Don't let this precious jewel of Pittwater be subdivided and developed for a few rich people, another slice of history and nature pulped for profit.  If you believe that Currawong should instead be acquired by the State and added to the National Park, you need to act now.


Many of you would have been following the sad Currawong story for years, but I'll repeat the main details for those who aren't in the picture.


History &skip if you know the background.

Currawong is the 20 ha site nestled between Mackerel Beach and the Basin. Pittwater laps on its beach and it is surrounded by Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It is an accident of history that it became private land, which in 1949 was bought by Unions NSW to celebrate the winning of the 40 hour working week by providing cabins for an affordable holiday in an idyllic location.


Fast forward… Unions NSW no longer felt it was part of their role to provide members with cheap holidays and eventually sold it to developers, Eco Villages, in February 2007. $1 million deposit was paid and the remaining $14 million was to be settled in December 2007. When they did not complete the sale, Unions NSW gave them a six month extension. There have been various odd things about the process such as the NSW Gov offering $11.3 million to buy it, but then withdrawing the offer.


The Heritage Council of New South Wales says the entire Currawong site should be listed and that it meets an exceptionally high five out of seven of the criteria required for listing. An item need only meet one to be successfully listed.


What is happening now?

The Eco Villages proposal for 24 new homes at Currawong, plus the refurbishment of the eight cabins, is now on exhibition at Pittwater Council or on the NSW Department of Planning website

Eco Village's website has extensive reports and is at:

 The decision whether to approve this proposal has been taken away from Pittwater Council, who opposed previous development proposals, and now lies with Planning Minister, Frank Sartor. Rob Stokes, our local MP,  is suppporting the community bid to save Currawong and has been actively pursuing this issue.


How you can help

Planning Minister Frank Sartor has appointed a Ministerial Panel to provide advice on the recommendation by the Heritage Council for the listing of the Currawong site.


1   Please make a submission - in writing or in person - to the Minister of Planning's panel which is holding a public hearing beginning on Wednesday 4 June 2008 at Mona Vale Surf Lifesaving Club, Mona Vale Beach. It is open to the public.

You must register for submissions and bookings by 23 May 2008. Every submission adds to the total picture of community feeling, it doesn't have to be long or involved to be a worthwhile contribution.

  To make a submission and/ or speak to the panel:

·               Email submissions to the Currawong Ministerial Panel.

·               Call Paula Poon at the Secretariat on 9228 6516 by the 23rd May 2008 to book a time for a presentation.

·               Send a copy of your submission in writing to: Director, Strategic Assessments, Department of Planning, GPO Box 39 Sydney NSW 2001.


2. Write letters to Iemma, Sartor, Peter Garrett, the papers and your union. If the developer does not pay the rest of the purchase price in a few months then Unions NSW will again be faced with a decision. If you are a union member, lobby now to ensure your union will this time vote that it can only be sold to the government for addition to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.


3. Talk to others and get them to also act.


4. To be involved in an ongoing way or to get more information, contact Jenny Cullen on 9997 8536 or


Some Points to include:

·         risks to sensitive ecology at Currawong, the adjacent Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and local waterways.

  • additional traffic and parking pressure at Palm Beach, Church Point and Careel Bay. (It has apparently been suggested that all that spare parking at Church Point could be helpful!)

  • impacts on water supply, water quality, drainage and flooding

  • importance of preserving both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage at Currawong, which includes the only post-war workers' holiday camp in Australia.

  • The potential for the general public to enjoy the area forever, rather than just 24 households. The Basin is often packed these days. The cleared areas at Currawong could be maintained for day use, or as another overnight area for camping and/or the cabins.

  • As if there won't be pressure to use the road both for building and beyond!

  • As if they won't want jetties for their yachts!

  • Effects of on-site wastewater treatment on water quality, soil health and native vegetation

  • Bushfire risk & these are going to be expensive houses. Who protects them in a bushfire? Doesn't this impact on the personnel and resources left to protect us existing offshore residents?

As offshore residents, we know firsthand that no matter how hard we humans try, we're still bad news for the natural environment and the many other creatures who once lived around here. We know about the problems of bushfire, water supply, wastewater, weeds, vehicle use, declining native flora and fauna, building and commuting offshore. 

Don't stand by while this marvellous opportunity becomes a tragic alienation of the Pittwater landscape!


Jenny Cullen