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chronology of the campaign to save Kelly’s Bush

Pip Kalajzich

1967 The Sydney Smelting Co.Pty.Ltd., moved from Woolwich and A. V. Jennings Aust. Ltd., took a two year option to buy the land. They submitted a development plan to the Hunter's Hill Council.
1968 24th June – Ordinary Meeting of Hunter's Hill Council. Extract from Minutes…
  (a) Council is unanimously and emphatically opposed to any alteration in the zoning of that part of land at Woolwich owned by the Sydney Smelting Co. Pty. Ltd., which has been zoned under the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme as 'open space' since 1951.
  (b) Council firmly believes that land zoned as 'open space' under the County of Cumberland Planning Scheme should be acquired and maintained for that purpose.
1969  But following the Hunter's Hill Council elections, the new aldermen in Council, approved Jennings' plan for development of KELLY'S BUSH voting 5 to 4 in favour. Resistance came from the Hunter's Hill Trust, which succeeded in reducing the proposed plans from three tower blocks of home units, to 60-70 town houses, then finally to 25 suburban houses.
  September – Following a well-attended meeting of concerned local residents at All Saints Parish Hall, the "BATTLERS FOR KELLY'S BUSH" was formed–a committee of thirteen women. They worked with the Hunter's Hill Trust, and gradually received the support of many organisations including:

National Trust of Aust. (N.S.W.)

Australian Conservation Foundation

National Parks & Wildlife Service

Civic Design Society of N.S.W.

Royal Institute of Architects

Citizens Resident Action Group

Youth Groups and Student Bodies.

Statement by the President, Civic Design Society, University of N.S.W.

"Why fight for KELLY'S BUSH? Firstly – because a strong and vigorous stand has been taken by local people. Secondly– because its location on the harbour foreshores makes this more than a local issue – it affects thousands of people who use the harbour every day. The number of places where there is substantial bush on the harbour is limited, particularly in the western reaches, and should not be reduced. Thirdly – because, as the Battlers have stated, this is a test case. If a successful stand can be made here, then great hope and help is given to other cases elsewhere in the future. This is a skirmish in a greater battle."

Statement by Kylie Tennant "KELLY'S BUSH is a symbol of our lost land. Take away KELLY'S BUSH and you take away one more assurance that in man is left a possibility for the future. The unborn Australian will ask for his birthright and be handed a piece of concrete."

1970 Deputation to the Premier, Sir Robert Askin and in an attempt to prevent the re-zoning of the land, the development of KELLY'S BUSH. Sir Robert Askin indicated support for the "Battlers" petition, BUT on 3rd June 1971, his Minister for Local Government, signed the document re-zoning this 'open space' land, in favour of residential development.


Increased support now came from many places. The Trades and Labour Council of N.S.W. spoke out against the alienation of 'open space'. KELLY'S BUSH became the subject of the first green bans and so a temporary stay of proceedings was brought about.

1973 The Hunter's Hill Council applied to the Federal Government Grants Commission for money to buy the whole of KELLY'S BUSH. This was unsuccessful.
1974 Commissioner Dale appointed by the Hunter's Hill Council to hear objections to the proposed Town Plan, recommended that KELLY'S BUSH should be retained as 'open space'. A Consultant Town Planner called in by the Council, examined the case and agreed with Commissioner Dale's findings.
1976 In spite of these expert opinions, the Hunter's Hill Council, by a narrow majority, voted that the zoning of KELLY'S BUSH be residential.
1977 January – Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Wran, stated that the Government would ensure that no development occurred at KELLY'S BUSH; and that if the Council would agree to purchase KELLY'S BUSH for 'open space' recreation, the Government would contribute half the purchase price.
1977 February – The National Trust of Australia (N.S.W.) sponsored the "National Trust– KELLY'S BUSH Appeal".
1977-1978 The Problem of Radio-active waste in Hunter's Hill. The discovery of some radio-active waste material on KELLY'S BUSH has raised doubts about the appropriateness of this land for residential development.
1981 The Town Clerk, Municipality of Hunter's Hill, stated in an open Council Meeting that the matter of the zoning of Kelly's Bush was now in obeyance, pending the release of the Hunter's Hill Town Plan.

Reproduced with permission of the author, Pip Kalajzich.

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