The Wild Man of Oz
Projects Supported

The Wild Man of Oz

Controversial environmentalist John Wamsley becomes both visionary and villain, as he fights cat-lovers, politicians and feral animals alike to start Australia’s first private native wildlife sanctuary.

Directed by Daniel Clarke
Produced by Daniel Joyce


The Wild Man of Oz — Photo: Amy Pysden


In 1969, John Wamsley sets out to create Australia’s first native wildlife sanctuary. What starts as a way to save himself from mental illness quickly becomes a crusade to protect all of Australia’s endangered species.

Against belligerent governments and fickle public opinion, John builds sanctuaries around the country: donning dead-cat hats, embarrassing politicians and ultimately launching the world’s first publicly listed conservation company. In the process he changes the Australian conservation movement forever, until finally his war with the cat owners, shock jocks, and public servants brings it all crashing down.

Devastated, John recedes from public life, until one day a young couple buy the remnants of Warrawong and ask John to help them restore it to its former glory…

B+W photo: Amy Pysden — Platypus photo: Martin Jacka