MANY OAM recipients have inspired their children but in Allan Thomson’s case, it was his children that inspired him to pursue his award-winning work.
Mr Thomson, 83, of Port Fairy, said it was the passion by two of his sons, Lex and Kelvin, in their pre-teen years to bring native birds back to their suburb that led he and his late wife Dorothy to an active role in protecting the environment.
The two boys started the Pascoe Vale Young Naturalists when the family was living in Melbourne and Mr Thomson and his wife developed it into a leading environmental group.
Mr Thomson, who received his OAM for services to environmental conservation, has been involved in a myriad of community environmental groups both in Melbourne and in the south-west since the move by he and his wife to Port Fairy in 2000.
Locally, he has been treasurer of the Warrnambool Field Naturalists Club and a member of the Friends of Pallister’s Reserve at Orford, Friends of Griffiths Island and the Timboon Bush Co-Operative.
He was more active in Melbourne where his roles included secretary and newsletter editor of the Pascoe Vale Naturalists Club for 28 years, a founding member of the Merri Creek Co-ordinating Committee, founder of the Friends of Moonee Ponds Creek and convener of the Environment Standing Com-mittee for the North West Melbourne Regional Council for Social Development.
Mr Thomson and his wife had previously lived in the south-west before being transferred with their work to Melbourne and he said he was pleased to encounter a lot of local community interest in the environment upon his return.
He said there was growing realisation that the outlook for the environment was bleak “if it is not looked after”.
Mr Thomson said his interest in the environment had not only given him a better understanding of the world, it had also given him a busy and fortunate life. He had seen the passion for the environment by his two eldest sons lead them to influential careers as advocates for the environment.
One son, Lex Thomson, is an international environmental consultant and has an acacia tree he discovered in northern Australia, Acacia Thomsonii, named after him.
Another son, Kelvin, entered politics in a bid to protect the environment and has been the Member for Wills in northern Melbourne since 1996.