Timeline of significant events

FoE Australia
Timeline of some significant campaign victories and organisational events

FoE established in the USA by David Brower and others

FoE International established in Sweden, with member groups from France, Great Britain, Sweden and the USA.

'Social Action' formed on campus at Adelaide University. Its first campaign was on disposable packaging. This lead to the creation of deposit legislation in South Australia.

FoE Adelaide Uni was formed from Social Action.

Through the 1970s, FoE campaigned extensively on Antarctica and in the latter part of that decade, mining and drilling were banned on this continent.

Peter Hayes from FoE Melbourne visits Adelaide. National network starts to form

FoE releases video of BHP dumping steel at sea with resulting national media coverage

FoE Melbourne shares an office with Greenpeace Australia, co-ordinating actions against nuclear testing in the Pacific

FoE draws attention to the environmental consequences of the Concorde

Chain Reaction magazine starts (as Greenpeace Pacific Bulletin)

FoE Sydney established.

First meeting of FoE Australia. The meeting was held on the proposed site of a nuclear reactor on French Island in Westernport Bay, VIC, subsequently defeated.

FoE groups moving off-campus.

Prominent US alternate technology advocate, Amory Lovins, tours Australia hosted by FoE

Until 1978: uranium moratorium; FoE heavily involved in organising mass demonstrations and a broad based campaign to oppose uranium mining

Food co-op founded in Melbourne

FoE Sydney hosts tour by Dale Bridenbaugh, engineer with General Electric in the USA, on GE’s nuclear safety problems.

controversial documents on uranium contracts leaked through FoE.

Ranger inquiry hearings; FoE publishes Red Light for Yellowcake.

Ride against uranium: Melbourne - Canberra

FoE works with local community to oppose extension of Eastern Freeway into inner Melbourne

FoE does extensive work on renewable energy options for Australia

Campaign on health impacts of lead, Port Pirie

Food co-op established in FoE office in Nicholson Street, Carlton.

Formation of Campaign Against Nuclear Energy (CANE) by the Communist Party of Australia, FoE and others.

Due to intense campaigning by many groups, including FoE, the federal government places a total ban on whaling in Australian waters

FoEs Food justice centre established in Melbourne

FoE sponsors visit to Australia by US consumer advocate Ralph Nader

FoE hosts the Politics of Food conference in Melbourne

20,000 people march against uranium in Melbourne

a community campaigned spear-headed by FoE leads to a government decision to phase in lead free petrol by 1985

FoE, the Merchant Services Guild and other unions highlight the trial offshore dumping of waste from paper mills. Offshore dumping subsequently banned.

Recycling campaign established in Melbourne, aimed at introducing national beverage container deposit legislation

Victoria goes nuclear free

The atom free embassy established in Canberra

First blockades at the Honeymoon uranium mine, SA

The world bikeride for peace from Canberra to Darwin, highlights Australia’s involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle

Continued work on watch-dogging EIS’s for proposed and existing uranium mines

Through the 1980s, FoE played a significant role in lobbying the ALP successfully over its nuclear policy

FoE Brisbane involved in community protests against retrogressive land rights legislation

FoE helps establish the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Australia (CNFA)

US recycling expert brought to Australia to raise awareness of waste minimisation

With other groups, FoE campaigns successfully against leach mining in western Victoria

FoE campaign on dieback of native forests on New England tablelands, NSW

Fruit and Vegie co-op established in Melbourne as a project of the Food Justice Centre

Blockades start at Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia) and continue into 1984.


Victory in seed variety rights campaign; the ALP policy stops short of allowing plant patenting for cereals

FoE campaign to halt sewerage outfall into Wimmera River, Victoria

blockades at Roxby Downs uranium mine

FoE tours international author Jim Harding (Tools for the soft path) to raise awareness of alternative energy sources

campaign against uranium mining in Kakadu

FoE Ryde (Sydney) discovers radioactive waste from CSIRO complex in drains in a recreation park in Sydney

campaign against visits by nuclear powered ships to Victorian ports

FoE Oakleigh saves a 14 ha strip of heathland (part of a system that once spread across Melbourne’s sandbelt region) from being turned into a soccer ground

FoE and MAUM occupy the Uranium Information Centre in Melbourne

FoEI meeting held in a Southern country for the first time, in Malaysia

Des Wilson, international campaign director of FoE England, visits Australia

FoE calls for moratorium on release of GMOs


Australian Bicentenary; FoE supports actions against the celebrations, including the 45,000 strong march in Sydney on Invasion day/ Australia day

