Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Notes on the Colong Foundation's Directors

The vision of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness is

That all wilderness and large natural areas are respected, celebrated and protected within a broader sustainable and connected landscape. 

The mission is

We campaign to defend extend and promote the conservation of wilderness and other natural places.

John Robens, Chairperson is a web developer/technologist who has supported a number of environmental and progressive groups. Since the early 1990s John has worked with digital technologies including a range of sophisticated programming tasks and digital campaigning. John is a keen bushwalker, canyoner and sometimes climber. "There is nothing better than discovering a beautiful place through serendipity". John has been running a web development business since 2007 and has degrees in Science, Economics and a Masters of Business and Technology.

Alex AllchinVice Chairperson is a full time Mechanical Engineering student at the University of New South Wales. He has a strong interest in bushwalking is current the Tracks and Access Officer of Bushwalking NSW and serves on the committee of Sydney Bush Walkers. Alex's interest in Myles Dunphy's efforts to protect wilderness in NSW through map making and reserve proposals is what initally lead him to the Colong Foundation, and the important work which the foundation undertakes these days is what has kept him here.

Ian Tanner, Secretary, is a retired accountant/company secretary and businessman. In 1960 did FP8 at Outward Bound School Hawkesbury River NSW then joined UNSW Bushwalking Club. Currently Treasurer for REACH - Christian Education at Chatswood High School and Willoughby Girls High School. Supporter of The Leprosy Mission as a team member / prayer partner of a Missionary Committee. Member of Chatswood West Ward Progress Association. He strongly supports the preservation of Australia's natural wilderness heritage.

Bob Debus had a forty-year association with the Colong Foundation before joining the Board. He was member of parliament for the state electorate of Blue Mountains 1981-88 and 1995-2007 and for the federal electorate of Macquarie 2007/10. He was the State's longest serving Minister for Environment, holding the position while the Carr Government achieved a historic expansion of the national park estate and the area of declared wilderness. Over many years he worked closely with Colong to achieve the inscription of the Greater Blue Mountains on the list of World Heritage in the year 2000.

Janine Kitson​ began her journey as an environmentalist activist when she was elected a Ku-ring-gai Local Government Councillor in 2000. From this she learnt that legislation is the key to environmental protection.  Janine was then elected to the National Trust of Australia (NSW) Board in 2004. This gave her the opportunity to become active in the conservation of NSW's natural, built and cultural heritage.  It also led her to discover and be inspired by 'Wirrimbirra Flora & Fauna Sanctuary', Bargo, owned by the National Trust but managed by the David G. Stead Memorial Wild Life Research Foundation of Australia and which involved legendary pioneers of the environment movement such as Thistle Y. Harris, David G. Stead, Ivor Wyatt, Allen Strom, Milo Dunphy, Vincent Serventy and many more.  Janine's professional life has been dedicated to teaching and education, and has been the NSW Teachers Federation’s Representative to the National Parks Association (NSW) since 2004.  She publishes articles on the environment in the NSW Teachers Federation’s journal ‘Education’, which is read by over 60,000 teachers.

Rob Pallin  (Honorary interim treasurer) has been involved in conservation and bushwalking most of his life having first visited Blue Gum Forest at age five. Rob has been involved in national park management through NPWS advisory committees and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council where he chaired the management sub-committee. Rob has also been involved in bushfire management for ecological outcomes for many years and has chaired the NCC Bush Fire Advisory Committee for the last 18 years. Rob chaired the NCC for five years. Rob's wife Nancy has been involved in conservation especially bat conservation. Rob and Nancy and the family company Paddy Pallin also support conservation through the Paddy Pallin Foundation.

Patrick ThompsonHonorary Editor, has been a committee member since the 1970's and was chairperson for Colong between 1994 and 2007. Pat founded his Company Trekaway in 1973 which was a pioneering venture offering small group tours to National Parks in Australia and Overseas. After publishing "Myles Dunphy, Selected Writings, compiled and annotated by Patrick Thompson" in 1986, he decided to retire from his travel business and become a publisher. His new business was called Envirobook and it continues to publish and distribute books focusing on the environment and the natural world. Pat is the editor of 'The New Bush Telegraph' of the Shoalhaven region where he resides and is currently Assistant Editor of the Colong Bulletin. Pat also enjoys bushwalking.

Dr Haydn Washington is an environmental scientist, writer and activist of over 40 years experience, having worked in CSIRO, as an environmental consultant and as Research Manager of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute. He is Hon. Secretary of the Colo Committee that led the campaign for Wollemi NP in the 1970s, and has been Director and Acting CEO of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW. His is an Adjunct Lecturer at the PANGEA Research Centre, UNSW. He is the author of 6 books on the environment, including: ‘Ecosolutions’ (1991), ‘The Wilderness Knot’ (2009), ‘Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand’ (2011), ‘Demystifying Sustainability’ (2015), and ‘A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature’. He completed his PhD ‘The Wilderness Knot’ at the University of Western Sydney in 2007.

Sierra Classen is a Masters student at the University of Sydney, studying to be a primary school teacher. She is the Conservation Officer of Bushwalking NSW, the state’s peak bushwalking organisation, involved with the executive of the Sydney University Bushwalking Club and is also an honorary member of the Manning Valley Canoe Club. Sierra became active with the Colong Foundation in order to promote the protection of wilderness and the Gardens of Stone region on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. She is working to create strategies for collaboration between groups interested in promoting wilderness, advocating for sustainability, and being outdoors.

Tim Vollmer is a passionate bushwalker, canyoner, and conservationist. He has a background in journalism and currently works as a communications consultant, assisting not-for-profit organisations use the media as a campaign tool. He is passionate about the protection of Australia's unique flora, fauna, landscapes, and Indigenous heritage.

Alix Goodwin was elected to the board of Colong Foundation for Wilderness in 2019.  During 2017 and 2018 she was the CEO of the National Parks Association of NSW.  She was the Vice President of the Australian Plants Society NSW for four years from 2014 and was appointed to Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve Trust in the same year. Alix has a strong track record of achievements in the NSW government where she worked at a senior level in the human services for many years. She is currently working as a business development advisor for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. She is a Churchill Fellow and her professional qualifications are in social work and public health.

Alan Dixon is the honorary membership manager.


Henry Gold OAM, Honorary Photographer, arrived in Australia from Austria in 1955. He joined the Sydney Bushwalkers Club in 1956. He supported the infant environment movement and he has continued ever since as the Honorary Photographer of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. His work has been used to lobby Governments, in books, by the press, in campaign literature and conservation magazines. Henry's images have convinced many members of the public to become wilderness supporters. In 2006 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for "service to wilderness preservation through the use of photographic documentation".

Albert Renshaw, has been supporting community groups, in an honorary capacity, since 1960. These include the Scout and Guide organisations; a local sporting group; the University of NSW Speleological Society; and the Glebe Society. He also spent several years on four committees of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) for which he was awarded their silver medal for service. He has been honorary treasurer to Colong for twenty years.