About Us

My goal in establishing the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation is to make a practical contribution to an extraordinary part of South Australia’s heritage that is renowned worldwide – the Ediacaran fossils.

Anyone who has seen these fossils can only be awestruck by this evidence of the earliest animal life on Earth, and its exceptional state of preservation across half a billion years of our planet.

Moments in time are forever captured in the rocks of the Flinders Ranges.

The Foundation is dedicated to protecting and conserving these fossils, and ensuring they are well managed for current and future generations to experience and learn from them.

Our fossil record is not only unique in having so many species, and such a perfect record of the ecology of the marine environment from this distant epoch; but our fossils also provide an unparalleled analogue for environmental conditions on other planets. This is why NASA has supported research in the Flinders Ranges for many years.

The impetus for creating the Foundation was the urgency to protect the world’s single greatest fossil record of Ediacaran fossils at Nilpena Station.

The Foundation is now embarking on an ambitious multi year program, looking to work closely with land managers, researchers, institutions, the traditional owners and broader community of the Flinders Ranges, to ensure our Ediacaran legacy is a source of pride and opportunity.


Mary Lou Simpson
Chair, Flinders Ranges Ediarcara Foundation

Revealing Earth’s earliest animals


The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation exists to conserve the Ediacaran fossils of the Flinders Ranges in perpetuity, and to ensure that the knowledge they embody is made available to the world.


The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation (FREF) will be guided by seven core values:

1. Collaborative Catalyst
Achieving our purpose by forging valuable partnerships and projects among individuals and institutions

2. The Long Game
A commitment to creating a sustainable support system for Nilpena, and such choices will reflect this time horizon

3. Open and Inclusive
Programs, networks, and information will be shared with any interested and qualified parties.

4. WOW! (Curiosity, Inspiration and Innovation)
Innovation in content, programs, relationships and business models to engage and inspire curiosity.

5. Interdisciplinary
Collaboration across all academic disciplines and institutions

6. Resourcefulness
Operating models to generate support from all sources: public, private, philanthropic, and commercial.

7. Integrity
All decisions will be made in accordance with its purpose and values. 


1. The Nilpena fossil beds will become the most important site in the world for the study of the Ediacaran era

2. Learnings from Nilpena will be shared around the world using real and virtual platforms

3. Nilpena will be supported by a secure sustainable plan covering access rights, ownership, funding, operations, and maintenance.

The Board

Mrs Mary Lou Simpson (chair)

Mary Lou Simpson has had a strong interest in the Nilpena Ediacaran fossil beds since 2004 and understands the global significance of these fossils for scientific research, education and ecotourism. This understanding has come through working closely with palaeontologists in the field and personally leading the Waterhouse Club (main support group at the South Australian Museum) expeditions to the site.

The newly formed Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation is the product of much work and Mary Lou has been the principal fund raiser for the purchase of the Nilpena fossil beds. An Honours graduate of the University of Adelaide, Mary Lou was a secondary teacher, SACE examiner and curriculum writer and a contract employee of the South Australian Museum. For 19 years Mary Lou was secretary of the Waterhouse Club (SA Museum) and enjoyed a rich relationship with scientists, researchers and palaeontologists. She is a published author and co-ordinates Inspiring Science lectures for a profile South Australian based women’s group.

Professor Mary Droser (California, USA)

Mary Droser is Professor of Geology, Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Riverside having received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and has been working on Ediacaran and Cambrian rocks all over the world throughout her career, specifically in the Flinders Ranges/at Nilpena for the past 18 years. She is widely published and regularly contributes to scientific journals.
The University of California Riverside’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences focuses on research and education about Earth dynamics and history, planets inside and outside or our solar system, and life in the universe. Students and faculty investigate geological processes operating at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and research interests span many disciplines within the Earth and Planetary Sciences. Mary Droser is very involved in working to increase diversity in the Earth Sciences.

Mrs Belinda Goedecke

Belinda provides business services to clients ranging from individuals through to small and medium-sized businesses. Belinda also specialises in Foreign Tax Issues and Research and Development Tax Incentive claims. She currently looks after a group of clients who are involved in a range of occupations and businesses including health, engineering, legal, finance, property development and investors.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in the faculty of Mathematical Sciences graduate, and is a Fellow of CharteredAccountants Australia and New Zealand, and is a Chartered Tax Adviser with The Tax Institute.

Mr John Goldberg

John Goldberg practices as a commercial lawyer in South Australia and has over 40 years’ experience. He has acted as a Board adviser and as a director on a large number of private companies and also has very considerable experience in the not for profit sector. John is a former President of the Law Society of South Australia and chaired the Ethics Committee of the Law Society for over seven years. He also chaired the Law Society’s Audit and Risk Management Committee and Investment Committee.

Apart from his experience as a lawyer, John is a very experienced nature and wildlife photographer.

Professor Bob Hill

Bob Hill is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and completed his Ph.D. on Tertiary plant macrofossils and his D.Sc. on the interaction between climate change and the evolution of the living Australian vegetation.
In 1999 he returned to the University of Adelaide as an Australian Research Council (ARC) Senior Research Fellow and in 2001 was appointed Head of Science at the South Australian Museum. In 2003 he became Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University Adelaide then Executive Dean. His current role is that of Director of the University’s Environment Institute.

During his career he has won many awards including the Clarke and Burbidge Medals for his research into the impact of long-term climate change on the evolution of Australian vegetation.

Mr Chris Meyer (Boston, USA)

As the CEO of Nerve LLC, an innovation advisory firm, Chris Meyer counsels companies, from start-ups to global giants, helping them find specific innovation opportunities in large-scale trends. He has published four books: the first, BLUR, was a Business Week Top Ten Best Seller, and his most recent, Standing on the Sun, was listed among the Best Books of 2012 by the Financial Times. He has contributed to many publications, including the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Wired, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sloane Management Review, Time, and Business Week. He has spoken to companies, NGOs, government agencies and in public conferences on four continents about technology, innovation, and changing ways of doing business. Chris has been a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School, Tsinghua University, the MIT Sloane School, St. Galen University and Georgetown University, and his books have been used in business, economics and foreign service school courses. He has been a judge for Singapore’s National Innovation Awards and Consulting Magazine ranked him among the 20 Most Influential Consultants in the U.S. Chris has been an innovator and entrepreneur throughout his career; Chris’s mission is to anticipate and shape the future of business. He has pursued this goal as an author, executive, consultant, entrepreneur, speaker, trustee, teacher and the leader of a think tank.

Mr Chris Rann

Chris Rann is a highly experienced publicist and communications strategist specialising in crisis management, media training and international media. His clients – in the UK, France, Finland, New Zealand and Australia – include major corporations, government agencies, not-for profits, law firms, foreign embassies and private schools. A former journalist, broadcaster and foreign correspondent (BBC, CBS News, Radio New Zealand) Chris has worked – and reported from – many parts of the world. In 2008 Chris was awarded a presidential honour by Finland for his work in promoting Scandinavia in Australia and New Zealand and is the Honorary Consul for Finland and Sweden in South Australia.

His involvement with the media and journalism was triggered by a passion for natural history and ornithology and – as a teenager in Britain – he wrote (and had published) letters and articles about the natural world. This interest is as intense today as it was then.


Foundation Board members provide their time and expertise without remuneration.