Welcome to the Home Page of
The John Sinclair Trust for Conservation

John Sinclair, one of Australia's leading nature conservationists, has lead the fight to save Fraser Island since 1971 when he founded the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation. Since then he has headed all of FIDO's campaigns since to cease sandmining, to get World Heritage recognition and simultaneously to stop logging and to improve the management of recreation on the island. His battles with former Queensland Premier, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, since 1971 over this issue are well documented. He has been active in monitoring the use of the island to ensure that FIDO’s aim of the “wisest use of Fraser Island’s natural resources” is being achieved.

Despite his age he remains active in the conservation movement particularly in the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation where his latest project is getting volunteers to extend Fraser Island Great Walk by build a 52 kilometre long George Haddock Track.

He was named "Australian of the Year" for 1976 for his leading role in protecting Fraser Island. In 1990 he was honoured by the United Nations Environment Program by being named in the Global 500. He was awarded the prestigious international Goldman Environmental Prize in 1993.

His sons share his passion for the environment. In 1999 John and his 4 sons walked the length of Fraser Island (approx. 160km/100miles) to celebrate his 60th birthday and explore remote parts of the Island. In 2009 to mark his 70th Birthday his four sons again joined him in a seven day walk through Cooloola before the Cooloola Great Walk was opened.

John has done many Overseas Study Tours, you can find reports and diarys on Overseas Study Tours

John Sinclair Portait



John has been pioneering ecotourism in Australia since 1968, leading over 400 safaris. For 20 years he only led safaris for the voluntary conservation movement to help environmentalists have access to places, which they wanted to protect. During that time he was employed as an organizer of adult education.

He helped FIDO become an Australian pioneer in ecotourism back in 1971 when he began conducting safaris to enable people to see and appreciate the values of Fraser Island. These were the first of hundreds of safaris to the island designed to educate, to monitor activities on the island, to recruit supporters and to help finance FIDO’s campaigns.

Based on this experience in 1988 he established a new career when he began GO BUSH Safaris to become Australia’s World Heritage specialist. Over 22 years until GO BUSH ceased offering commercial safaris it enabled Sinclair to annually visit most Australian World Heritage areas and major national parks in all Australian states. Over the last 25 years enabled him to see more of Australia from the ground than almost any other Australians.

His involvement in informal education since 1960 helped develop his style for providing excellent commentary and information on the places to be visited. In 1988, he began his own GO BUSH Safaris as a full time career. He personally led all GO BUSH Safaris to almost every corner of Australia. This long experience has helped him develop a flexible, relaxed, management style.

In 2000 at the invitation of a fellow Goldman Prize winner John went to Thailand to help kick-start true Ecotourism amongst the hill tribes. It also resulted in him subsequently adding World Heritage destinations in South East Asia to his GO BUSH program.


He is the author of a number of article, books and other publications about both Fraser Island and Cooloola. Since retiring from safari operations in mid 2010 he has focused on recording some of his experiences and observations gathered during his extensive travels particularly in Australia.

Children's Stories 2007 - With travel exciting to provide inspiration and grandchildren demanding to be told stories in 2005 John began to create at least one children’s story from every safari. Thus began this project which he hopes gives others much pleasure in relating as he experienced in preparing and presenting. The volume of stories thus keeps growing.

John has been invited to present papers and reports for many issues relating to the voluntary conservation movement.

Conservation History

He has served in executive positions in Australian voluntary conservation bodies at the local, state and federal level taking an interest in the whole spectrum of environmental matters.

1967 - 1978 Hon Secretary, Maryborough Moonaboola Branch, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Inc.
1968 Led Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland's first safari to Fraser Island
1971 - 1983 Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, President and Chief Executive Officer.
1971 - 1988 Led regular safaris to Fraser Island and increasingly to a diversity of areas around Australia for the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation.
1973 Delegate and organizing committee for the First National Conservation Study Conference, Canberra.
1975 - 1989 Councillor, Australian Conservation Foundation, (including Vice President and Executive member and Convenor of Natural Environment and Wildlife Policy and Publications Committees for several years).
1976 "The Australian" Newspaper's AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR.
1977 Personally organized 7 week study tour of the voluntary conservation movement in United States, Canada, France, Switzerland and Britain.
1978 - 1987 Member, Commission Environmental Planning of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
1978 - 1985 President, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Inc.
1981 Delegate to 13th General Assembly IUCN, Christchurch.
1982 Delegate to Third World Parks Congress, Bali.
1982 - 1983 President, Australian Committee of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
1983 - Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, Honorary Project Officer and chief executive officer.
1983 - 1984 Member of Consultative Committee National Conservation Strategy.
1984 - 1985 Member of Commonwealth Government's Rainforest Working Group.
1987 - 1991 Member of Management Committee, Total Environment Centre.
1988 - In conjunction with GO BUSH Safaris untertook a progressive program of visisting all major national parks and World Heritage areas in each Australian state and territory to observe management both from the viewpoint of a conservation advocate and from the park visitors perspective.
1990 United Nations Environment Program "Global 500" Laurette.
1990 Delegate to 18th General Assembly IUCN, Perth.
1990 Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
1992 - 1994 President, Outdoor Tour Operators Association of New South Wales.
1992 - Conservation representative on the Great Sandy Region Community Advisory Committee.
1993 Engaged as consultant to the South African Campaign for St. Lucia group to advise on measures to protect the St. Lucia region of northern Natal and the most biologically important estuary on the African continent.
1993 Winner of 1993 Goldman Environmental Prize for Island Nations.
1993 Study tour of heavily used US World Heritage areas and National Parks to discover what lessons in management Australian managers could learn.
1996 World Heritage Area Managers workshop, Cairns and Ravenshoe.


John is a Director of http://www.austrop.org.au/ Australian Tropical Research Foundation, a non-profit body designed to promote and provide research opportunities in Australia's threatened lowland Tropical rainforests and coastal areas of Queensland’s Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef.

John was instrumental in organizing and participating in the efforts of conservationists and the Bunuba people to stop a dam on Bandrarl Ngadu (the Fitzroy River). John's friend, Willigan invited several people including Bob Brown and John to join him and his mob in canoeing part of the great wild river. Spectacular photos and a better appreciation of this magnificent area resulted.

In the early 2000s John extended his GO BUSH operations into Papua New Guinea. This led him to organize cruises along the northern coastline of PNG and up the Sepik River and another cruise 400 kms up the mighty Fly River. Safarists were so distressed at the poor conditions for teaching and education that they spontaneously subscribed to a fund to help provide better resources for some of the schools. This developed into the PNG Community Development Trust that aims to deliver support and supplies to disadvantaged schools known to the Trust.

The other of John's current passions is interest in the urgent need to address the pressures of our already to large and quickly expanding population. John is a member of Sustainable Population Australia and it keen to see a cap placed on exponential growth.

Address: 1/32 Weston Street, Coorparoo, Qld, 4151, Australia
Email: john@sinclair.org.au
Occupation: Environmental Activist and Writer