About the ADRF
How did the Australian Deer Research Foundation (ADRF) come into being?
How many times have you heard the words 'wouldn't it be good if we could ...' These words are quite often expressed around the campfires and gatherings of all sorts of people, not the least of whom are those interested in wildlife and its management.
Many are the daydreams expressed about what would be possible if sufficient money was available to carry them out, but many are the practical projects stillborn because of financial constraints.
In the 1970s, a small group of dedicated deer people tossed around these ideas and one of those people, Andrew Houghton drew up a Memorandum of Association for a new organisation and Geoff Moore set up its financial structure.
People who had already proven their commitment to the ideal of properly managed free-roaming wild deer were invited to join as members.
The Foundation was formed with Arthur Bentley BEM as Chairman, Andrew Houghton as Company Secretary and Geoff Moore as Director of Finance, other invitees from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria were appointed as Directors and Members.
What is the ADRF's structure?
The ADRF is still comprised of Directors and Members from the four States although its daily operations are carried out under the direction of a board of directors acting on a voluntary basis with assistance of one part-time employee.
The ADRF is constituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee and is tax exempt under Section 23(e) of the Income Tax Assessment Act, as such it has no shareholders, pays no dividends and must apply its funds only in terms of its agreed objectives as a research foundation.
In the event of wind-up of the company, ADRF funds must be dispersed to an organisation(s) having similar objectives and status. See Memorandum of Association for full details.
The ADRF’s initial funding was a $1000 grant from the Australian Deer Association Inc. (ADA), and because the ADRF membership includes four former ADA national presidents, there is a close relationship between the two organisations but ADRF is entirely independent of ADA.
Aside from the initial grant, the Foundation is self-funding. Its primary source of income is derived from publishing and the retail sale of books and other material primarily on deer and other game species, hunting, fishing and related outdoor activities. A secondary funding source was a Debenture issue that was supported by deer hunters throughout the country, they took out $100 debentures and allowed ADRF to invest the money and retain the interest. When the new rules concerning debentures made this scheme unworkable, these people were given the opportunity to take their money back or donate it to ADRF. The majority elected to donate the money.
While the Foundation is still moving towards the substantial capital base which will enable it to fund significant practical research or management projects in the future, it is proud to have been able to financially support management projects in various States and even in the USA.
♦ ADA invited American expertise in the persons of Joe Hamilton and Prof. Larry Marchinton to advise on deer management issues in South Australia and Tasmania. On a later trip Down Under (at his own expense again), ADRF funded Joe Hamilton’s visit to Tasmania that resulted in him making specific suggestions on ways to improve matters.
♦ As a result of this advice, under the auspices of the Tasmanian Deer Advisory Committee and with the support of the Tasmanian Government, a project resulted in the development and adoption Tasmania-wide of property based game management (now adopted as a model in other States and the establishment of a Game management Unit in the then Tasmanian Department of Environment and Land Management. One of Professor Marchinton’s graduate students from the Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, was appointed to co-ordinate the project and ADRF supplied him with some of the necessary equipment he needed to carry out his work. Brian Murphy’s success in Tasmania developed his reputation both here and internationally as a game manager.
♦ ADRF funded a visit by Professor Karl Miller, University of Georgia, so that he could offer advice on a future hog deer management project. Sadly, Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment has yet to show an interest in game management projects. However, the expertise is available.
♦ The South-East branch of ADA had a well-developed property based game management program operating in South Australia and saw the opportunity to purchase some freehold land. They did not have quite enough money to clinch the deal and appealed to ADRF. An interest free loan was quickly arranged and that property is now fully managed as a hunting property by the branch members.
♦ The ADRF has supplied both financial and administrative support to ADA’s Bunyip Sambar Project in Victoria.
♦ In 2009, ADRF donated $20,000 for the purchase of radio collars to be used in the University of Queensland’s red deer project.
♦ When Brian Murphy returned home after his successful work in Tasmania, he was offered the position of CEO for the fledgling Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) in the USA. He had no office or office equipment and appealed to ADRF for support. He was given an interest-free loan which was paid back within two years. The result is that QDMA is the fastest growing and most influential hunting/deer management group in the USA with more than 45,000 members. QDMA Canada has recently been formed and looks like following the same path as its neighbour.
♦ Except for magazine articles there was little opportunity for Australian hunters to read about their own hunting opportunities because there was no avenue for the publication of books written by Australian hunters. ADRF became the major Australian specialist publisher of hunting books and still operates a mail order facility for the growing market. ADRF provides an avenue for the publication of scientific literature on deer and game management which is otherwise lacking in this country.
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