Eric Bottomley photoCERES is sad to announce that Eric Bottomley died peacefully on the morning of Sunday 2nd February 2014. This extraordinary man has worked tirelessly at CERES for the past 25 years to create one of the largest bodies of environmental and cultural education resources and networks in Australia, and help ‘mainstream’ the awareness of sustainability.

Instead of flowers, Eric’s family suggests a donation to Caritas Christi Hospice in Kew, the Cancer Council or CERES.

Here is a small summary of this amazing man’s achievements…

Eric Bottomley created one of the largest bodies of environmental and cultural education resources and networks in Australia, and ‘mainstreamed’ the awareness of sustainability.

From 1989 – 1999 Eric worked tirelessly to transform CERES Community Environment Park from a tip site into an education resource for school and university students, and the general community. In 1989, education visitor numbers were 400 per year, and by 1999, the program was attracting 60,000 half day student visits per year. This was due to the ‘Sheer Force of Eric’; his creativity, resourcefulness, intellect, tenacity, good humour – and utmost care for the world. Since then, CERES education program has continued to attract similar numbers each year such that in 2010 it celebrated its millionth student visit.

Eric Bottomley is an Australian pioneer and leader in sustainability education. His work in the past 25 years has created one of the largest In 1990, Eric decided to take CERES’ environmental content and educational approach to hundreds of other sites. Over the last 13 years he has lead the transformation of over 3,000 Australian schools with an enduring framework for sustainability education. He has also helped over 30 communities in Australia and overseas to replicate the CERES model.

He leaves an immense legacy. Eric Bottomley can be credited with:

  • Mainstreaming sustainability education and helping sustainability to become visible.
  • Raising sustainability awareness and creating a significant impact in the Australian education sector.
  • Raising cultural awareness and tolerance and advocating for appropriate development – particularly through CERES’ Aboriginal, African and Indonesian education programs.
  • Pioneering Aboriginal education in Melbourne; locating the first Wurundjeri teachers and providing Melbourne’s first platform for Aboriginal education.
  • Providing sustainability leadership through mentoring students and extensive networking and partnerships with other organisations.
  • Co-writing and developing the ‘Sustainable Schools’ program, which is now known as ‘ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic’ and has been delivered to over 30% of Victorian schools.
  • Taking CERES as a whole as well as its education intellectual property into both Australian and international communities including Thailand, Philipines and South Korea.


Eric’s work has been nothing less than “hard yakka” – much in personal time, over hours, on a small community wage, where he would often sacrifice his own gain for the greater good. Yet all his achievements have been through engaging and endlessly humorous leadership, story-telling, research and music.

You can see a tribute to Eric in the grandfather clock that stands beside the Reception desk at CERES. This clock pays tribute to his role as the grandfather of sustainability education in Victoria and acknowledges his role of grandfather to three gorgeous little boys.

Read Eric’s departing message in ‘The Winter of My Work’ –

Listen to Eric’s music at –

We will miss Eric dearly and will honour his legacy by continuing his work.

By CERES Education – Outreach Team|2017-11-06T18:08:23+10:00December 13th, 2013|0 Comments