Scientific & Ecological Surveys


Australian Desert Expeditions (ADE) was founded in 2007 by five individuals who could see the substantial benefits of using packcamels to survey remote desert areas.


ADE is now governed by a four person Board and the yearly survey programs are devised by the Survey Program Co-ordinators with input from the Research Advisory Panel.


You can read about our Vision here.


Our Board

• Andrew Harper - Executive Director

• David Shelmerdine

• Dr Max Tischler

• Christopher Wright


Company Secretary

• Andrew Harper


Survey Program Co-ordinators

• Andrew Harper
• Dr Max Tischler


















































Andrew Harper

Andrew's background is in the pastoral industry, working for over 25 years in the stud merino industry in the NSW Riverina and western Queensland, as an overseer, professional woolclasser and contract stockman. He has worked as a photojournalist in Central and Southern Africa and in 1999 completed Capricorn Expedition, a solo 3800km walk across Australia raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and charities in his home town of Deniliquin. In 2017 he walked 1000kms across the Andes on Stage Two of Capricorn Expedition in South America, and will continue that journey once travel restrictions allow. Since 2000 he has owned and operated the Outback Camel Company, a desert camel trekking business based in Central Australia.


He has completed twelve crossings of the Simpson Desert in various directions and in 2002 took part in the 'Central Australian Expedition' which connected the 19th Century routes of explorers Augustus Gregory and John Stuart in the Tanami desert of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and actively supports and encourages the preservation of Australia's desert exploration history, Afghan cameleer heritage and the ecological surveying and exploring of remote desert regions. His most recent solo expedition was reconnXpedition, a 700 km journey across the Simpson Desert in 2012.


On Australia Day 2015 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to environmental science and research, and adventure tourism.

David E Shelmerdine

Mr Shelmerdine is President of the Geneva based Gold Standard Foundation, the world’s leading standard and certification body for Climate Mitigation and Sustainable Development


In addition, David is a founding director and deputy chairman of ClimateWorks Australia


He is a member of the advisory boards’ of the Clean Air and Urban Living Hub “CAUL” and the Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions “CEED”.


He is managing director of Laradoc Pty Ltd, a privately owned agribusiness company with interests in the pastoral, livestock and viticulture sectors.  David has a Graduate Diploma (Hons) in Agriculture from Adelaide University Roseworthy College in South Australia and has been directly involved in the management and strategic direction of a number of privately owned agribusiness companies.

He is a past Deputy Chairman of The Myer Family Company Holdings Pty Ltd, a member of its investment committee, remuneration and nominations committee and Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee.




Dr Max Tischler

Max has been working in the Australian arid zone for the past 20 years, on a range of projects focused on the ecology of small mammals, reptiles and birds. He completed his PhD on bird communities in the Simpson Desert through the Desert Ecology Group at the University of Sydney and has worked as Regional Ecologist for Bush Heritage Australia's Gulf to Lake Eyre anchor region. He is also involved with a number of Pastoral and Indigenous groups across northern Australia, and sees the integration of discovery, conservation and production as essential for future land management in semi-arid and arid Australia.



In 2018 Max was appointed ADE's Chief Scientist - a full-time role co-ordinating all aspects of our research program. This position provides the opportunity for Max to work year round as a directing ecologist, collaborative scientist and expedition leader.

Christopher (Harry) Wright

Christopher grew up near Armidale on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, and from an early age has been passionate about growing things and working with animals.


Over his working life this interest subsequently led to him becoming involved with various conservation groups, including the Australian Grasslands Society, Australian Farm Management Society, Holistic Management, and the Rangelands Society of Australia. He was a member of the State Advisory Council of NPWS (NSW) for eight years.


He now lives in Byron Bay and during the winter months is an active member of our cameleering team, working throughout the season on our surveys and with responsibilities for camel and harness acquisition.

Stay up-to-date with our 2021-22 survey program and subscribe to our newsletter