Roy's cover image


Year of Award: 1972 Award State: Tasmania Environment > Tourism
To observe and examine methods of cave conservation and modern ways and means of improving facilities in caves to suit the requirements of the visiting public - New Zealand, Japan, USA, South Africa, UK, France, Switzerland, Austria, Lebanon

Roy, the superintendent of Hastings Caves at the time, knew that Tasmania had caves of outstanding quality by world standards and that there needed to be huge awareness as to their value and need for protection.

His trip, as well as having lasting effects, had several highlights.

He had planned to visit the Cango Caves in South Africa; while he knew that discovery work was being undertaken in the area, he was actually there when the breakthrough was made, and was thus one of the first party of ten people to see the newly discovered 850-m caves. South Africa’s largest paper at the time, The Cape Times, referred to Roy and quoted his comments: ‘This is undoubtedly one of the most significant finds in South Africa and will undoubtedly have worldwide repercussions.’

One of Roy’s favourite sites of all those visited on his trip were the Jeita Caves in Lebanon, some eighteen kilometres from Beirut. He described them as ‘simply magnificent’. The illumination, planning and construction of walkways was superlative. These caves are actually two parts of a large cave system, an upper section being a self-guided tour of indeterminate duration and a lower section being a river passage through which visitors are escorted in boats.

Roy came to a number of conclusions after his Fellowship:

  • Cave tourism is a specialised field, and any modification to enable tourism, both below and above ground, must be undertaken by experts and only after careful investigation.
  • Cave protection should be legislated and an advisory committee set up to monitor the provisions, with local speleologists represented on it.
  • Recruitment of cave guides should be very selective, preference being given to those with speleological experience and orientation, and with a pleasant personality and ability to relate to others.
  • Cave maintenance should be by those experienced in this field, not as an add-on to guide duties unless guides have the warranted experience or qualifications to do this.
  • An extensive public campaign should be undertaken to educate and inform the public as to the quality and potential of Tasmanian caves.
  • Interpretive material should be made available, visitor centres developed and all access roads to cave areas improved.

Roy retired after over 20 years in caves management. He wrote or co-authored several books or pamphlets relating to the caves where he worked, including one on Mole Creek (The Mole Creek Caves, by AD and RK Skinner).

Roy died in 2009. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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