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Kath Lehany

Secretary, Battlers for Kelly’s Bush (1971-83)

We were never really a very organised group. I get comments on this from my fellow members but we weren’t really, you never quite knew what somebody else in the group was doing. I think we just went ahead and we’d suddenly get an inspiration to go and see the Jennings’ representatives or go and see somebody else and somebody’d hive off and see them and then when we had our meeting everybody would report as to what happened, we went off like a lot of ants in other words. We tried to get the support of the Australian Conservation Foundation who wrote back saying they didn’t think we were of any regional significance, and that was the opinion to of the Minister for Local Government and Lands and what not. So we wrote to the Duke of Edinburgh who was the Patron of the Conversation Foundation and he wrote to them and asked them to support these women. So we got their support. So we really got the support of a tremendous number of people just by our sheer perseverance and I think, I think that they all thought it was rather ridiculous this group of women standing up against a very large corporation, and that was going to be their entry into New South Wales from Victoria.
There was one [situation] that we identified with at the stage when the Premier was thinking about us, and it was a place called Winston Hills where there was a new sub-division, out near Parramatta, Carlingford out that way, and people who’d bought their homes there, this was probably early 70s, these young women, young marrieds who’d mortgaged themselves up to the hilt to buy a home or a block of land in this area were quite assured that the central part of it was going to be a nice public area, and instead of that as soon as they had all bought their houses, along came a service station and people and [they] started bulldozing to build a big service station there and something else, and these young women stood up to fight and it was quite inspiring, they came to see us to see what we’d done, and they were daubing themselves all over with lipstick and saying ‘Mobil Go Home’, and whoever the oil company was and they were putting sugar in the bulldozers, they were being much more militant than we were, but I felt that’s quite inspiring to me, and they stopped it, because at that stage it was a matter of the Premier either supporting them or us. It was sort of swinging seats and he’d promised us that he’d do his best for us and then our local Liberal member got in by a whisker and so the Winston Hills’ women won. I even had a telegram from the Premier saying ‘hopeful to have solution to your problem’ signed Robert Askin, and a couple of days later, or a few days later, we sent him a telegram saying "still awaiting for your solution to our problem", signed The Battlers, but we didn’t hear any more.

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