History, Origins & Patrons
In 1958, a report was released by the Victorian Government which stated that the Pacific Black Duck could become extinct in as little as 10 years. This report was a surprise, but even more surprising was who rallied to its defence and conservation: hunters.
Concerned hunters united to present a voice on field shooting and game management, and the Victorian Field & Game Association was formed. One of the first tasks set for the fledgling Association was to lobby for a licensing system for Victoria’s hunters. Hunting licences were introduced in Victoria in 1959, at the cost of £1.
The licensing system raised over £34,000 in its first year (or approximately $910,000 in today’s money). This new revenue source allowed the government to conduct research into the cause of the Pacific Black Duck’s declining numbers. Then, as now, the loss of habitat was the cause. Massive drainage programs across Victoria were removing the shallow lignum and cumbungi swamps that the ducks called home. With this problem identified, the continuing revenue from game licences was used to acquire wetland habitat across the state, with a view to restore, preserve and maintain these habitats.
Over time, the Association has grown, and in 1998 the Victorian Field & Game Association changed its identity to Field & Game Australia. As well as a new name, Field & Game Australia modernised its constitution, and updated the Association’s aims and objectives to assist in the future of the organisation.
Hunting and conservation may appear incompatible at first glance, but with the origins of Field & Game Australia closely linked to wetland habitat preservation, conservation and restoration, it is no surprise that the ethics of sustainable hunting, caring for our wetlands and ensuring a future for our waterfowl has continued to be a focus for Field & Game Australia.
Field & Game Australia members play an active role in our wetland habitats and waterfowl conservation. Our members are proud to undertake voluntary projects, such as remedial water control, seed collection and revegetation; pest and feral animal control; nest box and breeding programs; fencing; weeding; waterfowl population surveys; wetland health consultation; and contributing to wildlife research.
Hunters have an obligation to continue playing an active role in the management of habitat and wildlife resources. Nest box and breeding programs help grow waterfowl populations, and the wetland conservation efforts ensure that the waterfowl have suitable habitat for nesting, breeding and feeding throughout the year. The short harvest season is just the end result of the contributions made by hunters.
Field & Game Australia has been privileged to have individuals of considerable standing and wisdom as its Patrons over the past 60 years:
- Major General Sir Rohan Delacombe KCMG, KBE, CB, DSO, KStJ (25 October 1906 – 10 November 1991), Governor of Victoria.
- The Honourable Sir Henry Bolte, KCMG, GCMG, MLA (20 May 1908 – 4 January 1990), Premier of Victoria.
- The Honourable Sir Arthur Rylah, CMG, ED, KBE, MLA (3 October 1909 – 20 September 1974), Chief Secretary, Deputy Premier of Victoria.
- Lieutenant General Sir William Bridgeford, KBE, CB, MC (28 July 1894 – 21 September 1971).
- The Honourable Sir Rupert Hamer, AC, KCMG, ED, MLA (29 July 1916 – 23 March 2004), Chief Secretary, Premier of Victoria.
- The Honourable Mr Tom Austin (24 September 1923 –1 June 2002).
- Professor Grahame Webb, BSc (Hons), PhD.
- The Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser, AC, CH, GCL (21 May 1930 – 20 March 2015), Prime Minister of Australia.
- Mr David Hawker, MHR, AO.
- Mr Max Downes
Mission and Values
Field & Game Australia’s mission is to be the most effective organisation in the promotion of hunting, recreational shooting and habitat conservation.
Our values are:
- Specifically sustain, enhance and nurture responsible activities of members.
- Encourage, promote and practice the active conservation of game and habitat, and to undertake education and training of members to achieve that goal.
- Cooperate with government agencies and landholders in the promotion of game hunting in an orderly and accepted manner, and to respect the privilege of gun ownership.
- Promote public understanding and acceptance of our activities and to cooperate with other bodies which may have similar objectives.
- Unite field sportsmen in the respect of game and habitat, to promote good sportsmanship through supervised shooting ranges, target shooting and, where appropriate, to conduct local, state and national events to encourage the sport and stimulate participants to excel in their chosen pastime.