Hamish Saunders Memorial Island Survey Program

Volunteers needed to assist in the flora and fauna survey of various islands in Macquarie Harbour, Western Tasmania.

The Hamish Saunders Memorial Fund was established in the memory of New Zealander Hamish Saunders who was tragically lost from Pedra Branca Rocks south of Tasmania while taking part in a wildlife survey in April 2003. Hamish had a passion for marine conservation. A fund has been created in his memory with a mission to nurture future leaders in the knowledge, conservation and management of marine environments. This is the fourth annual survey in the Hamish Saunders Memorial Island Survey program.
The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries & Water (DPIW) has identified various islands within the 200 square kilometre Macquarie Harbour in western Tasmania as the focus for this year’s survey. This estuary is on Tasmania's rugged west coast and is fringed by wild unroaded country, except for the north-western corner where the township of Strahan is situated. The natural values of these islands have never been surveyed. Many are vegetated by dense forest. Some, such as Betsey and Soldiers Islands are relatively undisturbed. Others have huts and informal campsites, as well as other evidence of human activities – including invasive species. They range in size up to about 12 hectares. Macquarie Harbour has a well known island called Sarah Island, the site of a notorious colonial prison. We will not visit that island during this survey.
A range of management issues have been identified by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Staff from the Strahan office of the Parks and Wildlife Service will provide logistical support for island visits by the survey team. The objective of this survey is to gather detailed information about the natural history of these islands to inform decisions about their management.
The survey is planned to be undertaken over a period of 6 days, starting on Monday 7 December. You will be required to be in Hobart on Friday 4 December for a briefing by Parks and Wildlife staff. You will be transported to Strahan in time for the Monday departure. The survey will finish the following Saturday (12 December). Following a de-briefing session you will return to Hobart and will fly out for New Zealand on the Sunday (13 December).

Two New Zealand volunteers will be selected by the Fund to participate in this survey. The Fund will cover successful applicants’ travel costs to and from Hobart, as well as any other negotiated costs. DPIW will cover your transport and accommodation costs whilst in Tasmania and make all logistical arrangements for the survey. DPIW staff will also provide training and support while you are on the island. You will be required to provide your own basic field gear (pack, boots, parka, sleeping bag, warm clothes etc). DPIW will supply your food and all other equipment (including safety gear). You should note that weather here can be changeable, and cold, at any time of the year. You will be ferried around in small boats and you can expect to be required to jump from, and climb into boats from rocky shores.
As Hamish Saunders Memorial Fund volunteers you will assist experienced DPIW specialists in surveys of the flora and fauna and other aspects of the islands’ ecology. Apart from a strong interest in ecology, you will not be expected to have any specialist skills. You will be working alongside and assisting experienced conservation specialists. You will be required to contribute to the survey’s objectives and to produce a brief report on the survey for DPIW and the Fund – including any comments you may have on the value of your participation and how future volunteer participation might be improved.
Applications are sought from interested people who believe they would benefit from participating in this survey and who could contribute in some way to the mission of the Fund. Successful applicants will have the following attributes:
  • A strong interest in conservation and a motivation to contribute to the conservation of marine environments.
  • Keen to learn and to gain field experience.
  • A “team player”.
  • Of sound health.
  • A competent swimmer
  • Willing and able to live in a remote environment with only basic amenities.
  • Willing to communicate via conference and media presentation, if required.
  • A current passport.
  • Prepared and available to travel to Tasmania for the period indicated.
Your application should be no more than 2 pages and should highlight how you would benefit from this experience and how the mission of the Fund would be advanced by your participation. Please include your full contact details as well as email and telephone contacts of two referees.
Your application will need to be received by the Fund by 5pm on Friday 13 November. You will be advised of the outcome of your application within a few days of applications closing. The successful applicants will be advised promptly of travel arrangements and further details.
Applications or enquiries should be emailed to the Hamish Saunders Memorial Fund at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it