Media Release Marine Conservation

AMCS Patron and literary great Tim Winton awarded Order of Australia

June 11, 2023

Australian Marine Conservation Society Chief Executive Darren Kindleysides congratulates Patron Tim Winton on his fully deserved appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to literature and to environmental advocacy”.

Mr Kindleysides said: “The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement. Tim Winton has done both in spades. Mr Winton is one of Australia’s greatest writers as well as a dedicated conservationist. His appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia is so utterly deserved.

“Mr Winton is a beloved, respected and decorated writer, who has penned novels, children’s books, non-fiction and short stories, and along the way picked up the country’s top award for novels, the Miles Franklin, an equal-record four times.

“Mr Winton writes about Australians’ relationships with the coast and the ocean like no other, as seen through such books as ShallowsBreath and Blueback. Through his work, both written word and through film adaptations of his books, Mr Winton continues to bring Australia’s unique ‘blue backyard’ into the minds and focus of people in Australia and around the world.

“Not only does Mr Winton shine a light on our oceans through his writing, he actively campaigns for their protection. This is perhaps no better shown than in the recent spectacular ABC documentary Ningaloo Nyinggulu, which Mr Winton wrote, narrated and was executive producer. He entertains, he educates and he campaigns for this unique part of Western Australia, his home state.

“Mr Winton has been the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Patron since 2006 – almost two decades of service – but he is far more than a figurehead; he has actively worked alongside us on many of our campaigns.

“He has spoken publicly and written numerous articles at important moments for critical conservation programs and campaigns we have run. His contributions have helped to secure improved protection for the Great Barrier Reef, to end whaling in the Southern Ocean, to protect Australia’s threatened shark species, to advance the case for an overhaul of Australia’s environmental laws and to establish a national network of marine parks around the country.

“He was instrumental in the campaign by AMCS and other conservation groups to protect Ningaloo from inappropriate development, increase levels of protection, and win World Heritage status in 2011. Mr Winton is also the Patron for Protect Ningaloo, an alliance hosted by AMCS fighting to protect Exmouth Gulf from industrialisation.

“In 2002, he donated all his prize money from the Western Australian Premier’s Award to the Save Ningaloo campaign.”

Protect Ningaloo Director Paul Gamblin, who has campaigned with Mr Winton for 20 years, said: “Tim has been an indefatigable ally in the multiple campaigns we’ve waged for Ningaloo and beyond, and to this day he hasn’t lost an ounce of determination and passion. I know that there will be a great wave of support for Tim receiving this honour.”