“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”
Kylie Tennant, resident of Hunters Hill, author, historian and social justice advocate 1970
It took 13 women ‘The Battlers’ 13 years to save this special parcel of bushland on the Hunters Hill peninsula from development. The Hunters Hill Trust, formed in 1968 to fight against the onslaught of unit building in the suburb that was demolishing heritage homes, had fought to retain Clarke’s Point which successfully remained in public hands and then lobbied for the whole of Kelly’s Bush to be set aside as open space.
To this end at the Council elections in September 1968, the Trust supported those candidates who declared themselves to be aligned with community wishes to retain Kelly’s Bush and these candidates were duly elected. However early in 1969, when the developer A.V. Jennings asked the new Council to rezone Kelly’s Bush for development, those same councillors did an about face and voted in favour! In Joan Croll’s words ‘shock and horror led to action’ – the Battlers were formed and the rest is history.
With the assistance of the Unions, on 16th June 1971, the Green Ban came into effect. It led to 42 further ‘Green Bans’ and over 100 heritage buildings stand in Sydney today because of this first historic Ban at Kelly’s Bush. As these pioneers showed us all those years ago, the courage of their convictions was a gift to the community and the environment!
50th Anniversary Celebration of the World’s First Green Ban
2021 was the 50th anniversary of this momentous event and to celebrate, Hunters Hill Museum put together a fascinating exhibition. This was unfortunately affected by Covid closures but, with the help of Hunters Hill Council, an electronic presentation of The Battle for Kelly’s Bush can be viewed here https://artsandculture.google.
The video below is of the onsite celebration on 31 October 2021 which, even with the restrictions on public gathering, was a cheerful and sunny occasion in front of very special guests, 94 year old Joan Croll (the last of the famous Battlers) and Jack Mundey’s widow Judy. See Friends of Kelly’s Bush Special Newsletter
The story bears repeating for new generations and the Village Observer’s report on the 50th anniversary is here https://issuu.com/
Below is an article written by the secretary of Friends of Kelly’s Bush published in the local press TWT on 16th June 2021:
Bushcare at Kelly’s Bush
The battle still goes on even if it is now just against the weeds! Bushcare volunteers continue to regenerate the bushland at Kelly’s Bush and to contact them or to become a supporter, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read all about their work in their newsletters here:
Bushcare newslettter June 2018
Bushcare newslettter October 2018
Special Newsletter This Special Edition newsletter details the Kelly’s Bush onsite event on 31st October 2021 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Green Ban. The honoured guests, in particular, the last of the Battlers Joan Croll and Jack Mundey’s wife Judy, attended the event. The video of this event can be found here: https://www.huntershill.nsw.gov.au/news/kellys-bush-anniversary-celebration/
Tom Uren, Minister for Urban and Regional Development addressed the Hunters Hill Trust in 1975. Read his speech on the National Estate here‘ All governments owe a debt to voluntary organisations like The Hunters Hill Trust which work with dedication to guard and cherish this heritage’