About the Foundation


Sir George Hubert Wilkins (1888—1958) is a name not widely known to Australians, even in his own state of South Australia. Wilkins is better known in the United States from where he launched his major polar expeditions and spent most of the last thirty years of his life. An explorer, meteorologist, ornithologist, aviator-navigator, war photographer and cinematographer, geographer and philosopher, Wilkins was arguably one of the most adventurous polymaths of the first half of the twentieth century. A veritable Renaissance man, Wilkins is long overdue to be placed in the same category as other great Australians.

Four Wilkins biographies have been written since 2000, and more media products are on the way.

Why a foundation?

Despite the importance of his historical achievements, there is no official organisation tasked with promoting the Wilkins name within Australia. Although a ‘Sir Hubert Wilkins Interest Group’ already exists and makes an important contribution by holding occasional public meetings and supporting associated book launches, an official foundation would do more to bring the Wilkins legacy to the forefront of the Australian consciousness.

Why a board?

A successful foundation requires a dynamic, networked and eclectic leadership of intelligent and successful individuals with a common goal. Currently there are no dedicated funds to support the work of any proposed Wilkins foundation, so community leaders on a Wilkins Foundation Australia Board could develop a working business model to promote projects and activities.

Our aims

Although specific aims will be developed by the Board, the general aims listed below suffice to summarise the spirit of the Foundation:

  • to inspire young Australians by promoting educational material for schools which highlight the life of Sir Hubert Wilkins
  • to incorporate books and digital artefacts about Sir Hubert in the national curriculum
  • to promote the recognition of the Wilkins name both in Australia and internationally
  • to manage a philanthropic fund to support the activities of the Foundation, develop awards and medals to honour achievements in disciplines relevant to Wilkins’s pursuits, and to create scholarships for outstanding students in relevant fields
  • to lobby to have public spaces, places and appropriate initiatives named after Wilkins
  • to employ the Wilkins name to increase awareness and understanding of issues emerging from the reality of climate change
  • to make his books and articles more available both in hard copy and online
  • to assist researchers interested in making media productions.

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