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Caroline Paterson

Raised on a cereal crop and sheep farm in the Murray Mallee, I completed year twelve and travelled around working as a jack of all trades, in the mining, waste management, horse racing, hospitality and tourism industries in northern Australia before returning to SA to be closer to family. My love of nature and the outdoors led me to pursue a degree in Applied Science (Conservation and Park Management) from 1996-2000. While studying I worked part-time for National Parks in their CFS brigade and delivering environmental interpretation contracts, and tour guide for visitors to Granite Island interpreting Little Penguins, Whales and Dolphins.


In 2001, I secured a job as a Park Ranger, based in the Fleurieu and later Yorke District until 2011, when I transferred to District Ranger KI West and my partner Nige and daughter Jess moved into Kelly Hill Lodge. The island had been calling to us for years, after living and working in coastal regions of South Australia. Drawn to the relatively in-tact wilderness of the western end, rich in biodiversity, and the small rural community.  We purchased a property west of Middle River with a balance of remnant vegetation and open pastures where we are planning our family home.


After almost 20 years with National Parks and Wildlife, I left my role as Ranger in Charge of KI Parks in February 2019 as my values were no longer aligned with those of the State Government. I learnt a lot from my time in the public service and can now use my knowledge to voice my belief in retaining wild places, and conserving threatened species and the diverse habitats that support them. I am proud to be working for Birdlife Australia as the Kangaroo Island Bushfire Recovery Officer, which is largely a community engagement role. I am a member of both Friends of Parks KI Western Districts and KI Eco-Action and dedicated to supporting truly sustainable tourism opportunities, agriculture and development proposals that support our economy and provide meaningful employment while protecting the natural and cultural values of Kangaroo Island.