Life Membership is the highest honour that QORF can bestow and Life Members will be held in the highest esteem.
Born: 25th March 1956, Brisbane, Queensland
Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education at Griffith University (1987)
Associate Diploma in Wilderness Reserves and Wildlife Management at Queensland Agricultural College (
Awarded QORF Life Membership: October 2012
Growing up playing in the outdoors – mostly in south-east Queensland – sparked Dave’s interests in landscapes, nature conservation and outdoor recreation. These interests led to an Associate Diploma in Wilderness Reserves and Wildlife in 1980; 13 years working for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) – including 4 years as Ranger-in-Charge of the upper Noosa River section of Great Sandy National Park – his favourite place in Queensland; 4 years managing QPWS field operational training; and then 18 years in various Queensland Government departments for Sport and Recreation, Forestry and Regional Planning.
On the way, he gained a Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education and served on the Outdoor Educators Association of Queensland (OEAQ) management committee. In 1997, Dave was instrumental in establishing QORF in roughly 3 weeks with help from the OEAQ management committee and key people from Queensland’s nascent outdoor recreation industry.
Since then, Dave has maintained a close association with QORF and he was honoured with a Life Membership in 2012. Read on to get to know one of our favourite gentlemen.
“In 1980, I was awarded an Associate Diploma in Wilderness Reserves and Wildlife Management from the then Queensland Agricultural College (now part of the University of Queensland) and then joined the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service (QNPWS) – which was renamed the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) in 1992. I worked in QPWS for 13 years in the following roles:
- May 1981-82: Worker, Cunningham’s Gap – While there, I developed an interest in outdoor education through The Outlook and the Maroon Outdoor Education Centre;
- May 1982 – February 1986: Ranger-in-Charge of the Noosa River section, now part of Great Sandy NP. During my time there, I set-up the first comprehensive outdoor recreation arrangements for the upper Noosa River, got heavily involved in outdoor education programs in Cooloola – and I met my future wife – Megan Burfein. In 1985, I was offered an opportunity to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education (GDOE) program at the Brisbane College of Advanced Education. I accepted the offer and transferred to the QPWS regional office at Moggill in early 1986. Soon after, the GDOE was transferred to Griffith University from where I graduated in 1988.
- February 1986-88: Interpretation Ranger for south-east Queensland (Monday to Friday and some week-ends) while studying for the GDOE at night & on week-ends and “holidays”.
- March 1988 – March 1991: I was seconded from QNPWS to the Queensland Agricultural College as “technical assistant” – to teach in the national parks, forests and wildlife management programs and organise field trips and industry experiences. This was a good way to find out how just how ignorant I was. Many lectures were finalised just before delivery. Many students survived (they must have been tough!). I learned much from them.
- March 1991 – December 1994: Training Manager: Conservation Program, QPWS, which was then part of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.“For the next 10 years, 1996 – 2005, I worked in Sport and Recreation Queensland – except for an 18 month (1999-2001) transfer to the Forestry section of the then Queensland Department of Natural Resources and QPWS to work on outdoor recreation matters.
“After that, from 2006 – 2012, I worked on outdoor recreation policy, planning and management in various Queensland Government departments responsible for “regional planning” – with a primary focus on southeast Queensland. In September 2012, I (and many other public servants) was retrenched by the then Newman (Liberal-National Party) Queensland Government.
These days I am slightly retired but still interested in the outdoor sector. My current participation in outdoor recreation includes bushwalking, bird watching, camping, snorkelling, body surfing and paddling with my wife, Megan, and our close friends.”
- Helping to set up the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation in 1997 and serving on the early QORF management committees.
- Serving on the management committee of the Outdoor Educators Association of Queensland (OEAQ) for about 10 years (1995-2005).
- Working on outdoor recreation policies and programs in Queensland’s statutory regional plans (2005 – 2012) – particularly the 3 “regional “trails” in south east Queensland – Boonah to Ipswich Trail, Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and Maroochy River Canoe Trail.
“Like most people of my vintage, if I wasn’t sleeping, at kindergarten, at school, sick, sentenced for bad behaviour, doing chores, at social gatherings, or confined in a car for travel, I was outside – up a tree, down the creek, exploring by foot or bicycle (usually with like-minded kids and my dog) or building and/or demolishing a cubby. Any opportunity was taken (authorised or otherwise) for swimming in surf (usually at Mooloolaba), rivers and creeks (especially in flood), and dams. The arrival of television in our home in the early 1960’s stole some of my time – but generally, I opted for playing outside.
“In 1964, when I was 8, my family moved to Ashgrove in Brisbane. Enoggera Creek was about 5 minutes running from home. This creek corridor and associated parks were the centre of my outdoor adventures for 4 glorious years – trees to climb and swing from; floods to swim in; home-made canoes to float (usually not for long); snakes to avoid; flood mud to wallow through; rock and timber dams to build and knock down – always accompanied by a faithful dog. This is my template for the ideal Nature Play place.
“So far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in being outside. My family frequently travelled by car to visit distant family and friends and on long trips, I’d be looking at the passing landscape and matching that with the map (we always had a map for where-ever we went). The critical factors for my deeper involvement in outdoor recreation include:
- meeting and mixing with people who were likewise interested and/or already doing such things; and/or had expertise which they were willing to share;
- various media – books, magazines; and television programs (e.g. the Harry Butler in the Wild documentary series).