FoE campaigns against food irradiation and organises a national tour by Tony Webb, an expert on food irradiation

FoE produced ‘soft energy’ booklet on renewable energy

FoE Collingwood moves to Brunswick st, Fitzroy, where it operates a community arts space for the next 5 years. This gallery provides an early foothold for Indigenous art from central Australia and the western desert region before it is widely available

FoE Australian activists travel to the FoE International meeting in Krakow (Poland) – the first non government international environment conference held in the East Bloc

Working with other groups as the Anti Uranium Coalition, FoE organises a national conference on the threats of nuclear power

Campaign on use of dioxins in paper and other consumer products

Campaign against photo degradable plastics (a short lived fad)

WIM 150: victory against mineral sands mining in Victoria

FoE hosts a series of national waste minimisation conferences during the late 1980s

Campaign lead by FoE leads to the introduction of Australian made recycled paper

year long blockade on Fraser island against logging of old growth forests hosted by FoE Maryborough and RAG plays a significant role in ending logging operations on the island

uranium shipments from Roxby Downs blockaded in Adelaide

First radioactive ‘exposure’ tour held to South Australia. These continue through the rest of the decade and educate many about the reality of uranium mining in Australia

FoE Melbourne starts to Pay the Rent to Aboriginal traditional owners

Soft energy group starts in Melbourne, researching and advocating for renewable energy

Campaign on greenhouse gas/ climate change starts

FoE launches proposal for national waste strategy (aiming at a 50% reduction by 2000)

FoE supports campaign to stop establishment of McDonalds restaurant in Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne

AIDEX; major protests in Canberra against the AIDEX arms exhibition; FoE acts as a supporting organisation of the protests

FoE heavily involved in community mobilisations against Australian involvement in Gulf War (building ransacked in night time break in)

FoE Fitzroy moves to Smith st, Collingwood

FoE Sydney report ‘bring back returnables’ a significant contribution to debate on recycling

FoE campaigns against national electricity grid

Water campaign established at FoE in Melbourne

Coode island review; FoE involved in Commonwealth inquiry into the chemical storage facility

GMO campaign starts in Melbourne

World uranium hearing, Germany

FoE starts to question the idea of ‘wilderness’ as a concept

Campaign to gain world heritage listing for Lake Eyre Basin starts

FoE International meeting held in Indonesia

Century zinc campaign in the Gulf region of QLD, alliances formed with Gungalidda community, actions held outside AGM of CRA in Melbourne

Forests campaign launched in Victoria; blockades launched in East Gippsland through alliance of FoE and other groups

FoE Australia commits to 'Paying the Rent' to Indigenous communities

National waste minimisation strategy launched

FoE calls for labeling of GE food

FoE supports Kerrup Jmara community is establishing a tent embassy in Portland, Vic to expose police treatment and racism in the region

Campaign to stop oil terminal in Western Port Bay, Vic

FoE a pivotal force in CAFÉ – Coalition Against Freeway Extensions, Vic

FoE hosts Shripad Dharmadhikary of Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement), India as part of the ’50 years are enough’ campaign, aimed at radical reform of the World Bank

FoE launches national wetlands campaign

FoE highlights radioactive spill in Magela Creek, Kakadu

Successful campaign against re-siting of the East Coast Armaments Complex (ECAC)

French tests in Pacific – FoE plays key role in community mobilisations

McCrae’s creek; first court case victory against logging on private land in Victoria

FoE blockades train carrying whole logs to highlight ecological and social costs of the woodchip industry

FoE helps establish Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN)

Coalition government elected; new alliances formed to oppose expansion of nuclear industry. FoE loses federal government funding

Ramsar conference on wetlands held in Brisbane; marks beginning of much greater involvement in FoEI network

North East Conservation Alliance (NECA) launched in Victoria after FoE initiative

Streets for people – transport campaign launched. Campaign analysis shows need for more inner city bike paths; when local governments refuse, FoE paints its own; quickly followed by formal recognition

FoE lobbies for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Paper boycott starts to build pressure for the production of Australian made 100% recycled paper

First Indigenous solidarity conference held: ground breaking gathering of Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists from around Australia

Direct action pledge campaign gathers support for Jabiluka campaign

Community ballots held in shopping centres to determine the publics opinion on uranium mining (overwhelmingly opposed)

Alliance Against Uranium mining formed in Alice Springs

FoE and other groups oppose sand mining on Minjeribah/ North Stradbroke Island, QLD

