Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly

Yarra Riverkeeper & Vice President

AKA: Andos, Andos the big boss (family), Ando, Drew, Artie, My lord, the Riverkeeper

Likes: Wildlife, Birds, Life, Books, Ice Cream

Dislikes: People who let their dogs off leads in wild places, people who drop rubber bands and hair ties, (these hurt and kill birds), sugary things that tempt me

Favourite Animal in the Yarra Catchment: Rakali, because it is beautiful and robust, living on the river through the city. They remind me of Ratty in Wind in the Willows.


Andrew Kelly is the Yarra Riverkeeper and is the spokesperson for one of Melbourne’s most defining natural icons, The Yarra River. Patrolling the river by boat, Andrew gets to consistently admire and observe the wonders of the Yarra, both natural and man-made.  He regularly features in news articles, radio and podcasts as Melbourne’s foremost expert on the Yarra and frequently contributes his passion and expertise to strategic planning and policy development panels.

Growing up on the beautiful banks of the River, he was honoured to become Keeper in 2014 and followed on from the founding Riverkeeper, Ian Penrose. Together Ian and Andrew have built an organisation with a reputation for both on the ground work of environmental stewardship and water quality protection, as well as advocacy and educating the public.  In addition, he serves as the organisation’s figurehead on a global scale, contributing to the International Network of Rivers and Global Waterkeeper Alliance. A true advocate, he sits on the Birrarung Council, an expert panel of stakeholders dedicated to being the ‘voice of the Yarra’.

Well suited to telling the Yarra’s story, Andrew has utilised his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Letters through over 30 years’ experience in publishing and writing, and was a winner of the prestigious George Roberston Award in 2016.  Andrew  continues to run a secret life as a children’s picture book author and has recently published the book Wilam: a Birrarung Story, which was written in partnership with Aboriginal Wurundjeri elder, Aunty Joy Murphy. Andrew has been deeply involved with the mission of conservation and environmental protection, leading the charge on environmental progress and facilitating large scale community events

Barracking for Melbourne Football Club, Andrew also favours activities that start with ‘p’ such as Photography, philosophy and poetry and is always keen to discuss big picture topics.


“Find a place on this earth that is meaningful to you and protect it.” (Richie Garrett, grave digger, and early Waterkeeper advocate).