Tim Jarvis AM

Leader, The Shackleton Epic expedition

Tim Jarvis is an author, film maker, environmental scientist, public speaker and adventurer who, in January 2013, led a team in retracing Sir Ernest Shackleton's legendary 1916 journey from Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia in a replica of his boat The James Caird, followed by a climb over the mountains of South Georgia.

Dubbed 'The Shackleton Epic', the crew used only 1916 technology, food and equipment. Their journey has been recorded in a 3-part documentary for the Discovery Channel (Shackleton Death or Glory) and in an internationally published book by Harper Collins (Shackleton's Epic, Recreating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival). The expedition patron is the Hon Alexandra Shackleton (granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton).

In 2014 Tim Jarvis was named Person of the Year by the world-renowned Classic Boat Magazine for his role in leading this expedition. In November 2014, Tim was also announced as WWF-Australia Global Ambassador.

The Shackleton Epic was not Tim's first high profile expedition. He previously retraced polar explorer Sir Douglas Mawson's polar journey of 1912/13 using the same clothing, equipment and starvation rations as Mawson on a journey where both of his colleagues died. The subsequent documentary was flagship of the Film Australia Making History series, and fronted Channel 4's highly acclaimed Edge of Endurance series in the UK in 2007. Expedition patrons were then Australian Prime Minister the Hon John Howard and the Hon Alexandra Shackleton.

Tim's love of exploring some of the world's most inhospitable and remote places combined with his passion for telling stories about his adventures in the polar regions ignites the excitement of discovery in his listeners, and leaves them inspired to take on challenges in their own lives. His specialty topics are leadership, resilience, and environmental sustainability.

Tim Jarvis is committed to finding pragmatic solutions to major environmental issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss. He uses his public speaking engagements, films and books about his expeditions/work to promote progress thinking in these areas.

His many appreciative audiences have included World Wildlife Fund, Ernst & Young, General Electric, Burberry, TEDxAdelaide, Science Communicators Summit, Institute of Public Administration Australia, the Royal Geographical Society, Commonwealth Bank Australia, the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. and the Australian Geographic Awards Gala.

Tim Jarvis has Masters degrees in environmental science and environmental law. He was named the Australian Geographic Society's Adventurer of the Year 2013 and received the prestigious Royal Institute of Navigation's Certificate of Achievement as Expedition Leader of the Shackleton Epic Expedition Team in July 2013. He was conferred a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to environment, community and exploration in the 2010 Australian honours list and was made a Fellow of the Yale World Fellows Program, 2009. He is the author of three books and leads innovation in the sustainability area for international engineering and environmental services firm Arup. He is also sustainability adviser on multilateral aid projects for the World Bank and AusAID, and emphasises the importance of solving problems by action not advocacy.

In 2014, Tim became the Patron of Nature Play SA, a not-for-profit association established to increase the time South Australian children spend in unstructured play outdoors and in nature. Nature Play SA works to raise awareness of nature play (unstructured outdoor play in nature, such as riding a bike, climbing a tree, caring for a garden, bushwalking and swimming at the beach), and provide information, resources and programs to help families and educators encourage children to get outdoors and play.

Tim Jarvis is a truly impressive leader and inspiring speaker who has the ability to engage any audience and hold them totally spellbound with tales of challenges met and lessons learnt from his polar expeditions.

Client testimonials

There are not many people who can speak on leadership in challenging times, as Tim can. It was refreshing to have someone speak on this topic that is outside of the public sector and non-political. There were over 800 public sector employees from various levels and departments in attendance; one of the largest most successful IPAA/DPC events to date and this was largely due to Tim’s intriguing and inspirational story. Tim Jarvis is not only a proven inspirational leader of our day who has an interesting mix of academia and adventurous spirit, he is a wonderful, caring, and engaging individual who although has walked on roads less travelled, has achieved the unachievable and consults with authoritative bodies, it is obvious he has not lost the ‘common touch’.

Institute of Public Administration

Tim was the perfect opening speaker to our workshop. He inspired our group with his personal Polar projects and experiences, showing them that big ideas can be made into reality. His key message stayed with the participants throughout the workshop, enabling them to channel the “thinking is good, doing is better” philosophy into innovative thinking in sustainability.

WWF Australia

Tim Jarvis was the guest speaker at the RANZCO Eye Foundation’s 10th Anniversary Dinner. Tim’s inspirational tales of his polar expeditions had the audience mesmerised – there were 240 guests and you could have heard a pin drop.

RANZCO Eye Foundation

Tim Jarvis held a full house audience of 170 adults and children spellbound at the Royal Geographical Society’s Singapore branch with a riveting account of his polar expeditions, how the lessons learned from these experiences can be applied to everyday life, and his work as an environmental scientist with the consulting engineering firm Arup … Tim’s talk was eye-opening, fascinating and inspiring for everyone in the room.

Royal Geographical Society