Goolengook forest in East Gippsland ‘discovered’ by FoE activists and becomes focus of national campaign

First action camp held at Jabiluka

Roxstop festival held in SA to highlight community opposition to uranium mining

FoE has success with ozone protection. The international campaign helps secure an increased phase out of methyl bromide

FoE hosts tour by exiled Ogoni person Komene Famaa from Nigeria, highlighting impact of Shells oil operations on the Niger delta

Jabiluka campaign; FoE works with traditional owners, ACF, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory and the Wilderness Society on national and international campaign; major blockade at mine site, with 5,000 people attending. FoE is responsible for a resolution on Jabuiluka in the European parliament

Reverse Garbage established in Brisbane, diverting a tonne of ‘waste’ a week away from landfill

Earthworker, an alliance of trade unionists and environmental groups, established in Victoria

International community campaign against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) successful

FoE hosts FoE International meeting in Melbourne – more than 40 countries represented

Resistance of Kupa Piti Kungka Tjutas, senior traditional women from Coober Pedy region in SA against proposed radioactive waste dump, gains profile and contacts through FoE Indigenous solidarity conference

FoE organises the third ever reclaim the streets outside of the UK

Victorian Plantation Corporation privatised: FoE starts new era in corporate campaigning with launch of Hancock watch website and monitoring of forestry operations

Nuclear Freeway Project launched to generate awareness of proposed radioactive waste shipments through NSW and SA

Water campaign focuses on logging in Melbourne’s domestic drinking water catchments

FoE supports traditional owners in blockading logging operations in the Cobboboonnee forests, western Victoria

Railtrack, the company responsible for railways in England, cancels millions of dollars of contracts for Jarrah timber following FoE report showing that forestry operations were unsustainable

FoE initiates work on herbicides and plantation forestry

FoE co-ordinates global campaign to de-alert strategic nuclear weapons

Wildspaces film festival becomes a FoE event

World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Melbourne, FoE plays key role in organising civil society response - 15,000 people demonstrate against WEF

climate justice campaign launched; FoE starts to raise human rights dimensions of global warming, especially the plight of climate refugees

FoE involved in non proliferation treaty review conference

FoE organises radiothon and other fundraising for communities impacted by earthquake in El Salvador

Barmah Millewa campaign launched

Kirthar National Park court case held in Pakistan – Shell withdraws from oil and gas project

Whites creek wetlands start to be re-established in inner Sydney after FoE campaign

Pangea leaves Australia after attempting to establish a high-level radioactive waste dump. The proposal came into the public domain after a promotional video was leaked to FoE in the Uk

FoE joins with other groups to commission report into probable impacts of climate change on Victoria

Reactor alliance formed to oppose new nuclear reactor in south western Sydney

Dharnya Alliance formed as a result of FoE campaign, linking Indigenous, social justice and green groups working for protection of the Barmah – Millewa, the largest Redgum forest system on the planet

FoE plays key role in UK, Brazilian and Canadian parliaments urging India and Pakistan to negotiate over nuclear escalation

working with a range of green groups, FoE helped establish the 'green electricity watch' website, alerting consumers to what companies source their energy from sustainable energy systems

Following long community campaign, the Jabiluka uranium mine is closed and re-filled

FoE's 'Nuclear Freeways' project ours regional NSW and SA to raise awareness about threats posed by national radioactive waste dump. Local Councils, MPs and community groups become mobilised as a result, successfully building pressure on NSW and federal governments. NSW parliamentary inquiry launched into Commonwealth shipment of radioactive materials

The Cycle for Old Growth 2 bike tour travels through regional Victoria

FoE highlights major logging breaches by Hancocks Resources in the Loch Valley (VIC), resulting in the company being fined

FoE Brisbane produces 'Towards a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)', a book highlighting how to establish CSAs

FoE successfully encourages the federal Environment Department to intervene to protect the habitat of 2 threatened fish species in the Yarra River

A FoE initative sees the national umbrella organisation for aid and development groups (ACFOA - the Australian Council for Overseas Aid) formally recognise 'ecologically displaced people ' - climate refugees - for the first time

Hancock Plantations gains first ever independent certification of a forestry operation (through Forest Stewardship Council) a certification scheme supported by FoE. Boycott against Hancock dropped due to the certification, but reinstated in August 2004

A ten year campaign leads to a major victory in South Australia, with the defeat of the plan to place a radioative waste dump near Woomera in northern SA

The FoE Climate Justice tour visits east coast of Australia, highlighting the impacts of global warming on Pacific communities

