The Gould League of Bird Lovers

Founded in 1909 to encourage the love and protection of Australian native birds, the name Gould League honours the work of John and Elizabeth Gould.

Gould League camp

Gould League camp
Photographer: Michael Sharland © Australian Museum Archives

I hereby promise that I will protect native birds and will not collect their eggs. I also promise that I will endeavour to prevent others from injuring native birds and destroying their eggs. (The Gould League pledge, 1909)

For many who grew up in Australia over the last century, the Gould name evokes a childhood nostalgia. Their first introduction to birds and wildlife was often through the organisation known as the 'Gould League'.

Gould League members were recruited via schools and received membership certificates and badges. Members were encouraged to enter competitions in bird mimicry, write stories and poems and attend 'bird-day concerts'.

Over the years the League's aims changed to include a wider focus on environmental conservation and all wildlife.

More than one million Australians have joined the Gould League since 1909. Today the Gould League is an independent environmental education organisation and is still highly active in Australian schools with over 60,000 students participating.

Samantha Fenton
Matthew Stephens
Ms Leone Lemmer
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