Chris Darwin on Charles Darwin

Evolution Festival, Media releases

Australia’s only direct descendant speaks out about living in Charles Darwin’s shadow

Blue Mountains resident Chris Darwin is a great great grandson of Charles Darwin.
He’s available to talk today (from early morning) about evolution, Darwin and life in his shadow.
Despite failing biology and being known as “missing link” at school, Chris Darwin bears his famous ancestor Charles no ill will.
On the contrary. “He had a beautiful brain, and was involved in something really interesting. And he genuinely didn’t want to upset people. I’d like to have met him. He has given a fantastic lift to my life.”
“I have been immersed in stories of Charles Darwin all my life. As children, we were always being dragged along the re-enactments to shake the hand of some man posing as Darwin. My sister believed we must all be from Australia, because there was a city called Darwin.
“I love his particular way of thinking, which is just as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 19th century. He managed to remove emotion. For instance, when he was considering marriage to his future wife Emma, he wrote down a list of all the pros and cons—and ended with the words, “Q.E.D. Marry! Marry! Marry!”

Clearly, Charles Darwin ensured his own fitness by contributing generously to the gene pool. Chris Darwin says he is one of well over 100 direct descendents all over the world, “but the only one in Australia”. He has been here since 1986 and lives with his wife, Jacqui and three children in the Blue Mountains, where he works as a canyoning rock climbing guide.
In 2003, Chris decided to use money inherited from Charles Darwin to pursue his ancestor’s wish to do good to his fellow creatures. So he and Jacqui purchased the land to establish the 686-square-kilometre Charles Darwin Reserve east of Geraldton, 355 km north of Perth in Western Australia. “Bigger than 20 countries in the world”, it is managed by Bush Heritage Australia.

Chris is guest of honour at Evolution – The Dinner to be held at Melbourne Museum tonight to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of his great, great grandfather. As diners eat their way through the evolutionary tree—beginning with primeval soup and ending with a meteorite impact surprise—they will be entertained by the Walking Whale Circus and 3-D IMAX films of dinosaurs.

The dinner is one of more than a dozen planned around Australia today.
For more public information about events that celebrate evolution and Darwin:

For interviews contact:
 Niall Byrne 03 9398 1416 or 0417 131 977 or