Ian was accompanied by his wife Sandra, his two daughters and grandson Connor at the meeting last week where he was named our newest Paul Harris Fellow.

Ian’s early education in his profession began at the Australian Forestry School, Melbourne University and Yale University and then moving through a distinguished career of service to head up the department of Forest and Ecosystem Science at Melbourne University. He later served as Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and, finally, as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Chair of the Academic Board.

Ian has undertaken research and consultancies for forest services, conservation agencies and private companies in Australia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The United States of America and Zimbabwe, and as a result, produced a large number of papers, articles and presentations.

Memberships include -

  • Fellow of the Institute of Wood Science
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
  • Fellow of the Institute of Foresters of Australia.
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation.

Ian received his AM in The Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 2012 for his service “to tertiary education through administration and teaching roles to forestry and land management, and as a researcher and author and to the community”

Ian Ferguson returned as a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne on 23 January 2002, having previously been a member of the Rotary Club of Weston Creek, NSW 1981/82 and Melbourne in 1994/95. At the time Ian was Professor of Forestry at Melbourne university so his classification was, logically, Universities – Forestry.

Within the Club, he is best known for his work on the Rotary Park Committee, which he has chaired since 2004.  The Rotary Park is situated on the corner of Anderson Street and Domain Road and forms part of that extensive area known as the Domain Parklands.

In 1934, at the request of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, the City of Melbourne Council made available a small area in the King’s Domain for a Rotary Park of Remembrance. About half of the 65 trees in the Park are native Australian species and the remainder European, reflecting the diversity of native species and the history of Melburnians’ interests in trees.

The Park was inaugurated in March 1935 when Paul Harris planted a Brush Box as did Angus Mitchell, later to become the first Australian President of Rotary International.  Professor William Osborne, the Foundation President of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, and Alfred Holtz, a Past President of the Club were among the other notables who planted trees on that occasion.

In 2012 it was proposed that the Domain Parklands be placed on the Heritage Register. Ian, with Alan Threader, prepared lengthy submissions from our club in support of that proposal. In June 27, 2013 those submissions were accepted:

“Rotary submitted that Rotary Park is a significant part of the cultured history of Victoria. It was submitted that the Rotary Club of Melbourne was the first club established in Australia and had progressively chartered many more clubs in Victoria and Australia. The Committee heard that Rotary has gone on to play a very significant role in supporting worthy and charitable causes in Victoria and further afield. It was argued the Rotary Park serves as a reminder to the users of the Park of the role that Rotary plays in helping others.”


”After considering a recommendation and submissions and conducting a hearing into those submissions, pursuant to Section 42(1) the Heritage Council has determined that part of the place is of cultural heritage significance to the State of Victoria and should be included in the Heritage Register”.

When Australian Rotary International President Ian Riseley (2017-18) called for Rotarians world-wide to plant a tree as a contribution to sustainability, Ian Ferguson, as Chair of the Rotary Park Committee planned and organised Rotary members to plant 495 trees in Westgate Park.

Through the years of association with Melbourne City Council, Ian has continued a cordial relationship with the teams providing maintenance and care to the Park. This relationship has resulted in an even closer involvement with the Council in its plans for new design models for the Domain Parklands. Ian’s continued efforts in liaising with the Melbourne City Council ensures a legacy of a commemorative Parkland for all Rotarians to be proud of and enjoy.

It is with the greatest of pleasure that we present Ian with a Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition off his continuous work as chair of the Rotary Park Committee, and all that follows from that position.

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