This is an extraordinary and unsatisfactory situation we find ourselves in after nearly 40 years of open and transparent community effort not even recognised or consulted.
A full enquiry should be made to investigate better Governance of the site. The way the Council and the former Federal Government has dealt with this matter is totally confusing and unsatisfactory.
Even though the processes have lacked transparency, it is the Councillors assembled as a Council who are responsible because they have not demanded to be kept informed.
The Newcastle University was forced to go to extraordinary lengths to have 3 x 4 inch diameter holes drilled to prove the convict mines. They were even served with threatening legal action by Janet Dore and denigrated publicly in the Newcastle Herald. It took 3 years of voluntary effort to have these mines proved. The holes are still there and no impact. Whereas a large Multi purpose centre and a workshop can just appear without any environmental assessment at the local or National Level. The State who will have to protect the Heritage after the handover doesn't know anything about this project and they are in the process of preparing a Conservation /Tourist Management Plan! The Pizzey Plan.
Fort Scratchley is part of a precinct that is of National significance and potential World Heritage. It is the birth site of the City of Newcastleand the site of the establishment of the Coal Mining Industry. (The reason for the massive military works)
It is the site of the first navigation light on the coast and the lookout for shipping.It was replaced by Nobbys Lighthouse just 150 years ago.
The Pasha Bulker marked the 150th year of Nobbys lighthouse by being left on the morning of 8 June 2007 to be grounded without help because our port Authority had stopped keeping a proper lookout at Nobbys during wild weather.
Parks and Playgrounds Movement prepared a Prospectus for the Newcastle Council in 1999 with a Ten Point Plan for the Council to establish National and World recognition of the whole Coal River site for the 200th anniversary of the founding of the permanent settlement of Newcastle 30 March 1804 -2004.
The $40,000 funding gained was frittered away by Council and the ten points disregarded.
With the new Federal Government there may be a chance to gain proper National and World recognition of the significance of Newcastle's Coal River Heritage Site and establish a professional management structure.
This is a matter the Parks and Playgrounds Movement first presented to all authorities in 1968 following the enactment of the NSW legislation for Historic Sites NPWS Act. The National Trust adopted and published a Newcastle East Historic Site Proposal 1974 as a supplement to the National Trust’s Hunter 2000 Document 1972.
President, Parks and Playgrounds Movement and Freeman of the City of Newcastle