About

Empowering Bonorong to support native wildlife in need.

Photo: Michael Eastwell

WHO WE ARE

Friends of Bonorong is a group of like-minded people that has formed to support and enable Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to achieve its objectives in all areas of Australian native wildlife rehabilitation, care and conservation, and to encourage the wider community to participate in this endeavour.

WHAT WE DO

Friends of Bonorong acts as a fundraising arm to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary and Bonorong Wildlife Hospital & Rescue, including its Primary Care Teams. Our aims are to fundraise for the immediate care of wildlife in crisis and for the ongoing protection of Tasmanian and Australian wildlife in need. Through business partnerships, one off donations, fundraising campaigns and ongoing donations and partnerships, supporters will play a crucial role in helping Bonorong to ensure the survival of our wildlife.

WHY DO WE SUPPORT BONORONG?

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is a positive impact tourism business empowering the best outcomes for wildlife through education and conservation. The Sanctuary delivers a vital community service and believes in fortifying a future where wildlife and the environment is valued and thrives. Bonorong is committed to the welfare of animals in care and operate Tasmania’s largest 24-hour wildlife rescue service, including the only fully dedicated Wildlife Hospital in the state. These innovative services provide safety and care to thousands of animals every year and need your support.

Illustrations: Marina Vorona

MEET OUR BOARD

Guiding the mission and vision of Friends of Bonorong, our dedicated Board of Directors brings passion, expertise and commitment to the forefront of what we do. With their leadership, we are able to empower and support the endeavors of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, ensuring a brighter future for Australian wildlife in need.

OBSERVER MEMBERS

Greg Irons

Di Irons

Barrie Irons

Melissa Irons

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Photo: Michael Eastwell

NICK Mooney

AMBASSADOR

For more than 50 years Nick has studied the impact on wildlife of changes in landscapes and peoples ’attitudes. Nick’s particular focus has been on trying to accommodate birds of prey and devils in development and dealing with new threats such as invasive species and disease. Nick initiated the government response to Devil Facial Tumor Disease. He is especially concerned about the gulf between reality and people’s ’perceptions of nature. To try and bridge the gap Nick has developed the ethical use of wildlife in education and tourism, presented at conferences at all levels including internationally, andengaged widely in public speaking.

Nick left the public service 11 years ago but continues as a volunteer with devil and raptor management. He also works with industry to assess the efficacy of threatened species management. Nick was a founding member of the Australasian Raptor Association (now BirdLife Australia Raptor Group) remaining its contact for managing raptor/stock interactions, is an active raptor rehabilitator in Tasmania and carries out monitoring and survey of raptors. He remains a regular contact for the media, continuing the long tradition of public engagement and wildlife advocacy.

George Bailey

AMBASSADOR

The sport of cricket gave me an incredible opportunity to see many parts of the world and made me appreciate the amazing wildlife and environment we have here in Tasmania. Bonorong’s work to ensure we care for these unique animals is nothing short of incredible and we are so incredibly lucky it exists. To be a part of an organisation that supports the tremendous work that Bonorong continues to deliver is exciting and to know we can make a really positive contribution to these animals’ lives, both now and into the future, is why I am proud to be involved with Friends of Bonorong.

From 2002-2019 George played cricket for Tasmania, Australia and the Hobart Hurricanes and many teams around the world. His talent and leadership qualities led him to captaincy in many of these teams and this has in part fostered a passion for team-building and a strong community focussed culture.

Post cricket playing days he has pursued this passion for team building and community and is an avid supporter of all things Tasmanian through being an owner of Body Fit Training fitness studios in Tasmania and as a selector for the Australian Cricket Team.

As an ambassador for Bonorong he looks forward to continuing to share the incredible stories of the work Bonorong does and the animals with whom we are lucky enough to share this wonderful Island with people from all over the world.

