1814 ‘Smuggler’s Tunnels’ to be destroyed

brick barrel drain, Windsor bridge

Roads and Maritime Services workers have uncovered more of the brick barrel drain structure at Windsor Bridge.  These are known locally as the ‘Smuggler’s Tunnels’ and were commissioned in 1814.  They are the earliest known example of this type of infrastructure in Australia.

This structure will be destroyed when the NSW Government builds a bridge that directs traffic into intersections that will be beyond capacity when the bridge opens.

For the past 5 years, community members have been protesting at Thompson Square in Windsor every single day, 24 hours a day, Christmas Day included. They want to stop the construction of a massive bridge and road right through the nationally significant heritage square – Australia’s oldest public square.

Hunters Hill Trust has sent a submission to the Parliamentary Enquiry which we will be to able to publish when the Enquiry is made public.   You can read the Trust’s urgent letter to the NSW Premier about the Windsor Bridge Project.

Sign the petition to save Windsor Bridge here.

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Gladesville Shopping Village development update

In the August 2017 Journal we referred to the “recently approved” Planning Proposal for the Gladesville Shopping Village (GSV) site. Steve Kourepis, Hunters Hill Council’s Group Manager, Development and Regulatory Control has written to The Trust taking issue with the use of the word “approved”.

We agree that this needs clarification as it could be misconstrued that there is an approved scheme ready to be built on the GSV site or that changes to the Local Environment Plan (LEP) have been approved.  This is not the case because the planning proposal has not yet been exhibited.

We have discussed the matter with Philippa Hayes, Council’s Senior Strategic Planner.  In order to avoid any possible misunderstandings and in an attempt to make sense of the process, we have taken much of the relevant information directly from the DoP’s website as well as from Council’s website.  We hope this may help readers to understand more clearly the labyrinthine processes involved (fingers crossed – it’s complex):

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Great news: 18 Richmond Crescent Appeal dismissed

community says ‘thank you’

18 Richmond Crescent

The Land and Environment Court has dismissed an appeal from the owners of 18 Richmond Crescent after Hunters Hill Council rejected their Development Application to demolish the house and build a very large new house in its place.  Key factors cited in the judgement included:

  • heritage value of the existing cottage
  • contribution of the cottage to two conservation areas
  • impact on streetscape and character
  • alternative options to preserve building
  • meaning of ‘Conservation Area – Landscape’
  • public interest.

The house makes a positive contribution to two conservation areas and is of heritage value. The replacement building was to be of an inappropriate bulk and scale that would adversely impact on the heritage significance of the conservation areas.  Read Commissioner Jenny Smithson’s full Judgment here. 

This is a fantastic achievement for Hunters Hill Council, for the Conservation Advisory Panel and for the many local residents who worked to protect the house and the conservation areas.

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Proposed subdivision of Church land

St Peter Chanel Church (image Wikimedia)

The Marist Fathers have owned the land at 5 Crescent Street Woolwich since 1889 when they bought it from George Shannon Arthur and William Cope for 700 pounds.  The Council, in recognition of the contribution the church, its buildings and curtilage makes to the community, has waived collection of rates on the land since that time – 127 years.

The Marist Fathers now want to create two house blocks of around 1000m2 each along the northern boundary of the land, which has a frontage to Crescent Street.

Most of the existing trees, shrubs and ground cover will be removed to allow the construction of buildings, garages, driveways and recreation areas. 

This would be a very bad outcome for the community:

  • The curtilage of the Church, which is is included in the heritage listing, will be significantly reduced
  • The beautiful park-like setting of the church will be significantly changed for the worse
  • The character of the Conservation Area, particularly in Crescent St will be adversely impacted by the replacement of the landscaped area along the boundary of the church with houses and driveways and the removal of large chunks of the existing rock forms.

Open this link to see the aerial view more clearly.

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negative impact of proposed Sydney Modern

Sydney Modern NE perspective

The Hunters Hill Trust objects to the proposed extension to the Art Gallery of NSW for the following reasons:

  • Its construction requires the removal of invaluable parkland adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which also is an integral part of green curtilage around the existing Art Gallery building
  • With its alien forms the proposal is an inappropriate architectural response to the fine Art Gallery building
  • As well as destroying green space it blocks out the views of existing building from the east
  • It has a detrimental impact on the approaches to Mrs Macquarie’s chair and the east entrance to the Botanical Gardens
  • Its location next to the existing gallery in the CBD represents a lost opportunity to decentralise the important cultural role that the gallery plays in the artistic life of Sydney.

Read our submission about the proposed development and NSW Planning and Assessment Commission.

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December edition of the HHT Journal

You can read the latest edition of the Hunters Hill Trust Journal Volume 55, No 2  here.  Trust members will be receiving their hard copy soon.   This edition includes items on:

  • The new Hunters Hill Council
  • Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs)
  • 11 Mark Street, Hunters Hill
  • Figtree Chapel Relocation
  • Green Book Update
  • Cycling and Heritage:  Do they go together?
  • 18 Richmond Crescent, Hunters Hill
  • Walks and Events
  • Boronia Park Update
  • 2017 Christmas Party
  • From the Archives:  1997
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2017 Christmas party

Host:  Elizabeth Dossetor (Prof Elizabeth Elliott)             HHT President:  Alister Sharp (images Karen Presland)
David and Elizabeth Dossetor kindly hosted our annual Christmas party at their historic Jeanneret house.  Their gracious family home is filled with Australian art and set in a beautiful garden.  The house is said to have been a wedding present for CE Jeanneret’s youngest daughter Florence Hull.  It shows the transition towards the Federation style with geometric woodwork trims and shingles.
We feel lucky to have such fantastic support from members who share our goal of protecting and celebrating heritage.
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wildlife protection in Boronia Park & Buffalo Creek reserve

Long neck turtle (Image: Species Survival Commission)

The Trust supports Council’s plans to declare Wildlife Protection Areas (WPAs) in Boronia Park and Buffalo Creek reserves.  WPAs designated under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 allow for cats to be prohibited from key wildlife habitat areas.

Boronia Park and Buffalo Creek reserves are part of a regionally significant wildlife corridor along the Lane Cove River.  We are lucky to have a variety of wildlife in our local bushland and appreciate the contribution that Council’s participation in regional programs provides in the protection of native fauna.

WPAs should assist in reducing harm and predation of native species, particularly our diminishing small birds and reptiles.  You can read our letter about Wildlife Protection Areas here.

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cricket and wine DO mix!

Image: Holy Name of Mary Church archives

Next time you are watching a game of cricket being played on the grounds opposite St Joseph’s College on Gladesville Rd, Hunters Hill – close your eyes for a moment and picture the entire area covered in grape vines.

Over hundred years ago the Villa Maria Monastery had its own vineyards. They were principally for the manufacture of altar wine with a small quantity set aside for table wine for the use of the Villa Maria community. The quality of the table wine left a lot to be desired, although the 1874 vintage appears to have been exceptional.

It was reported ‘This year our wine has been wonderful, we have made 16 barrels of wine, and good stuff too.”  The last recorded vintage was 1906.

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At home in our remnant bushland …

at Tarban Creek (Image Helen Temple)

A little bit of joyous news:  This beautiful female echidna was spotted in Tarban Creek Reserve today – unbelievable but absolutely true.

It had been waddling across Gladesville Road. We think it might have a burrow and a youngster so did not try and move it. We just hope it doesn’t get hit by a car or attacked by a dog or cat.

Nature is a wonderful thing – I hope we can hang onto our beautiful remnant local bushland!

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