A recognized lover of the land

Former Warrenbayne farmer Pam Robinson has worked in meeting rooms in many parts of Australia and influenced environmental issues in various landscapes, but she hasn’t forgotten the starry nights and changing seasons of the foothills from Strathbogie.

Ms Robinson, 76, was recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honors, with an Australian Medal (AM) for significant service to conservation and the environment, and to the community.

Ms Robinson said she was honored to receive the award and that she hoped people would see it as recognition of the organizations she had been associated with.

She was Violet Town’s first female councilor and the first and only female county chairperson for the town that eventually merged with Strathbogie Shire.

Ms Robinson came from Ireland apparently for a working holiday in 1963, but fell in love with the country and moved to Australia, marrying an Australian and running a fine wool business in Warrenbayne.

She became concerned about the land in the 1970s when she noticed that patches of land, devoid of vegetation, began to appear in the area.

The sheep rolled on the bare ground and then licked the fleece.

She had discovered an emerging problem with the salinity of drylands.

Ms Robinson went on a mission to find out what was going on in the landscape and, through contacts with the Soil Conservation Authority and support from neighboring farmers, helped develop a local land management plan.

The management plan turned into Landcare when the organization was still emerging in Victoria.

Ms Robinson – a founding and life member of the Warrenbayne-Boho Land Protection Group and a member of Australian Landcare International / Global Landcare – remembers those days fondly and still wonders how they were able to bring the community together, make deputations, implement the work and still operate their farms.

She joined the Boho Fire Department and remained a member for 21 years.

“One of the best things I learned was how to back up a trailer,” she recalls. “It lasted a lifetime!”

Ms. Robinson was keenly aware in the 1990s that many women did not have the opportunity to serve in public life and worked hard to gain support for those who wanted to serve.

She was recognized for her work by the Australian Local Government Women’s Association – Victoria, which made her a life member, and she continued to be involved in the Northern Territory branch of the association between 2011 and 2016.

Ms Robinson also admitted that she benefited from being surrounded by “good men” in her life.

She received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1990.

The Warrenbayne farm was sold in 2000, a year after the death of her husband, David.

She pursued other work in Melbourne and further studies, and then got an offer for a six-month position on Darwin City Council. He became a Climate Change and Environment manager from 2008 to 2011.

She had been charmed by the area on a previous visit – “it was just breathtaking” – so jumped at the chance, and the semester turned into nine years.

Now retired and living in Melbourne, Ms Robinson still has a few current jobs and volunteers.

His advice to younger people is to consider volunteer work.

“Find something that interests you and join it. You will meet new, interesting people and learn so much.

“When you give time to something or someone else, you get more than you give.

“I have been fortunate to work with a lot of good people.

Some positions of Pam Robinson:

Land maintenance:

● Founding Member and Life Member, Warrenbayne-Boho Land Protection Group, Victoria.

● Member, Australian Landcare International / Global Landcare (current).

● Member, Oral History Committee, Landcare Victoria, since 2016.

● Member, Rapid Creek Landcare Group NT (current).

● Member, Friends of Fogg Dam NT (current).

● Member, National Advisory Committee on Land Maintenance, 1993-1996.

Environment:

● Co-founder, International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC) 2005.

● Member, End User Reference Committee, National Center for Research on Climate Change Adaptation (NCCARF), 2014-2018.

● Petitioner, Monster Climate Petition, 2014.

● Member, Darwin Harbor Advisory Board, 2009-2011.

● Member, Ministerial Reference Council for Climate Change Adaptation, 2007-2009, Victoria.

● Director, Parks Victoria Board, 2000-2006.

● Chairman, Independent Community Engagement Group, River Murray Environmental Flows and Water Quality Project, 2002-2003.

● Member, Land Conservation Council, Victoria, 1995-1997.

Community:

● Ambassador, Honor a Woman, since 2017.

● Member, Victorian Women’s Trust (currently).

● Life Member, Government House Foundation of the Northern Territory.

● Life member, Benalla Regional Art Gallery, Victoria.

● Life Member, Koorie Heritage Trust Victoria.

● Chairman, Northern Territory Board, Volunteering SA&NT, 2014.

● Member, Ministerial Advisory Council for Victorian Seniors, 2004-2006.

● Non-Governmental Representative, Australian Government Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, New York, 2002.

● Volunteer, Country Fire Authority, Boho Brigade, 21 years old.

● Australian Local Government Women’s Association – Victoria, life member, 1992.

● Australian Local Government Women’s Association – Northern Territory: committee member, 2015-2016; editor-in-chief of the newsletter, 2011-2015; president, 2012-2014; treasurer, 2011; Ambassador of the Northern Territory, Year of Women in Local Government, 2010; founding member, 2006.

Professional:

● Strategic Environmental and Climate Change Planner, City of Palmerston NT, 2011-2015.

● Manager, Climate Change and Environment, Darwin City Council, 2008-2011.

● Victorian Facilitator, Australian Government Natural Resources Management Team, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2006-2008.

● Senior Consultant, Robinson Consulting, 1993-2006.

● Forest community coordinator, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 1996-2000.

● Joint Consultant, Development of Landcare New Zealand, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, New Zealand, 1992.


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