Barbara Hardy has been working in the environment field in a voluntary capacity since the early 1970s. During this time she spent five years at the Flinders University of South Australia studying the Earth Sciences (1974-79), following a Science Degree at The University of Adelaide in 1947 (majoring in Chemistry).
She has been a Commissioner of the Australian Heritage Commission, President of the National Parks Foundation of South Australia (now the Nature Foundation SA), Founding President of the Investigator Science and Technology Centre, and Chairman of the South Australian Landcare Committee amongst a number of other roles.
Barbara Hardy was appointed an Officer of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1987, an Honorary Doctorate of the Flinders University in 1993, as well as an Advance Australia Award 1991, SA Great Award 1992, Institution of Engineers Medal 1992, ABC Eureka Award for the Advancement of Science 1994, and was named South Australian Citizen of the Year in 1996. She is now a Companion of the Institution of Engineers Australia, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy where she is a member of the Hydrogen Division.
In October 2001 she was appointed as the Member from Australia in the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED), a major international project initiated and funded by the Japanese Ministry for Environment. APFED “aims to propose a model of equitable and sustainable development for Asia and the Pacific Region”. Barbara has now stood down as the APFED Member from Australia, as of July 2006, and her place was taken by Greg Bourne, CEO of WWF Australia.
In August 2009 the University of Adelaide presented Barbara with a Distinguished Alumni Award “in recognition of her lifelong commitment, and significant contribution to the advancement of Science Education, Science Awareness, and Environmental Conservation”.
In November 2009. The University of South Australia established the Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments. This organization later became an Institute.
In April 2010 the University of Adelaide admitted Barbara to the Degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa).
Barbara Hardy’s principal interests are in ecologically sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, environmental valuation, renewable energy production and use, and in business and industrial matters especially as they affect the environment within which we all live.