Vale David Yencken AO

For more than 50 years, Professor David Yencken AO (1931-2019) provided outstanding intellectual and varied practical leadership in protection of Australia’s natural, built and cultural environments.

Associate Professor Peter Christoff:

David chaired the seminal Interim Inquiry into the National Estate, which resulted in the establishment of the Australian Heritage Commission. As the AHC’s inaugural Chair from 1975-1981, he oversaw the establishment of the National Heritage Register of places of outstanding natural, cultural and built environmental significance, and enabled their protection under successive Commonwealth governments. Subsequently, as the Secretary of the Victorian Ministry for Planning and Environment, between 1982-1987, David oversaw major positive changes to Victoria’s planning laws and the development of Southbank. He also was President of the Australian Conservation Foundation in the early 1990s and its patron for many years thereafter.

As the Elizabeth Murdoch Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (1988-1997) at this University, David was recognised as a superb teacher and a fine scholar. His intellectual contributions include the Report on the National Heritage (1974), Resetting the compass: Australia's journey towards sustainability (with Debra Wilkinson, in 2000) and A Just and Sustainable Australia (with Libby Porter, 2001, published by the Australian Collaboration, which David founded and chaired until 2011).

In 1982 David Yencken was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to conservation and history. He will be missed as an inspiring source of challenging ideas, wise counsel and insightful leadership.

Professor Don Henry AM:

David provided outstanding leadership to thinking and action for the protection of our great natural, built and cultural places.  He chaired the seminal Inquiry into the National Estate for Australian and Chaired the Australian Heritage Commission that was established out of this insightful inquiry. The Commission listed places of outstanding natural, cultural and build environment significance over many years and provided advice to governments and ministers about their protection.  David was also President of the Australian Conservation Foundation for many years.  He has contributed greatly to the very fabric of our nation.