© Supplied
Location icon Australia

Honouring her father’s legacy

Sarah Nielson talks about her father’s life and why he chose to leave a gift in his will to refugees

John Nielsen was a farmer, teacher and conservationist who felt a strong responsibility to help others who were less fortunate. His daughter, Sarah, shares the story of her father’s remarkable life and why he chose to support refugees with a gift in his Will.

My father, John, lived in Creightons Creek outside Euroa in country Victoria, where he had bought his farm in 1969.

He grew up in Melbourne and studied biology and science at Melbourne Uni in the 1960s and trained as a teacher. Alongside farming, which was a very unreliable income, he taught science at Euroa High School for many years.

He was passionate about the natural environment and about creating and preserving habitat for native animals. He planted thousands of trees after careful research about what species would be best to encourage and maintain optimal habitats for local birds and mammals.

He was an avid naturalist and birdwatcher, and read extensively on the topics of plants, birds and reptiles. His knowledge of the Australian wildlife was vast.

© Supplied
Sarah Nielson as a child, in the arms of her father John.

I think Dad was very aware of how fortunate he was to live in Australia. To have been born in a prosperous and beautiful country, with excellent education, healthcare and a stable democratic government.

As kids, he taught us the importance of gratitude, hard work and, probably above all else, caring for the environment, its creatures and other people. He was both conscious of his privilege and, at the same time, aware that many others are not so fortunate.

I think this was the basis for his extraordinary charitable giving, throughout his life, but particularly in the large bequests left in his Will.

He left bequests to a number of charities close to his heart, including, of course, Australia for UNHCR.

I am sure that Dad felt that we have a responsibility to support and help refugees, who often are fleeing war, famine, and the most awful and tragic circumstances of their birth country. It could be us, he would say, but we are lucky that it’s not. And we have to help them.

How do you want to be remembered? You can ensure your values live on by leaving a gift in your Will, like John. For more information, please contact our Planned Giving Manager, Aylin Salt, on (02) 9276 6871 or [email protected]

Related Stories

View all stories
Banner Image 3200Px X 1200Px
Location icon

Crafting for refugees

Craftivists Stephanie Dunlap and Tal Fitzpatrick reached out to artists around the world to raise funds for Australia for UNHCR

Prickles the 'social distancing' sheep
Location icon

Shear genius: Lost sheep donates fleece

Woolly idea raises thousands for refugees

Art Comp 2
Location icon

Youth with Refugees Art Contest

Use your creativity for a good cause

Our fundraising commitment

The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.

Humanitarian programs