CSU’s Adjunct Professor David Goldney receives AM

HONOURED and humbled at the same time.

HONOURED: Adjunct Professor David Goldney outside his home in George Street, a terrace that he and his wife bought six months after they arrived in Bathurst.

HONOURED: Adjunct Professor David Goldney outside his home in George Street, a terrace that he and his wife bought six months after they arrived in Bathurst.

That’s how long-time Charles Sturt University identity and conservationist, Adjunct Professor David Goldney, describes his reaction to receiving an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

“But none of us are self-made, really,” he said. “We are on the shoulders of our previous generations and embedded in communities that support you in a leadership role.

“So in some ways it’s recognition of people who work in the environmental science and ecology areas and in conservation.”

Adjunct Professor Goldney - who was born in Adelaide, completed a science degree at Adelaide University and a graduate diploma in education, and did his doctorate in sciences in Queensland - arrived in Bathurst with his wife Joan in 1972 to take up a job with the then Mitchell College of Advanced Education.

“We were sort of thinking of staying here for two or three years before we went back to Adelaide,” he said.

“And we’re still here.”

Adjunct Professor Goldney has received his AM for “significant service to tertiary education in the field of environmental science, and to conservation through resource management committees”.

That significant service includes his decades as a lecturer at CSU – he retired from the university in 2000, but maintains links through the honorary position of adjunct professor – his work with Cenwest Environmental Services and his involvement with the Save The Bush Toolkit in the late 1990s and the Cox’s Road Dreaming Guide Book.

Adjunct Professor Goldney also remains associated in many minds with his 15 years studying platypuses on Duckmaloi Weir, a tributary of the Fish River.

Marking and recapturing the animals, with the help of honour students, helped build up a history of their health and population – as well as testing Adjunct Professor Goldney’s fortitude as he worked through the night on the high country in temperatures that could get down to minus 16.

“I get stopped in the street a lot and people ask me how are the platypus,” he said.

And the answer?

“The platypus up there [at the weir] are in very good condition. But, overall ... platypuses in the Central West, like elsewhere, are dropping out of various river systems.”

After a lifetime in conservation, Adjunct Professor Goldney describes himself as having a sense of optimism mixed with realism about the future of the environment.

People have never been better educated about the environment, he said, “but somehow that does not always translate into action”.