Greg Davoren

DIRECTOR

Greg has had a lifelong career in Corporate management and Financial control. His most recent role as Deputy General Manager of Brighton Council saw him responsible for the corporate side of the Council and financial controller of Council and its associated companies. His responsibilities and interests included strategic property outcomes. Greg was also the General Manager of the Brighton Industrial and Housing Corporation. His board experience includes founding Director of Microwise Australia, founding Director of CouncilWise and founding Director of The Derwent Estuary Program. Greg completed a bachelor of Commerce and IT at UTAS. He belongs to several professional associations including as a Member of The Australian Computer Society, a Member of the Local Government Professionals and a Fellow Member of the Certified Practicing Accountants.

Greg is not just business but also fun. He is a passionate traveller having visited 56 countries where he has a passion for local environmental and social causes. It is through his travels that he has learned to appreciate the raw beauty of Tasmania and the uniqueness of our precious flora and fauna. Greg is also an avid water lover. Be it sailing, surfing, diving or even snow skiing, if he is on water he is a happy man.

Michael Roberts

DIRECTOR

In 2018, while working in Boston, USA with the leadership of a manufacturing company, I asked myself a provocative question: ‘Why am I shifting the culture and performance of this company, here in America, when we have so many challenges in my beloved Tasmania?’ That question set in train the exit from the company I had founded 20 years earlier and the path back to making a difference in Tasmania. So I’m delighted to be joining Friends of Bonorong to foster and expand the brilliant work this proudly Tasmanian business is doing.

Michael is a highly experienced and adaptable consultant, facilitator and coach. As a practising Physiotherapist and Specialist WHS Consultant for over 30 years, he now works in Leadership Development Consulting and Coaching. A long history in human rehabilitation following traumatic injury and illness gives him a deep appreciation of the work done by the volunteers and staff of Bonorong.

Michael has developed and led cultural change programs across Australia, in New Zealand and in the USA. His work has focused on building cultures of respect made operational through practical initiatives and systems. With a long history of appreciating Tasmania’s wildlife and ecosystems, Michael has both an activist and corporate spirit. This combination, along with a deep respect for  has brought him to become a Director at Friends of Bonorong.

In 2020 he self-published a personal and leadership development book CHOOSE – How to thrive in a risky world based on a thoroughly road-tested approach to risk management in life.

Michael has also been a key mover in establishing Voices for Tasmania Inc. – a not-for-profit association determined to bring transparency and integrity to the Tasmanian political landscape.

Petra Harris

DIRECTOR

Petra is the Business Director and Wildlife Hospital Manager at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

Her passion for animals see her surrounded by critters of all shapes and sizes throughout her childhood. She became a registered wildlife carer & rescuer when she was still in school and also worked with the RSPCA where she became heavily involved with their wildlife ambulance callouts for a number of years. Petra’s love and dedication for wildlife rehabilitation truly blossomed when she started her career at Bonorong in 2007, and she has had the privilege of raising many orphaned native marsupial species, including endangered Tasmanian devils, bettongs, wombats and an array of native birds.

After originally starting out as a Wildlife Keeper at Bonorong, her hard work, prior animal experience and natural touch with wildlife led to her quickly becoming the Sanctuary Manager at just 23 years of age. Her calm and steady leadership and passion for wildlife conservation provides guidance and direction to the now 61 staff under her management. Petra oversees all aspects of running the very complex entity that is Bonorong and has also set up and transformed the Sanctuary’s growing social media presence in a world that is rapidly turning to online sources for information.

Petra has been instrumental in the success of Bonorong’s conservation programs, all of which have the under-lying goal of preserving Tasmanian wildlife. These programs include the creation of Tasmania’s only 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Service, implementation of the state’s first seabird rehabilitation facility, maintaining partnerships with key associate organisations within the conservation sector and also the creation of Tasmania’s first Wildlife Hospital. Her in depth understanding of all species involved in these programs has been pivotal to the successful outcomes for animals undergoing rehabilitation and for the future direction of the Sanctuary.

Petra’s intimate knowledge of Bonorong brings a unique linkage to the board group and she looks forward to using her passion and drive for conservation projects to help achieve the best outcomes for our native wildlife and the environment.

Bonnie Sveen

AMBASSADOR + DIRECTOR

Bonnie believes ‘conservation is a moral obligation and I am greatly looking forward to maximising her impact, campaigning to raise funds and to support the fantastic work that Bonorong does. She is honoured to use her platform and networks to create broader awareness of the struggles of Tasmanian wildlife and encourage more members of the public to do what they can to help them’.

