Welcome to the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia Inc.

We are South Australia’s first conservation group, found in 1883 and our members were conducting citizen science before it become fashionable

The aims of our Society are to:

  • to promote the study of Natural History by means of public lectures, field excursions, club activities and the publication of a half-yearly journal, The South Australian Naturalist
  • to promote conservation of the environment by actively encouraging the preservation of important landscape features and suitable habitat for the protection of indigenous flora and fauna
  • to manage the Society’s nature reserves, which have been acquired through generous gifts and bequests
  • encourage people to investigate the natural world

Our Members

Group surveying bats using Anabat to record echo location sounds at Englebrook Reserve

Surveying bats at Englebrook Reserve
Photo: Peter Matejcic

Founded in 1883, our Society was South Australia’s first Natural History/conservation group. A range of people, men, women, young and old, professional scientists, interested amateurs, farmers, traders, blue collar and white collar workers, seafarers and others, highly educated and with only basic education, all came together to investigate our natural world, share new knowledge, make new discoveries and record what they found in the natural world of South Australia that was fast being altered around them. 

Their interest, activities, recording and dedication long before the term was invented, might now be called conducting ‘Citizen Science’. What they discovered throughout the last century has provided vital information needed to protect and conserve our natural systems. Our Society as a whole has made important contributions to the conservation of the flora, fauna, habitat and ecological systems of South Australia and continues to do so today!

Our membership today similarly consists of a range of people interested in the natural world around us, thirsting to learn more, share knowledge, get out into the field and make new discoveries while enjoying the company of others and contributing to the conservation of our environment and its unique natural features, fauna, flora and fungi.

Science and protection

By 1919 the first issue of the SA Naturalist was being printed. The 1918-19 Annual report details: formal meetings with speakers and members sharing their observations, reports on a FNSSA member trip to Moolooloos Station in the Flinders Ranges where speakers detailed the species of birds, butterflies and plants found including species of plant new to science, and a speaker who made connections between the spread of humans across the globe according to suitable topographical, geological, climate, rainfall and evaporation; ‘Climatic Control of Civilisation”.  Meanwhile on fortnightly outings our members visited localities close by including, Tea-tree Gully, Blackwood, Bridgwater, Paradise, Port River, Slapes Gully and further afield over Easter to Morgan. 

The Field Naturalists Society of South Australia has a proud history in the preservation of flora and fauna, natural habitat and natural resources in South Australia. Among other achievements, our society was instrumental in the establishment of the Belair National Park in 1891 and Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island in 1919. We have also been instrumental in, and/or combined with others, to establish many Conservation Parks, including Ferries McDonald, Spring Gully, Clement Gap, Piccaninnie Ponds, Monarto, Deep Creek, Black Hill, Cox Scrub, Mount Taylor, Nixon Skinner, Kaiser Stuhl and Charleston, as well as Para Wirra Recreation Park.