Rob de Fégely (FB’74)

Rob was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for significant service to the forestry industry through business and advisory roles. A former President of the Old Geelong Grammarians Association (2009-2011), Rob is passionate about conservation and forestry. He has been Co-Chair of the Australian Government’s Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) since 2014 and is also Chairman of Sustainable Timber Tasmania; a Government Business Enterprise that manages the publicly owned forests in Tasmania. He has been involved with the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) for many years and served as a Director from 2012-2018 and National President from 2012-2017. Rob started his forestry career working on a softwood plantation in the Bombala region of south-eastern New South Wales in the early 1980s and has since worked with National Parks and Wildlife Services, and as a consultant across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He is Founding Director of Margules Groome Consulting, which acts as an independent consultant to the forestry, wood products, bio solutions, pulp/paper and agriculture sectors. Ross Hampton, CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), described Rob as a “moderate voice of reason in the sometimes less than reasonable forestry debates”. “Rob is a learned forester who has for decades displayed a strong public service ethic, taking leadership roles in important bodies and helping shape the future of Australia’s sustainable forest industries,” Mr Hampton said. In a recent interview with The Wimmera Mail Times, Rob expressed his concerns that local forests “are degrading in front of me”. “We have areas with no forests but a lot of scrub which builds up and explodes,” he said. “It’s happening because we don’t manage our forests. They are overstocked and suffering and not the home to wildlife that they should be. The two biggest threats to native wildlife are feral animals and fires, which I suspect is the bigger threat. For 60,000 years, the Indigenous people managed the land with fire.” Rob is a strong advocate for “cool burning” and is a critic of “locking up” National Parks. “We don’t do ongoing monitoring and checking of National Parks. Let’s have a more dynamic management system. It’s about the whole landscape; we can't manage it for one species.”


Frank Austin (Cu'58)

Captain Frank Austin (Cu’58) received the NSW RFS Australian Fire Service Medal as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for almost 60 years of service to the NSW Rural Fire Service and his community. Frank joined the Mundarlo Fire Brigade in 1960, has been President since 2003 as well as being a Captain.

According to the NSW RFS, Frank has always endeavoured to respond to fire related calls and other incidents. The Mundarlo Brigade is situated adjacent to the Hume Highway, south of Gundagai, and is a busy brigade responding to motor vehicle accidents. He has worked tirelessly to ensure the Mundarlo RFB continues to have an active and motivated membership that is able to respond to needs of the community. “Captain Austin’s commitment and dedication to the NSW RFS and community service is recognised by his peers both within and external to the agency,” the NSW RFS website states. He works closely with the Fire Control Centre to monitor conditions to the southern extremity of South West Slopes Zone and is a strong advocate of volunteer training.

Frank remains an active member of the Rural Fire Service and attended the Dunns Road fire for its duration in January this year. More than 600 firefighters attended that particular fire which began west of Adelong and engulfed more than 300,000 hectares of land.