The Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation has been established to honour the late Warren Bonython AO, founder of the Heysen Trail, and well known for his active role in supporting the natural environment in South Australia. The Foundation aims to raise funds to support and undertake environmental initiatives associated with the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails or environmental areas in South Australia.
The objects of the Foundation include:
- the protection and enhancement of the natural environment on and adjacent to the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails in South Australia;
- promoting ecologically sustainable use and development of the natural environment on and adjacent to the Heysen Trail and other significant trails in South Australia through the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources including infrastructure and maintenance activities that will contribute to the ecological integrity of the trails by minimising the environmental impact of walkers, hikers and other users of the trails;
- promoting the conservation of biodiversity of the natural environment on and adjacent to the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails in South Australia;
- providing for the protection and conservation of heritage aspects of the natural environment on and adjacent to the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails in South Australia;
- promoting the knowledge and awareness of walkers, hikers and other users of the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails in South Australia regarding the natural environment of such trails and the environmentally responsible use of such trails including the protection and preservation of the health, biological diversity and ecological integrity of the trails and adjacent areas;
- promoting the community’s role in the management and monitoring of native vegetation and the protection of the natural environment including community skills, knowledge and engagement;
- promoting a co-operative approach to the protection and management of the natural environment on and adjacent to the Heysen Trail and other significant walking trails in South Australia including co-operation and liaison with any government departments and authorities responsible for the protection of the environment and conservation of biodiversity;
- raising and investing funds to be applied towards the promotion of the objects of the Foundation and seeking sponsorship and patrons to promote the objects of the Foundation; and
- establishing and maintaining a public fund for the specific purpose of supporting the environmental objects and purposes of the Foundation
Warren was born in Adelaide and his name is synonymous with bushwalking in South Australia. He has however walked extensively in a number of different parts of the world. He began bushwalking while living in Melbourne during the 1940s, heading out into the Dandenong Ranges, and then north into the Cathedral Ranges, with his wife Bunty at his side. Perhaps it was the experience of climbing a challenging ridge on a stormy day, gale-force winds buffeting them with horizontal rain, that decided Bunty against continuing to walk in her husband’s boot prints, or maybe it was their first-born baby waiting at home with her sister. Whatever the reason, Bunty was happy to support Warren in his adventurous life by providing moral support, looking after their three children, and ‘keeping the home fires burning’ while he tramped through far-afield landscapes, including walking the length of the McDonnell Ranges, the Larapinta Trail and Lake Eyre in the Northern Territory; Northern India to the border of Kashmir; and the Sierra Club’s annual high trek in Nevada. He climbed the mountains of Maui and walked through the craters. He first visited New Zealand in 1935 and of course, has done the Everest Trek. Then there was his Simpson Desert walk, 2500 kms, which he shared in his book Walking the Simpson Desert.
The Directors of the Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation are:
Neville Haar – Chairman
Neville Haar is a retired Civil Engineer and Project Manager with 40 years of experience in the planning, design and construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, water and wastewater infrastructure.
He is a member of the Friends of the Heysen Trail, Group Leader of the Hawthorn Scout Group, member and past president of the Mitcham Lions Club and a Life Member of Apex.
Richard Trembath – Company Secretary
Richard Trembath has a background in market research and strategic planning with a particular focus on tourism and travel. He is a past Vice President of the Friends of the Heysen Trail and a past Chair of the Friends Marketing and Membership Committee.
Robert Alcock is past President of the Friends of the Heysen Trail and has a long history of involvement with the Friends and the Trail as a Council member, walk leader and past Chair of the Marketing and Membership Committee.A former public servant, he managed the Adelaide office of the Australian Survey Office. Robert now runs his own business, STEP Marketing Services. He also enjoys photographing the Trail as he walks it.
Bill Gehling has a long association with walking in South Australia and was the foundation President of Walking SA. He is also involved in the leadership of Bushwalking Australia and is skilled in policy development. He makes a significant contribution to the strategic planning for the Foundation.
The Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation is supported by relationships with organisations that share its strategic goals.