30 Years of Achievement
A Short History of the Fraser Island Defenders Organization Limited (FIDO)
FIDO has a proud history
of more than a quarter of a century of campaigning achievements to protect one of the
greatest natural wonders of the world.
FIDO's aim has always been "to ensure the wisest use of the natural resources of Fraser Island".
FIDO was formed in January, 1971, by voluntary conservationists from Maryborough,
Hervey Bay and Bundaberg to oppose sandmining applications by the American
Dillingham company and Murphyores on Fraser Island. Murphyores
and Queensland Titanium Mines had obtained very extensive mining leases
in the early 1960s without any protest, before the voluntary conservation movement had become
organized, but there was widespread public opposition to
proposals to extend leases and start mining on Fraser Island.
Dr. Len Webb almost immediately suggested that the Fraser Island Defence
Committee change its name to "... Organization" to produce the acronym and motto
"FIDO, the Watchdog of Fraser Island". This name inspired leading
cartoonist, Stewart MacRae, to present FIDO with its famous bulldog logo.
As FIDO grew so did the recognition of Fraser Island's
outstanding natural values. FIDO also became recognized internationally
as the protector of one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.
FIDO believes that Fraser Island is unique
in the world, being not only the largest sand island in the world but
also the world's greatest coastal sandmass. Despite frequent assertions
by parochial politicians, FIDO has never diminished the size or the
significance of this outstandingly attractive and very appealing
sub-tropical island paradise.
FIDO is best known for its successful campaigns to stop the devastating
environmental impact of sandmining and the destructive logging of Fraser
Island's magnificent forests, but the organization has actively
addressed all aspects of management of Fraser Island. FIDO wants Fraser Island to be a well
managed National Park with controlled tourism and other compatible
uses. Its aim is "the wisest use of the natural resources of Fraser
FIDO prepared the very
first management strategy for Fraser Island in 1975. This was revised and
developed further in 1978, 1987, 1990 and 1991. FIDO's watchdog role now
focuses on the management of the Great Sandy Region. Compatible land-uses
of well managed and controlled tourism, education and scientific research
for the island have been encouraged. FIDO has actively opposed incompatible land uses including
sandmining, logging operations, and urban land development.
As Fraser Island attracts an increasing visitor numbers (over 300,000 annually)
better management becomes more essential.
FIDO's publishes a detailed newsletter, MOONBI, to keeps members and
supporters informed of
developments and the position taken on a variety of relevant issues.
FIDO also plays a strong educational role and has produced a number of
educational supplements. FIDO is not
limited to armchair advocacy. FIDO has published books and maps to help
people interpret and better understand the natural values of the
region. FIDO was in the vanguard of ecotourism. It has run more than
100 safari tours to Fraser Island to monitor developments on the island,
to raise campaign funds and to enable interested people to gain a
greater appreciation of the Great Sandy Region's outstanding values and
issues confronting it.
FIDO undertook a very expensive and very deliberate project of
constructing a boardwalk along Eli Creek to protect this fragile
environment which was becoming rapidly degraded and to shame a reluctant
and hostile Queensland Government into taking an active role in
management of this world treasure. It has commissioned an independent
study to confirm the feasibility of installing a light rail people
mover on Fraser Island to reduce the environmental impact of the heavy
rate of visitation.
FIDO has also been in the forefront of developing mechanisms for
resolving environmental conflicts. This has seen it involved in
numerous Mining Warden's hearings, (with successful challenges to
rulings reaching the High Court of Australia) the first ever inquiry
under the Environmental Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act, the Fraser
Island Environmental Inquiry (1975), and various Local Government Court
hearings and a number of other challenges to administrative law in the
Supreme Court of Queensland. In 1990-91, FIDO was heavily involved in
representations to the Commission of Inquiry into the Conservation,
Management and Use of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Region which
resulted in Fraser Island being inscribed on the World Heritage List.
FIDO has made submissions to a great range of inquiries from
Parliamentary Committees to a plethora of other tribunals.
In more than 25 years FIDO has been in the forefront of raising public
awareness and influencing decision making in the interests of protecting
one of the great natural wonders of the world.
FIDO's Postal Address: PO Box 909 Toowong Qld 4066
FIDO's Registered Office: c/- Haywards Chartered Accountants Level 1/ 488 Lutwyche Rd Lutwyche QLD 4030 (ACN 009-969-135)