A FoE International campaign helps draw attention to threats of logging to the endangered Baw Baw frog, and loggers are withdrawn from the area in Victoria's Central Highlands

FoE research highlights a breach of permit conditions on a major golf course along the Yarra River in Victoria, which would have impacted on endangered native fish species

The 'Food Irradiation' tour, featuring Wenonah Hunter from the US-based 'Public Citizen' NGO, was hosted to highlight the threats posed by this food treatment process

FoE Australia celebrates its 40th birthday

FoE launches a community campaign to build support for wind energy


FoE organises a major donation drive to raise funds for communities devastated by the Tsunami that hit Indonesia. These funds were sent to FoE Indonesia (WALHI) for emergency relief work

Indigenous Women Elders speaking tour held – ‘Burning the Sacred Fire’

The Federal chemicals regulator, the APVMA, announced that many uses of copper Chrome arsenate (CCA) would be banned. FoE had campaigned for several years to highlight the public health implications of this chemical.

FoE monitoring results in EPA action on logging practises in Barmah forest

FoE launches its report ‘Nuclear Power: no solution to climate change’

All of FoE Australia’s administrative funding from the Environment Department is cut by the government of John Howard.

‘Dharnya’ conference held in Barmah forest on the Murray River, to build alliances between environmental activists and traditional owners groups

FoE hosts a ‘climate justice’ roadshow through Victoria and NSW

After successful campaign against the low level radioactive waste dump in SA, the Northern Territory is identified as a possible site for the facility



As  with all years through this decade, FoE hosts a ‘radioactive exposure tour’ taking people through the landscapes threatened by the nuclear industry in northern South Australia

Alliance Against Uranium meeting held near Alice Springs. The AAU later became the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance

FoE monitors logging operations in the Red Gum forests along the Murray, identifying significant breeches of the forestry Code of Practise

FoE, working under the umbrella of the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, hosts a major national conference on nuclear issues in Melbourne

FoE helps organise a major Melbourne rally to demonstrate community support for new national parks along the Murray and Goulburn Rivers

Pedal Australia for Clean Energy (PACE), a FoE affiliate, promotes the use of sustainable energy



FoE continues to work to build profile of climate induced displacement (climate refugees). FoE releases its ‘Climate Justice’ primer and ‘Avoiding Catastrophe’ report. The Greens introduce a Climate Refugee Bill.

Speaking tour on ‘greenhouse development rights’ featuring Tom Athanasiou from the US-based NGO ‘eco equity’

FoE tours Professor Tyrone Hayes, from the University of California, a specialist in the threats posed by the herbicide Atrazine

FoE Melbourne’s ‘Real Food’ campaign is launched

Major mobilisation in Melbourne for Palm Sunday sees several thousand join events at the Myer Sydney Bowl

The Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle, a FoE affiliate, tours much of the east coast.

Civil disobedience actions are held against the Talisman Sabre ‘war games’ held in north QLD

National ‘green / Black’ alliance formed to co-ordinate Indigenous and environmental campaigning across the Murray Darling Basin

Red Gum information show tours Victoria

FoE releases major report on the social justice impacts of climate change on low income communities in Victoria

FoE campaigns to get uranium and nuclear issues on the agenda in the federal election that saw the government of John Howard dumped. The nuclear ‘white elephant’ toured widely during the year. ‘From the Heart, for the Heartland’ speaking tour held, featuring traditional owners opposed to uranium mining. Vote Nuclear Free project launched.

The Nuclear Freeways Project travels through western NSW and South Australia to alert communities to the threats posed by radioactive waste transport. On going debate about siting of the national ‘low level’ radioactive waste dump

Working with author David Spratt, FoE released the first edition of the book Climate Code Red

FoE Melbourne climate justice campaign takes stronger coal focus

Release of the booklet ‘Empowering change: clean energy solutions to climate change

FoE hosts ‘solutions to climate change’ festival in Melbourne

FoE continues to highlight breeches of the Code of Practise covering logging operations in the Strzelecki Ranges, south east of Melbourne. On going negotiations to secure a large conservation reserve in the Strzelecki Ranges

FoE helps highlight the concept of water intensity in food production

Major campaign to support local communities opposing a major desalination project on the south coast of Gippsland

10th meeting of the Australian Anti Nuclear Alliance (ANFA) held near Alice Springs

FoE hosted two activists from the Carteret Islands (PNG) as part of the ‘people on the frontline of climate change’ tour

FoE campaigners map gold mining operations within water drinking catchments in Victoria



Following presentation from FoE, the Victorian Trades Hall Council initiates a climate change working group at Trades Hall in Victoria

Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meeting held in the NT

Following campaigns by FoE, Melbourne Water started to broaden the number of chemicals they test for in Melbourne’s drinking water supply

FoE report on drinking water of 400 towns in Victoria shows the high chemicals load in rural drinking water supplies

Major mobilisations were held in Newcastle against coal mining infrastructure as part of the 2008 Climate Camp. FoE played a key role in organising this event.

