Brief History of Australian Naturalists’ Network
During 1987 the Geelong Field Naturalists Club was concerned about raising awareness of the Club in the district community. The erection of road signs at the City’s main entrances was proposed.
Geelong Field Naturalists Club took this idea to Victorian Field Naturalists Clubs Association in 1988. VFNCA enthusiastically accepted the concept but decided that it should be an Australia wide project with the sign featuring a distinctively Australian logo.
During the same period Dick Southcombe of Geelong Field Naturalists Club began gathering contact details of natural history groups across Australia.
By 1995 the first issue of the Australian Naturalists Network Register was published. It contained information about 44 natural history groups.
In 1996 the logo featuring an Echidna inside a map of Australia was adopted for Australian Naturalists’ Network. The ANN Register was updated to include 75 groups.
The inaugural ANN Get-Together was held at Alice Springs in July 2000. Dick Southcombe headed a group of people from Northern Territory and Victoria to plan the Get-Together. Naturalists from around Australia learnt about the natural history of Central Australia and many friendships were made.
The success of the event lead to participants deciding that Get-Togethers should be held during every even numbered year. Launceston Field Naturalists’ Club offered to host the 2002 event and Darling Range Branch of Western Australian Naturalists’ Club offered to host the 2004 Get-Together.
The ANN is indebted to Dick Southcombe of Geelong Field Naturalists Club for having the vision to establish a means of contact between Field Naturalists Clubs Australia wide. He has guided ANN through its formative years.
By 2012 it was recognised that ANN needed to set up a sustainable structure to ensure the ongoing existence and function of ANN.
In 2013 the inaugural meeting of the Australian Naturalists Network Interim Steering Committee was held. This meeting prepared a draft Statement of Purposes for consideration by member clubs and at a meeting to be held during the ANN 2014 Get-Together in Hobart. The meeting also began setting up a structure that will assist ANN to achieve its purposes and ensure the 2 key activities of ANN – the ANN Register of Clubs and Get-Togethers every even numbered year.