An appreciation to Phil and Trix Wollen and Kindness Trust
by Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen
Additional comments from Captains Peter Hammarstedt and Sid Chakravarty, and Sea Shepherd Global Executive Director, Captain Alex Cornelissan.
Back in the early days of Sea Shepherd, when the Farley Mowat was our only ship and our volunteer crew at times had to dumpster dive for food, we received an offer of help from two of the most passionate, kindest and inspiring defenders of the planet, Phil and Trix Wollen. The offer of help led to Phil and Trix donating an office for Sea Shepherd at Kindness House in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Kindness House was established as an incubator for growing NGO's, providing excellent office facilities with modern technology to enable the organisations to work more efficiently. This donation enabled Sea Shepherd Australia and Sea Shepherd Global to grow in leaps and bounds, and was integral in our evolution from an organistion with one ship, one ground support chapter in Australia, 20 volunteers and a dozen events a year across the country, to the organisation we are today, with 20 chapters in Australia, 700 plus volunteers over 1,000 events a year across the country, and four ships defending the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
This nurturing and support has been crucial in our development as an organisation, and has enabled us to grow to the point where Sea Shepherd Australia's administration office will now be based at our new ships operations base at Seaworks, Williamstown, Victoria. The new office location gives our small administration team the ability to be directly connected to the ships and crew, and to better assist them with their needs. The move also allows room for another start up NGO to take residence in Kindness House, so it too can be a force to be reckoned with for our planet and future generations.
While our administration team has moved, our fantastic Sea Shepherd Melbourne Chapter land support crew will now be located on the second floor of Kindness House, which will be the site of regular chapter meetings and various other activities.
As with everything the Wollen's do, the second floor Sea Shepherd office has been well planned, with internet and furnishings. There are over 40 framed Sea Shepherd photographs and numerous pieces of memorabilia throughout the building, including the can-opener from the Farley Mowat on the ground floor (promoted by Victorian Historical Society tours) and a photograph of Captain Paul Watson receiving his Kindness Trust Gold Medal for Humanitarian Service. Other recipients of the medal include Sir David Attenborough, Maneka Gandhi, Colin Campbell and Jane Goodall.
As well, the second floor is the location of the Kindness House theatre, which has shown educational and promotional films about Sea Shepherd’s marine conservation campaigns to over 8,000 people to date. Sea Shepherd also has its name on the front door of Kindness House, which is seen by the on average of 10,000 passers-by every day.
"My dear friends Philip and Trix Wollen are compassionate people who dream with both eyes open as if to make a kinder world possible. Whales spared the harpoon, bears freed from their cages at bear bile farms and animals given sanctuary throughout India are but some of the manifestations of their kindness. Kindness House, from where Sea Shepherd has worked since first arriving in Australia, is a monument to their philosophy of 'Ahimsa', to do no harm to any living being. 'Ahimsa' will continue to underscore every direct intervention to defend marine wildlife as the Sea Shepherd Fleet, thanks to the continued support of the Wollens, turn kindness into action on the high seas." - Peter Hammarstedt, Captain, The Bob Barker.
"Kindness House has quite literally been the roof over Sea Shepherd Australia's head for the past decade. Under this shelter, we have managed to grow and as we stretch our wings and get ready to fly. The kindness and the support that Phil and Trix Wollen have bestowed upon us over the years can never be repaid, but we can thank them by continuing to fly the Sea Shepherd flag higher and propelling ourselves ahead from the platform they helped us build." - Siddharth Chakravarty, Captain, The Steve Irwin.
“For the last eight years, Phil and Trix Wollen have given incredible support to Sea Shepherd. We are all well aware that this is one of the main reasons why have grown so strong. From buying vegan pizza for the whole Sea Shepherd crew to supporting an incredible number of non-profits; Phil and Trix are two of the most caring people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and I hope to have them in our ranks for many years to come.”- Captain Alex Cornelissen, Global Executive Officer (GEO), Sea Shepherd Global.
Time and time again, Phil and Trix have given so generously to Sea Shepherd and have treated each crewmember as one of their own family. They were on board The Steve Irwin for Operation Kimberley Miinimbi, have purchased incredible amounts of produce for the galley and supplies for the ship, and looked after the crew in countless ways. If I was to list the amount of generous and kind things Phil and Trix have done for Sea Shepherd it would be the world’s longest commentary.
Sea Shepherd Australia isn't moving it’s just growing. We will continue to work with Fin Free, Blue Fin Action group and other NGO's in our collaborative efforts to save our oceans. We are apart of the heart of Kindness House and will continue to have a presence there, along with the other forty plus powerful NGO's in the building who continue punch above their weight in the fight for the planet. This is the legacy of Phil and Trix - what an amazing gift to be responsible for!
All in all, without a doubt, we know that Sea Shepherd would not be where it is today, with thousands more whales swimming in our oceans, without the support, love and compassion from Phil and Trix. For that we are always and eternally grateful.
With all our heart,
Thank you Phil and Trix for all you do for Sea Shepherd and our wondrous planet.
Our new address and telephone:
2 Ann Street Williamstown
Tel: 1300 OCEANS (+61 1300 623 267)