Who We Are

The Coastwatchers Association Inc. is the leading community environmental and conservation group serving the South Coast of NSW, principally in the Shire of Eurobodalla between Narooma and Batemans Bay. The Association also addresses issues in the bordering Shires of Shoalhaven (north), Bega (south) and Palerang (west), when issues in those Shires have a direct impact on the Eurobodalla region.

The Association aims to protect the local environment, and preserve the integrity of the ecological systems of the South Coast of NSW.  It opposes the unnecessary destruction and degradation of natural systems, unbalanced development and pollution. It opposes threats to the survival of plant and animal species and communities.

It adopts a responsible approach, using political, social and legal avenues to oppose or support issues impacting on this region. The Association works closely with other groups in the region and is a member of the NSW Nature Conservation Council, the National Parks Association of NSW, and the (NSW) SE Region Conservation Alliance.


The Association is managed by its members through General Meetings and the Annual General Meetings. A “Committee of Management” is elected at each Annual General Meeting, and administers the Association on a day-to-day basis. Members of the Committee of Management are volunteers who are elected to seven positions. These are the four Office Bearers: the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. In addition, there are three Ordinary Members elected. The Committee meets on an as needs basis but generally about every six to eight weeks.

The Committee for 2020-21 is:

PresidentMark Rote (also treasurer)
Vice PresidentGillianne Tedder
SecretaryJoslyn van der Moolen
TreasurerMark Rote (also president)
Ordinary MemberReina Hill
Ordinary MemberDerek Anderson
Ordinary MemberSuzzanne Gray
Ordinary MemberJulie Taylor-Mills


The Association raises revenues in two ways to fund its activities. Members pay annual membership fees and members and supporters donate tax deductible monies to the Coastwatchers Environment Fund.

The Association welcomes new members. (View Coastwatchers-Membership-Brochure in PDF).

Statutory Approvals

To operate and manage its operations within the laws of Australia, the Association has been required to hold a number of statutory approvals.

The Association is an incorporated association in NSW, incorporated in 1986 under the (NSW) Associations Incorporation Act 2009. Its’ Incorporation Number is Y-00012-40) (NSW Department of Fair Trading).

The Association has a Australian Business Number: 66 003 550 939 which is registered on the Australian Government’s Australian Business Register.

The Association is registered under the NSW Charitable Fundraising Act 1991. This approval enables the Association to fundraise. Its’ Charitable Fundraising Number is 17576 (and is registered with the NSW Department of Trade and Investment ) .

The Coastwatchers Association and its Public Fund the ‘Coastwatchers Environment Fund’ have been registered on the Australian Government’s “Register of Environment Organisations” since 20 January 2003 . This entitles funds raised for the ‘Coastwatchers Environment Fund’ to be tax deductibility donations under the Commonwealth Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.


The Coastwatchers Association Inc. is an incorporated association, incorporated under the NSW Associations Incorporation Act 1984, on 7 July 1986. While the Act and the Constitution have been amended, the registration is ongoing.


In 1983, an environmentalist Penny Van Oosterezee, was so concerned with the direction of development in the Eurobodalla Shire, she called a public meeting for Saturday 1 October 1983 at the old Batemans Bay Primary School. She was concerned with the threat of high-rise development in the Shire, and the ad hoc policy approach for tourism development, especially at Durras. The proposed construction of the Broulee to airport road was also of major issue because of its impact on the surrounding environment.

About 140 people attended the meeting, residents from Narooma to Termeil and non-resident ratepayers, many from the Canberra region. There were many speakers including Penny Van Oosterezee, John Hatton MP Member for South Coast, Dr Richard Mason, President of the NSW National Parks Association and Judith Wright the poet and environmentalist. The meeting agreed to the proposal prepared by Penny Van Oosterezee, to form a group called ‘Coastwatch’, which was later renamed ‘The Coastwatchers’.

An interim committee was formed comprising (alphabetical order) Jeff Aschmann, Rosemary Brissenden, Sue Curran, Rita Davis, Harry Higgs, Neville Gough, John Rowland and Ken Taylor. The Association was subsequently formed, with Rosemary Brissenden the inaugural President and John Rowland the inaugural Secretary. The Association was unincorporated, but after the NSW Associations Incorporation Act 1984 became operative during 1985, the Association made application and was incorporated on 7 July 1986.

The new Association had little time to plan, and was immediately involved with the extraordinary Eurobodalla Council election being held on 10 December 1983 some two months after Coastwatchers formation. This extraordinary election resulted from the sacking of the previous Councillors in 1982, and appointment of an Administrator by the NSW Government.

Over the past 30 years, the Association has been involved in many major and minor environmental issues throughout the region. It has been a leader for the community for these causes and a frontline defender of the local environment.

The issues it addresses are extensive and geographically range throughout the region. Some are generic and others relate to specific locations or developments. Overall the Association has raised environmental awareness in the community and improved the decision making processes at all levels of government, by its lobbying and strategic approach to the issues.

The Association is proud of its achievements over the past 30 years. In particular, it has supported and sought amendments to planning and development decisions in the Shire, in order to protect environmental and conservation issues. The Association opposed proposals, which by any standard would have adverse impacts on the environment and beauty of the coast – the very reason why people are attracted to this coastal region.

Coastwatchers Committee Meetings 1983 to 2017 (77KB PDF. Please note the AGM Date of October 17th 2015 should be October 31st 2015)


The Coastwatchers Association maintains affiliations with:

  • Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) (click here to go to their website)
  • South East Regional Conservation Alliance (SERCA) (click here to go to their website)
  • National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) (click here to go to their website)