Ian Kiernan, the man who founded Clean Up Australia, has sadly passed away. Clean Up Australia issued a statement on Wednesday morning, announcing the round-the-world sailor had passed away at the age of 78.
“It is with deep sadness that Clean up Australia announces the death of our beloved founder and Chairman,” the statement said, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
“Diagnosed in late July with cancer, Ian Kiernan fought valiantly, working with the team at Clean Up to put in place plans to protect his legacy, including appointment of his daughter Philippa [Pip] to our board,” the statement continued. “While we will deeply miss Ian’s guidance and humour, it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues.”
Kiernan was born in 1940 and grew up on Sydney’s iconic harbour. He became known around Australia and the world as a sailor, before founding both the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns. Kiernan’s environmental efforts were recognised in 1991 when he was awarded with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). He was also Australian of the Year in 1994. Prime minister Scott Morrison has paid his respects to Kiernan on Wednesday morning.
“His passion for our oceans, which started all of this for him and Australia’s coastal lifestyle in particular is something that struck a real chord with all Australians,” Morrison told media. “And the thing I think Ian did more than anything else was just tap us all on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to take care of this. This is our responsibility to do this. It’s not governments, it’s ours as Australians.’”
Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP today has paid tribute to Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan who died overnight aged 78. "I want to say 'thank you' for what you have done for our country….we express our deepest sympathies and our condolences." #IanKiernan #7News pic.twitter.com/2v1OOLSavn
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) October 16, 2018
Morrison thanked Kiernan for all he’d done for Australia expressed his deepest sympathy for his friends and loved ones.
Shocked Australians have flooded social media with their messages for the environmentalist and his family.
One person on Twitter wrote: “Ian Kiernan was a world leading environmentalist. He made us realise the connections between local pollution and the health of our oceans and marine life. He was strong, principled and on the right side of history. I’ll miss his leadership, strength and good humour. RIP.”
Ian Kiernan was a world leading environmentalist. He made us realise the connections between local pollution and the health of our oceans and marine life. He was strong, principled and on the right side of history. I’ll miss his leadership, strength and good humour.
— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) October 16, 2018
Another said they were going to clean up in memory of Kiernan and his work.
“Doing my bit in memory of Ian Kiernan,” the wrote, alongside a recycling picture.
A third added: “Saddened to hear that Ian Kiernan, the round the world sailor famous to Australians for founding Clean Up Australia has died, aged 78.”
Kiernan is survived by his wife Judy and daughters Sally and Pip.
“One of Ian’s requests was that, rather then sending flowers, people support his passion and commitment by making a donation to Clean Up Australia,” Clean Up Australia said. “A donation in his name will assist us to continue and expand his work to preserve and protect our precious environment.”