakamia, Martin funded the acquisition of a further four sanctuaries - Paruna, Mt Gibson, Faure Island and the 312,000 hectare Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kimberley.
By the turn of the century, Martin’s vision had extended to the establishment of a national, non-profit organisation that could help lead the way in reversing Australia’s extinction crisis. To this end, Martin launched Australian Wildlife Conservancy in 2001. AWC is now the largest owner and manager of land for conservation in Australia, protecting endangered wildlife across 3 million hectares in places like the Top End, Cape York, central Australia and the south-west. Under Martin’s leadership, AWC sanctuaries grew to protect over 80% of Australia’s native bird species and 67% of our native mammal species including some of the largest remaining populations of species like the Numbat and the Bilby. AWC is now supported by thousands of people around Australia who share Martin’s passion for our native wildlife and his determination to prevent further extinctions.
In 2010, Martin was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to conservation and the environment. Few, if any, Australians have done more to protect Australia’s wildlife.
Earlier this year, Martin’s daughter – Sophie Chamberlain – joined the Board of AWC. All of us at AWC are committed to honouring Martin’s work, and building on his remarkable legacy, by continuing to deliver effective conservation for Australia’s endangered wildlife.
- Letter from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
- Freedom with fences - The West Australian - September 2014
- Listen to Martin Copley's interview with Geoff Hutchinson - Who are You? Martin Copley - 720 ABC Perth - March 2013
- Inspire: Martin Copley - The Australian - August 2008
- Into the breach – The AFR Magazine - July 2005
- Millionaire conservationist - George Negus Tonight - April 2004
- Saving the environment is too important to be left to governments by Martin Copley - SMH - November 2004
- Private fortune spent on conservation ideal - The West Australian - December 2002
- Endangered species find island haven – The Australian - June 2002
- The privatisation of preservation - Business News - June 2002
- Wildlife group enters the big league – SMH - April 2002
- A natural inspiration - The Sunday Times - April 2002
- Capturing the moment - Countryman - April 2002
- Copley's eco chamber a resounding success - The Age - January 2002
- Private conservation group expands animal kingdom - The Australian - January 2002
- More mammals off to sanctuary - The Geraldton Guardian - October 2001
- Reinheriting the Earth - The West Magazine - September 1999