Cassowary Awards Celebrate Champions

Named after the north’s iconic big bird, the Cassowary Awards  celebrate community stewardship of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. With this global asset on their doorstep, Wet Tropics residents and organisations are a vital force in managing the Area’s natural and cultural landscape and in presenting its values to visitors and international audiences.  

 The Awards’ eight categories recognise the many ways that individuals and groups care for the Wet Tropics. Leading up to the event, there was an incredible diversity of nominations from across the Wet Tropics.

 Wet Tropics Management Authority Board Chair Leslie Shirreffs said, “The number of high-calibre nominees shows the exceptional level of commitment that people in our community have to protecting and presenting the World Heritage Area.

 “They are all deserving of recognition for their outstanding contributions—each and every one of them makes the Wet Tropics a richer place”, Ms Shirreffs added.

 A special ‘Chair’s Award’ was presented to Ron and Pam Birkett in appreciation of their contribution to the World Heritage Area spanning almost 30 years. As founders of the Daintree Discovery Centre (which they sold earlier this year) Ron and Pam have been leaders in the field of sustainable tourism, advancing the conservation and presentation of the World Heritage Area. They supported the Cassowary Awards for many years as sponsors of the Young Cassowary Award, and have played a valuable role by their participation in numerous consultative groups.

 Ms Shirreffs made special mention of the many organisations who partnered with the Authority to sponsor the Awards. “The support given, by both government and private sectors, reflects their commitment to the unique natural and cultural landscape that is the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and their appreciation of those who contribute to it,” Ms Shirreffs said.

 Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch emphasised the importance of this corporate support in promoting the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area as a valuable regional asset. “This show of commitment to our World Heritage Area helps build a sense of pride in our surrounds and encourages everyone to follow in the footsteps of the terrific people we saw recognised at the Cassowary Awards,” Mr Entsch said.

See below the list of winners.

Category                                                                       Winners

1. Conservation and rehabilitation - 

the Thorsborne Award for community conservation                Kuranda Envirocare

2. Tourism and presentation                                              Malanda Falls Visitor Centre

3. Innovation                                                                  Australian Quoll Conservancy

4. Education                                                                   Dr Miriam Goosem

5. Rainforest Aboriginal people - our country                        Jabalbina Rangers

6. Community champions                                                  Peter Rowles

7. Local government                                                        Douglas Shire Council

8. Young Cassowary Award                                              James Cook University Sustainability Club

9. Chair's Award                                                             Pam and Ron Birkett

See the individual profiles of each of the winners here

Information about all finalists will remain on display to the public at the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre until 18 December 2016.

For interviews and comments contact:

Mr Scott Buchanan, Executive Director, Wet Tropics Management Authority 

P: 4241 0501 M: 0427 604 120 E:

Ms Leslie Shirreffs, Board Chair, Wet Tropics Management Authority

P: 0407 646 954, E:



Cassowary Awards Celebrate Champions

Published: 05th Dec 2016

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