Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Notes on the Colong Foundation's Directors

The vision of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness is

That all wilderness and large natural areas are respected, celebrated and protected within a broader sustainable and connected landscape. 

The mission is

We campaign to defend extend and promote the conservation of wilderness and other natural places.


The Hon Robert Debus - Chairperson

Bob Debus was member of parliament for the state electorate of Blue Mountains 1981-88 and 1995-2007 and for the federal electorate of Macquarie 2007/10. He was the State's longest serving Minister for Environment, holding the position while the Carr Government achieved a historic expansion of the national park estate and the area of declared wilderness. Over many years he worked closely with Colong to achieve the inscription of the Greater Blue Mountains on the list of World Heritage in the year 2000.

Haydn Washington - Vice Chairman

Dr Haydn Washington is an environmental scientist and writer with a 40 year history in environmental science. Haydn’s long involvement with wilderness commenced in 1974 when he became secretary of the Colo Committee and was a leader in the campaign to create Wollemi NP. He was also part of the Franklin campaign of TWS Sydney, and worked in the NSW rainforest campaign (especially Washpool) and later in the South East Forests campaign. Haydn completed his PhD on ‘The Wilderness Knot’ in 2006 (on the confusion around the meaning of wilderness). He is a strong advocate of the ‘Nature Needs Half’ vision and is Colong’s representative on NNH. Haydn also writes extensively on ecological economics and ecological ethics, and was lead author of the ‘Statement of Commitment to Ecocentrism’ (see

Haydn is an Adjunct Lecturer in the PANGEA Research Centre, BEES, UNSW. His books include ‘Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand’ (2011 with John Cook), ‘Human Dependence on Nature’ (2013), ‘Demystifying Sustainability’ (2015), ‘A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature’ (2018) and ‘What can I do to Help Heal the Environmental Crisis?’ (2020). He is the co-editor of the 2019 book ‘Conservation: Integrating Social and Ecological Justice’ from Springer. Haydn is Co-Director of the NSW Chapter of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy, is a Director on the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Alix Goodwin - Secretary

Alix Goodwin was elected to the board of Colong Foundation for Wilderness in 2019 and is the Chair of the Governance Committee. During 2017 and 2018 she was the CEO of the National Parks Association of NSW. She was the Vice President of the Australian Plants Society NSW for four years from 2014 and was appointed to Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve Trust in the same year, a position she occupied for 5 years. Alix’s has spent much of her career working within the human services for the NSW government including at a senior level. She is currently working as a business development advisor for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. She is a Churchill Fellow (2014) and her professional qualifications are in social work and public health. Alix has lived in the lower Blue Mountains for the last 18 years and has a longstanding love of the Australian bush.

Robert Barri Pallin -  Treasurer

Rob Pallin has been involved in conservation and bushwalking most of his life having first visited Blue Gum Forest at age five. Rob has been involved in national park management through NPWS advisory committees and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council where he chaired the management sub-committee. Rob has also been involved in bushfire management for ecological outcomes for many years and has chaired the NCC Bush Fire Advisory Committee for the last 18 years. Rob chaired the NCC for five years. Rob's wife Nancy has been involved in conservation especially bat conservation. Rob and Nancy and the family company Paddy Pallin also support conservation through the Paddy Pallin Foundation.

Dr Kylie Cairns - Director

Dr Kylie Cairns is a conservation geneticist based at the University of New South Wales, who is passionate about conserving and understanding Australian native species. Much of her work to date has been on dingoes, studying their evolutionary history, genetic identity and modern patterns of hybridisation. Kylie enjoys bushwalking and camping and is driven by a desire to protect and expand the wilderness in NSW, particularly across National Parks. She is actively involved in advocating for increased protection of dingoes across Australia and ensuring that State Governments employ best practice wildlife management practices, to better protect our natural biodiversity.

Sierra Classen -  Director

Sierra Classen is a Masters student at the University of Sydney, studying to be a primary school teacher. She is the Conservation Officer of Bushwalking NSW, the state’s peak bushwalking organisation, involved with the executive of the Sydney University Bushwalking Club and is also an honorary member of the Manning Valley Canoe Club. Sierra became active with the Colong Foundation in order to promote the protection of wilderness and the Gardens of Stone region on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. She is working to create strategies for collaboration between groups interested in promoting wilderness, advocating for sustainability, and being outdoors.

Janine Kitson - Director

Janine Kitson has had a career in education, served as an elected Councillor on Ku-ring-gai Council (2000-2004) and has volunteered for the National Trust (NSW), National Parks Association, Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment, David G. Stead Memorial Wildlife Foundation, NSW Teachers Federation, Combined Retired Union Member Association and the Lithgow Environment Group. Since 2014 Janine has presented over 50 environmental history courses at WEA, Sydney.

Recently Janine has completed writing the Colong educational resource, in association with WEA, Sydney, 'Wombats, Wattle, Wilderness, World Heritage and Wellbeing' that celebrates the values of the wilderness and World Heritage.

Since joining the Colong Board in 2013, Janine has been active in promoting the Colong Foundation through talks, courses and presentations to groups that include the WEA, Sydney, University of Third Age, Probus and Rotary Clubs; and at history and ecotourism conferences.

Janine served as the Colong's Vice Chair from 2014-2019.

Joel Daniel Robinson - Director

Currently producing an Australian history program focused on the Blue Mountains, Joel has spent most of the past 25 years working in the region as a writer and filmmaker, including on two campaign films for the Colong Foundation (‘Australia’s Gardens of Stone’ and ‘Give A Dam: Flooding the Blue Mountains’) while also contributing to their marketing and distribution. A love of exploring this landscape and its heritage further reinforced an early interest in conservation- media, a combination he believes has never been more important in promoting awareness and action than it is today.

Following a childhood as a professional performing artist, experience at Sydney’s CAT TV editing studios (facilities used by numerous activist filmmakers during the 1990s) and time advertising for the Wilderness Society encouraged Joel to develop the broad production skills required to tell stories both educational and entertaining as well as an understanding of how these stories may achieve the greatest possible public impact.

Joel's previous roles, his passion for the natural world and his significant research into the origins of environmental activism in Australia will assist the Foundation gain wider support into the future.

Emma Spencer - Director

I’m Emma Spencer, a PhD candidate and adventure-ecologist who works at the University of Sydney. I’ve always loved the outdoors and have spent much of my life walking, riding, climbing and canyoning in the wilderness areas of Australia. My current research focus is on the ecological effects of carrion, or animal remains, and how different predators and scavengers, such as the dingo and wedge-tailed eagle, shape and drive ecosystem processes. I am also a passionate science communicator and will, if elected, add a strong voice for science and for the Australian bush that I love so much.


The following people hold honorary roles within the Colong Foundation. There are a range of committtes that support the Colong Foundation.

Henry Gold OAM, Honorary Photographer

Arrived in Australia from Austria in 1955. He joined the Sydney Bushwalkers Club in 1956. He supported the infant environment movement and he has continued ever since as the Honorary Photographer of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. His work has been used to lobby Governments, in books, by the press, in campaign literature and conservation magazines. Henry's images have convinced many members of the public to become wilderness supporters. In 2006 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for "service to wilderness preservation through the use of photographic documentation".