John Rumney Death | John Rumney Obituary – It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founder and chair, John Rumney.
Whether you had known John for a minute or a lifetime, he had the unique ability to fuel the fires in you that made you want to do great things, for yourself, for others, and of course for our amazing planet that he found so much joy in. He was selfless beyond measure and would always put you and your needs well before his own, because if you were in his presence or thoughts, you were the most important person in the world. If John believed in you, then you were unstoppable!
John LOVED the natural world. Every little detail was fascinating beyond belief, and he inherently understood the processes that drive the systems we take for granted from local to global. He also understood he was part of those systems and for them to stay as beautiful as when he found them he was going to have to do everything he could to protect them for everyone to enjoy forever. And that he did!
John dedicated his life to our Great Barrier Reef. To him, the reef was family, something to be cherished beyond measure, a marvel of nature so rich and abundant in life it had to be seen to be believed. John started, was part of, or chaired countless committees, attended meetings at every level, lobbied our politicians, appeared in and coordinated countless documentaries, and most importantly was a leader and a trusted voice in all reef-related matters.
John was admired and respected in so many circles because of his integrity and honesty, because of his drive and ambition to simply do the right thing, his ability to work with anyone and everyone, and because his wants and desires were never for his own personal gain, but always for others and the world we live in.
John was recognised for his endless contributions to the Great Barrier Reef and with both an Australia Day Citizen of the Year award for the Douglas Shire Council, as well receiving the Australian Geographic Lifetime of Conservation Award and was humbled by these enormous gestures. John could not have achieved what he has without the support and love of his wonderful family. His wife Linda and three daughters share his passion and have actively supported and worked alongside John to achieve his dreams of a better world for everyone.
John was a pioneer in thought and actions. He dreamt up and created the first ecotourism venture before the word had meaning, expertly mixing science, tourism and adventure to benefit the reef and the communities that rely on it. In so doing, John provided lifechanging tourism experiences for tens of thousands of people from all over the world who not only got to swim eye-to-eye with our ocean’s most majestic creatures but were able to help them in the process.
Through this, he advanced research and our understanding of the reef that resulted in greater protection and conservation. Undersea Explorer became the most iconic, and important to him, the most cost-effective, research vessel on the planet. John had found a way that everyone could benefit, and most of all he found a way that he could share the reef with the world.
For John the reef was magical, and if you ever got to spend time with him on the water on any of his expeditions, then some of the magic has been passed to you 🙂
With the Great Barrier Reef changing before his eyes John realised a different tact was needed and Great Barrier Reef Legacy was born. An organisation created by dedicated and passionate professionals in marine science, tourism, education and multi-media, and supported by an amazing team of volunteers that knew they could make a difference for the future health of the Great Barrier Reef – and we have!
By acting as a catalyst, Great Barrier Reef Legacy has provided solutions for researchers, educators, and the global community to rapidly act on urgent climate-related issues for coral reefs. After only 4 years of operation, we have raised over $1 million dollars, ran 5 major expeditions, supported research projects from major universities and government organisations, reached out and communicated with teachers and students all over the world, collaborated with a wide range of like-minded teams, and engage with a global audience on a daily basis.
Most recently we launched the Living Coral Biobank Project, which John knew was the only way we could save the biodiversity of corals TODAY, for tomorrow. Through this project, we found another solution that allows us to leave a true legacy for generations to come, and for us to once again share the magic of coral reefs with the world.
John had many great mottos, but perhaps these three best sum up his, and our approach, to making great things happen!
“Science for Solutions” – trust the science, support the science, and know that science is the way we both understand and protect the natural places we love. Embrace the wonder and beauty of discovery and exploration in all you do.
“Adventure with purpose” – this one is very important – having fun while doing great things is the most rewarding experience you can have, and you will have the biggest possible impact! John ALWAYS found the most fun in every situation, ALWAYS took the time to laugh, and ALWAYS found an adventure in everything he did. John was the wealthiest person I knew because his experiences were so rich, diverse, and had great purpose, and no amount of money in the world can ever buy that!
“Only together, there are no Barriers too Great to save our Reefs” – John loved working with others, finding ways to collaborate to solve problems and find great outcomes, and most of all to enjoy and celebrate sharing of knowledge, ideas and experiences. John had no ego about what he did, he was never driven by money, and he knew that when you team up with good people, you can dare to dream BIG, and if you are willing to work hard enough, those dreams come true.
So today we celebrate a humble man who achieved larger than life goals – a loving family man, great colleague, inspiring mentor, and the most loyal and genuine friend anyone could hope for. An adventurer at heart, a conservationist by nature, and one of the worlds’ great leaders who valued those around him.
Great Barrier Reef Legacy is John’s legacy, it is his gift to anyone that wants to help our Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs in the most meaningful way possible with real and tangible outcomes that benefit everyone. It’s a legacy that will last forever!
Dr Dean Miller