Our Council

Wollangarra is governed by a voluntary Council. Councillors are committed supporters, elected to the Council because they believe in and support the aims of Wollangarra.

Ross Richards (Chair)

Ross was Director at Wollangarra from 2005 to 2007, and currrently teaches at Sophia Mundi Steiner School. He has an honours degree in Aerospace Engineering, Graduate Diploma in Education, and a Masters of Education. Ross’ background encompasses engineering, farming, music, and teaching. In his spare time, Ross enjoys mountain bike riding, mandolin playing in a gypsy jazz band, surfing, kayaking, hiking, and the occasional bush dance at Wollangarra and Mittagundi.

Josie McLachlan (Vice Chair)

Josie first came to Wollangarra as a staff member in 2000, later returning to direct with her husband, Simon, and their two little boys. Josie and her family moved to the beautiful Yarra Valley and now works as an Outdoor Education teacher at a local school.

David Cadogan

David is an agricultural scientist specialising in nutrition and reducing the carbon footprint of food production. He grew up on a farm in North East Victoria, and during his high school years spent every second or third weekend hiking and camping throughout the North Eastern and Central Ranges. Dave attended Mittagundi later in high school (1985) and became a good friend of Ian Stapleton. He joined the Wollangarra Council from the beginning (1989) and spent many weeks helping with the building and early courses. David had a break from the council between 2015 and 2020 to focus on his family and own farm in Lancefield which is totally off the grid (solar powered). He is a keen mountain bike rider, spends a week in August every year on Mount Bogong back country snow-boarding, and is passionate about reducing the use of non-renewable resources.

Kelly Reed (Treasurer)

Kelly was introduced to Wollangarra by her daughter Eliza, who was once involved in stage 2. After visiting Wollangarra with her 11 year old son and husband in 2017 they realised this was a special place and was going to be somewhere both children where going to be spending a lot of time. Kelly has a Bachelor of Accounting and a Diploma of Secondary Education. Originally an Auditor with Deloitte, Kelly now works in the construction industry and brings acumen and an interest in education to the council. 


Helen Collins (Honorary Solicitor)

Helen Collins is a lawyer from north east Victoria. She is a keen bushwalker, having been first introduced to the Victorian mountains on a Mittagundi course as a student. Helen helped out on early Wollangarra work parties – carting building materials across (and through) the river, planting trees and digging holes and trenches (including helping with the dugout – twice, and the old telephone line). During 1993, Helen was a staff member at Wollangarra, and has been on Council since 1996, including holding the positions of Secretary and Chair. Helen has extensive remote area bushwalking experience, both with young people and on private expeditions in Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Nepal. On the Council, Helen brings skills and experience in law, risk management, remote expedition planning and environmental science.’


Hamish Macrae

Hamish first took the flying fox to Wollangarra on a stage one program in 2004 to take on the amazing opportunities he had heard about from his siblings. He kept coming back at every opportunity, through stage two and then onto stage three and the stage three committee. To him Wollangarra offered, and still offers, an amazing opportunity to be in the beautiful mountains, be part of a community and contribute in a meaningful way. In 2012 he took the logical next step of committing a year and worked as staff member, hoping to help other young people experience all the place has to offer. Recently Hamish completed a Diploma of Outdoor Recreation and currently works as a freelance outdoor education instructor.

Freya Thomas

Freya loves plant and being outdoors. As a young person she got hooked on Woll and has spent lots of time in the mountains with stage 2’s and stage 3’s, a year on staff plus personal adventuring. Freya continues to love exploring the outdoors and is lucky enough to be a botanist, so she gets to do this all the time. Freya’s role on the council is to think about environmental things and writing grants. 

Michael Caffrey

Michael grew up in the hills around Briagolong, Gippsland. As a teenager he attended a holiday Stage I program at Wollangarra. When he left school he wanted to give back to Wollangarra and joined the staff team in 2015, were he met an amazing community and incredible young people. After several years working at DELWP, he has finally moved to the big city to work as a firefighter with Fire Rescue Victoria. 

Claire Heazlewood

Claire is from Camberwell, in year nine she first came to Wollangarra with Camberwell High and has been involved in the Wollanarra community ever since. In 2015, Claire ticked off a bucket list item by working at Wollangarra.  After travelling, completing a business degree, being a hike guide and goat farmer Claire finally settled down by getting a dog and working as a firefighter with Fire Rescue Victoria.