- having lawful access to a motor vehicle for independent transport to interesting places. In the mid to late 1970’s, motorcycles (6 “trail bikes” for dirt roads and forestry tracks and 2 road bikes for sealed roads but only one at a time) were my main means of exploring southeast Queensland – sometimes with mates, but often solo, and usually without a map.
- qualifying for open-water SCUBA diving from FAUI (Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors) in 1976 with a re-qualification in 1989.
- being able to navigate successfully (most of the time!)
Friends working at The Outlook at Boonah in 1978 gave me my first taste of flat water and white water canoeing and kayaking through trips to Goolang Creek and other Clarence River tributaries. I remain an unrepentant (but too infrequent for my liking) paddler in white water, flat water and the sea.”
“In 1997, when I was the first outdoor recreation policy officer in the Queensland Government sport and recreation agency, senior staff allocated the initial funding to set-up a non-government organisation to advocate for the outdoor recreation industry in Queensland. I was given 3 weeks to make this happen. At that time, I was an OEAQ Committee member. With much willing work from the then OEAQ management committee, we press-ganged various folk to attend meetings, agree on a name – the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF) – elected a management committee, incorporated the organisation, set-up a bank account, wrote a draft constitution, got approval from the Queensland Government sport and recreation agency, banked the initial grant and gave birth to QORF. The QORF archives have copies of some of these early documents.”
“I think my value to QORF has 3 aspects – as follows:
- helping to set-up QORF in 1997
- as a board member 1997-2000
- as a counsellor to and sounding board for Executive Officers – helping them understand the powers, responsibilities and structures of State agencies, local government organisation structures and the various interests of Queensland’s outdoor recreation industry”
Goals for QORF
- “To raise the status and understanding of Queensland’s outdoor recreation industry by Commonwealth, State and local governments, other recognised “industries” (e.g. tourism; farming, natural resource management, light manufacturing and retailing) and the Queensland community.”
- “To expand the current focus of the outdoor recreation industry from the current access to national parks issues to a sophisticated understanding of the economic, social, health, natural resource management, education and cultural benefits of outdoor recreation across all of Queensland landscapes and seascapes (while encouraging the outdoor recreation interests in other states, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth Government to do the same).”
- “Build a reliable funding stream from Queensland’s outdoor recreation industry and community – to augment, and eventually, replace the current unreliable and (often) insufficient grants from the Queensland Government.”
The next 20 years for QORF
- Challenge – Get the Australian Bureau of Statistics to revise the current ANZSIC (Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 ) to recognize outdoor recreation as a discrete industry; and to regularly provide statistics and analysis relevant to the outdoor recreation industry.
- Opportunity – More than 80% of Queensland’s land surface is not part of Queensland’s protected area estate or state forests. The lands outside protected areas and state forests include freehold and leasehold properties, Reserves for Community Purposes (see Queensland’s Land Act 1994 and related laws), and Stock Routes. There are many, as yet, largely unrealised opportunities for outdoor recreation activities on those lands.
- Opportunity – Build relationships with universities
- Keep communicating effectively with Queensland’s outdoor recreation community/industry and keep trust and communication with the relevant Queensland Government Ministers (rather than the Minister’s staff).
- Keep building the evidence about the benefits, diversity, distribution (spatial and structural) and size of the outdoor recreation industry in Queensland.
LIVING LIFE OUTDOORS
QORF’s Motto is Live Life Outdoors. How do you do that?
“I’m still active in the outdoors though day and multi-day bushwalks; occasional road cycling and mountain biking; canoeing, flat, sea and white-water paddling; camping, body surfing and bird watching.
I try not to get sunburned. I also try to learn from people who know useful things.”
- The green 15ft canoe which Megan and I bought from Rosco Canoes in 1988. We have paddled this boat in many places from flat water to Grade 2 rapids. It’s well built, durable (for a fibreglass boat) and we can carry food, water and gear for 5 nights.
- Light-weight, reliable, inflatable, insulating sleeping mats.”
“I have 3 favourites:
- Paddling by kayak or canoe in white water, flat water and the sea in small groups
- Bushwalking – in small groups
- Engaging with nature through wildlife watching and botanising.”
“In 1999, Megan and I spent 3 months four-wheel driving through western Queensland north to the Gulf Track and west into the Northern Territory – Nitmiluk, Kakadu, Litchfield & Gregory, National Parks (NPs) – Tanami Track – West MacDonnell and Finke Gorge NPs – Coober Pedy, Lake Eyre, Flinders Ranges NPs, Kangaroo Island and back home via the Great Dividing Range. There were such diverse landscapes with so many options for bushwalking, wildlife watching, and paddling. (You’d be surprised how often a canoe is useful). We got out of our car to let our brains, eyes, ears, muscles and lungs do what they are designed for – directly engage with the landscape. We must do it again and add all of the places we did not visit.”
“Paddling up and down the upper Noosa River – a great place for quiet contemplation (assuming there are no motorboats or aircraft when we are there!).”
- Find people who know what they are doing (and have a sense of humour doing) and learn from them.
- Leave no trace. Practice this until you – and others – can’t see, smell or hear where you are or have been.
- Be “passionate” but don’t loose perspective – you share the outdoors with others (humans and plants and animals). For instance, I’m passionate about not getting diseases from Scrub Typhus ticks any more)
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