Bonnie is an Actor and Voice Over Artist. She is a NIDA graduate and performed in Seven Network’s The Secret Daughter, Australian NETFLIX flick Escape & Evasion and is well known for portraying Ricky Sharpe in Seven’s Home & Away from 2012-2016.

Bonnie has been passionate about protecting native wildlife since she was small. She’s an ambassador for Save the Tassie Devil Appeal and a Bonorong rescuer, regularly checking the pouches of roadkill and flinging their bodies a good distance from the road.

Stephen Reid

TREASURER + DIRECTOR

Stephen is an experienced Chartered Accountant with skills across accounting, economics, and information technology. He is a Director at Glass Wall Lab Pty Ltd, a specialist business systems development, implementation, and hyper care business.

He holds a Bachelor of Computing and Bachelor of Economics, and Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Tasmania.

Stephen brings accounting and business experience to guide Friends of Bonorong through the regulatory compliance requirements, as well as guidance on creating a financially sustainable and transparent organisation. He has visited Bonorong ever since a Grade 1 excursion in 1992. Wombats are his weakness – We all know this and will use them to bribe him whenever it is necessary.

Suzie Nethercott-Watson

SECRETARY + DIRECTOR

Suzy is a highly experienced Non Executive Director having established and been active on multiple not-for-profit or government boards mostly environment and wildlife aligned. She has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Suzy has over 23 years experience in wildlife rehabilitation having helped lead wildlife volunteer groups, delivered wildlife training sessions and sat on multiple state and federal level boards relating to the wildlife rehabilitation sector. Suzy is also a wildlife carer specialising in the tiny little pink furless rescued orphans taking them all the way through until they can rejoin their natural environment.

In addition to her wildlife sector work she has over 30 years professional experience across the commercial, not for profit and government sectors in executive CEO/COO positions. This unique blend of positions, sectors and business’s, enables Suzy to offer a strategic outlook which also understands business, people and government drivers.

In 2018 she founded a national registered charity called Two Green Threads to help normalise and offer resources for the mental health of Wildlife sector volunteers.

Hank Petrusma

VICE-PRESIDENT + DIRECTOR

Animals are integral to life in this world. I hope my years of experience in public life and business will assist Friends of Bonorong in their quest to make a difference.

Hank is director of EIS PROPERTY and has worked in the real estate industry for over 49 years. He was also a member of Tasmanian Parliament for 10 years. He is an accredited trainer and motivational speaker, across a number of different industries over the past few years, and he has trained people throughout Australia, New Zealand and USA.

Hank is also a life coach, helping many young men and women. He was part of the Rosny College Vocational Education Training program for 10 years – over that time interacting with hundreds of young people. Hank has been involved in many things at community level involving charitable, church, sporting and other organizations.

He has conducted numerous charity auctions for organisations such as Variety ,Make a Wish Foundation, Save the Children Fund and Ronald McDonald House Choir. He was also actively involved with the Hobart Chargers Basketball Team.

He was foundation Chairman of Common Ground Tasmania, dedicated to providing affordable housing (100 apartments built), including a commitment to assisting homeless people. He’s also past Chairman of Australian Rosny Children’s Choir, Tassie Devils, Tassie Women’s Islanders Team and other charities. He has a strong philosophy of contributing back into the community coaching and mentoring people.

Bill Harvey

PRESIDENT + DIRECTOR

Bill Harvey joined the Friends of Bonorong as President in 2023. Bill brings governance expertise and a wide network to the Board, being an experienced leader in local government. First elected to the City of Hobart Council in 2007, Bill currently chairs the Sustainability in Infrastructure Portfolio Committee, and led the City of Hobart to be the first capital city in Australia to declare a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency. In addition to his experience as a director and chair, Bill has been personally involved in Landcare since the 1990s and is the current chair of Landcare Tasmania. He is committed to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and is passionate about making Tasmania a genuine leader in environmental sustainability.

Photo: Michael Eastwell

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