FoE is active in a campaign to promote consumer awareness about the negative impacts of palm oil on tropical rainforests

First seasonal food guide for Melbourne released by FoEM real food group

FoE supported the ‘Voices from Bangladesh’ speaking tour, an east coast tour organised by Aid/watch to highlight the climate impacts on this country

FoE releases major report on nanotechnology and agriculture

FoE releases information showing the link between nano materials and health risks

FoE releases report on the health risks associated with the chemical BPA



‘Port Phillip Rising’ – a week long walk along the eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay, brings climate change message to new communities

FoE hosts leading Nepalese environmentalists in an east coast tour to highlight the ‘Big Melt’ – climate change impacts on the Himalayas

West Mallee Protection affiliates with FoEA – WMP are working with Kokatha Mula communities to protect landscapes in the far west of South Australia

FoE organises the annual Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) meeting. This years meeting was held in Quorn, SA.

FoE highlights the environmental impacts of the North – South pipeline, which brings water from the Goulburn River system to Melbourne

FoE releases its first ‘nano free’ sunscreen guide

Following a long campaign a historic victory sees around 100,000 hectares of new national parks declared in the Red Gum systems of northern Victoria

More than 2,000 people attend the national climate summit in Canberra, which was sponsored by FoE and Greenpeace



FoE campaigning helps strengthen Victoria’s Climate Change Act

FoE launches major ‘yes 2 renewables’ campaign in Victoria

Following major conservation victory in Victoria, the FoE Red Gum campaign extends its work into the southern Murray Darling Basin

FoEs nanotechnology campaign builds strong links with the trade union movement over work place safety issues. The project builds strong support for labelling of products containing nano materials

FoE plays key role in organising large community action at Hazelwood power station - Victoria's dirtiest power station - as part of campaign to build pressure to shut the plant

FoE takes legal action against a $65 million golf course planned for floodplains on the Yarra River, over threats to water quality and endangered fish species

Working with a range of groups, FoE launches the Transition Decade Alliance, a broad grouping which seeks to develop a pathway to achieve a low carbon society within 10 years. More than 1,000 attend the launch

FoE releases a report assessing water quality in key regional centres in Victoria, finding many breaches of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines



The South Melbourne Commons, a community sustainability hub in South Melbourne is opened. This is a collaboration between FoE Australia and the Father Bob Maguire Foundation

FoE hosts a 'Leave it in the Ground' bike ride into the Arkaroola Sanctuary, to highlight threats posed by uranium mining

'In our Nature', a group working with local communities to help preserve the Kitobo Forest in southern Kenya, affiliates with FoE Australia

FoE's national nuclear campaigner, Jim Green, visits Malaysia to support the launch of a new anti-nuclear campaign in that country

FoE plays a pivotal role in the creation of the Lock the Gate (LTG) Alliance. FoE campaigner Drew Hutton is appointed as LTG president. Farmers blockade coal seam gas (CSG) operations in QLD and NSW, starting with the 'lock the gate' action at Tara on the Western Darling Downs in Queensland

FoE Brisbane takes the mining giant Xstrata to court over plans to open the Wandoan 'mega' coal mine

FoE releases a report showing that widespread use of nano-silver could help breed 'super bugs', leading to more deaths in Australian hospitals

FoE activists halt dredging in Gladstone harbour in Queensland. FoE is calling for an independent inquiry into the apparent ecosystem collapse occuring in the harbour

FoE collaborates with other groups to produce 'alternate' annual reports for the BHP Billiton AGM held in Melbourne, highlighting the many negative human rights and environmental impacts of this companies operations

FoE continued to work in regional and rural areas between Sydney and the radioactive waste facility proposed for the NT, to alert communities to possible threats of waste transport

Six exploration permits for CSG in Victoria are ‘surrendered’ by mining companies after campaign lead by FoE. FoE puts CSG and tight gas drilling operations on the political map through its CSG 'roadshow' featuring Drew Hutton

FoE gives evidence to the Senate Inquiry into koalas about the threats posed to the unique Strzelecki koala population by logging