Don Burke

Don Burke is a lifelong gardener and budgerigar breeder. He began breeding budgies in the 1950s mentored by the pioneering greats of the budgie world. He was fascinated by genetics in high school which culminated in him winning a high school science competition for his work on budgerigar genetics, taking his budgie-breeding prowess to the next level. He graduated as a tree surgeon and horticulturist from TAFE where he was President of the Students’ Association and went on to be NSW President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture. He was also a board member of the University of NSW Science Advisory Committee. Don became a very popular Australian television and radio personality and author of over 10 books on gardening including best sellers ‘The Lazy Gardener’ and ‘Organic’. He is best known as the creator and host of the extremely successful Logie-award winning TV show ‘Burke's Backyard’, which began in 1987 and ran for 17 years on Channel 9. He also produced TV series ‘Backyard Blitz’ another highly successful program that launched the careers of other well-known personalities. Don was a former board member of Landcare Australia and was a member of the founding groups for Greening Australia & Year of the Tree. He instigated the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (NRA) -now known as Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)– and was on the board for 3 years. He also lobbied for and achieved NSW legislation banning environmental weeds. In 2010 he received the Medal of Order of Australia (OAM) in recognition of services to conservation and the environment through advisory roles, to the horticultural industry, and to the media. Throughout it all, Don has always bred budgerigars, maintaining his aviaries and meticulously logging all his pairings, colour creations and dedicating himself to ensure the functional form and health of his birds. In 2015 Don & Bob Pitt set up the Australian Heritage Budgerigar Association. Don also writes articles on heredity and genetics for University of Sydney Veterinary Science Faculty scientific publication, C&T research journal. Don’s latest book, ‘Budgerigars, The Colour Revolution’, is the culmination of a life’s work and is an invaluable reference for fellow breeders wanting to expand their skills or beginners wanting to make a start.
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